Blog Archive

About Me

Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
View my complete profile


Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 11: World Disasters are because of our Actions

"Pestilence comes to the world to inflict those death penalties mentioned in the Torah, the execution of which is not within the function of a human tribunal, and for making forbidden use of the harvest of the Sabbatical year. The sword comes to the world for the suppression or delay of justice, and for the perversion of justice, and on account of those who misinterpret the Torah. Wild beasts come to the world on account of perjury, and for the profanation of G-d's name. Exile comes to the world on account of idolatry, incest, bloodshed, and for not allowing the soil to rest in the Sabbatical year". 

If a person has transgressed and is liable for the death penalty but for technical reasons a human rabbinical court will not be able to try them, then pestilence will come to the world as well as forbidden usage for Sabbatical year fruit or vegetables. The first part we can understand because someone that is liable for the death penalty has done something very severe but because of a technicality they cannot be judged.

G-d certainly has a variety of messengers that He can send to mete out justice but we learn an important idea here. The way the system has been set up, G-d cannot go outside those boundaries to the extent that a person obligated for the death penalty cannot be put to death unless certain criteria are met. We see from here that G-d has set up boundaries in this world which even He himself cannot go back on and change.

What though is so bad about using Sabbatical fruit that pestilence must come? There is a command in the Torah that land in Israel must lay fallow every seven years. One is not allowed to work it (except for things that are crucial to keep it alive) or do business with produce that was harvested during this year. The Sabbatical year in general teaches us the importance of how G-d runs and keeps the world functioning.

G-d also promises that the previous year will give a bumper crop to make up for leaving the land fallow. This is one of the proofs that G-d must have written the Torah because if there was no food to eat in that year and everyone starved, this could never have been passed down to the next generation because they would have seen Moshe G-d forbid as a fraud and fraudulent actions and promises do not get passed down to the next generation!!

The next part of the Mishna explains the punishment for perversion of justice or delay of justice and misinterpretation of the Torah. Justice must be meted out to keep order in the world. The difference between the laws of the Torah and laws in the secular world is that the laws of the secular world keep peace otherwise there would be utter chaos even worse than we see today! People would plunder, steal and kill if there was nothing insuring the repercussions for these actions. Torah laws on the other hand are designed to make a person better and help them reach their potential. Societal order is important but according to the Torah character refinement and good deeds are what a person is remembered for.

Perjury and a profanation of G-d's name are tremendous transgressions. Lying to save one's self from punishment means that a person refuses to take responsibility for their actions and will do whatever it takes to get out of it. This shows just how low a person can get!

A profanation of G-d's name is also a tremendous transgression. This means that a person uses His name for no reason or desecrates it! The Rambam in the laws of repentance tells us that for a desecration of G-d's name, one has to repent, go through Yom Kippur, suffer in this world and then die to receive repentance for the desecration of G-d's name. Severe indeed!

Incest, bloodshed and idolatry are the three main things (incest meaning immorality) that a Jew must give up their life for rather than transgress them. Therefore if a Jew or non-Jew puts a gun to a Jew's head and says bow down to this idol or I am going to kill you, whether it is done in public or private under any circumstances a Jew must give up their life!

Not leaving the land fallow during the Sabbatical year shows that a person doesn't believe in G-d or the fact that He runs the world. This is the strongest form of heresy and that is why it is included over here.

We must constantly strive to do G-d's will even when things are difficult. We also have to understand that our actions matter and the results of our actions can have major repercussions in the world!


Muz Dahlan said...

I think artike is very good.
see my article