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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.
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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, September 10, 2015

Parshas Nitzavim: The Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People Never Ends

"For you to pass into the covenant of Hashem, your G-d, and into His imprecation that Hashem. your G-d, seals with you today, in order to establish you today as a people to Him and that He be a G-d to you, as He spoke to you and as He swore to your forefathers to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob" (Deteronomy 11-12).

The Torah here tells us that the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people is as valid as it is today as when G-d swore to your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This covenant is not only the same but the Torah itself is the same as well and has not changed. This is one of the thirteen principles of faith: "I firmly believe that the whole Torah which we now possess is the same which was given to Moses our teacher, may he rest in peace".

Moses has passed this on to the Jewish people and after Moshe's death, Joshua will lead the Jewish people into the promised land, Torah and its timely message intact. Nowhere in the Torah is it stated explicitly or even hinted to that this has changed in any way, shape or form. This is what has kept the Jewish people together throughout the millennium.

People often make the mistake and think we have the ability to change it, make it more modern for today's age or even G-d forbid throw things out that seem antiquated and old fashioned. If that were to be true, then the more the Torah has changed and the more innovative we are, the masses of Jews would be flocking to keep whatever is left of it, right?

Out of all the so-called movements within Judaism the only one with any capability of passing it down to the next generation is the Orthodox. With seemingly no intermarriage rate as opposed to 60% or more by the other movements, Orthodoxy is thriving!

This does not mean that they don't have any issues but in the bigger scheme of things, they seem to have the formula that works and that is all that matters. At the end of the day, philosophy mumbo jumbo doesn't really matter if the message cannot be passed down to the next generation.

When we see the direction in which the world is going (and it has been a downward spiral for a while) morality and honesty is needed now more than ever. If the family structure is threatened, then the hope of attaining any morality now dissipates exponentially.

If we would take the consequences of these actions to their logical conclusion then the United States as we know it would not cease to function. The reason is that there would be less children brought into the world (even less than the average now) which would mean even less kids and the future generations would look bleak at best.

With this said, because of the death rate and the almost non-existent birth rate that would exist, where would we have workers for the next generation? People will say that this way of thinking is archaic because there will be people that will have children and men and women will still get married so what is the big deal if this is passed?

The Torah here explains that the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people is forever and it doesn't change because if we do decide that we need to spruce things up or take thngs out then the results are catastrophic!

The purpose of the Torah is not only to keep society functioning properly but to change man and help them reach their potential. The laws are not set up just to make sure that society functions properly which is why we the secular laws exist otherwise there would be even greater chaos than what we witness today!

The Torah is not a five year obligation to renew and if we feel like doing it we will if not not. It is G-d given and we have to the best of our ability to live up to its high standards. This world is not a world of fairy tales, sports or movies but bringing G-d's presence to this world and absolute morality!

This is what the essence of Rosh Hashanah is. We are in synagogue most of the day proclaiming G-d to be king of the world and we are fighting for our lives that G-d should give us another year of life, health and livelihood. As we read the Una Sana Tokef in Musaf we are inspired by its chilling words.

Who will die by fire, water, starvation, who will become rich, who will become poor... When we look around and see that there are others that not among us, why do we brazenly think that we will be here next year? The only reason that will happen is if G-d grants us life!

Life means physical life but also spiritual life as well. We get judged on the Torah we learned last year. Did I put my best effort when learning? Did I learn when I had time or did I waste it away doing other things? Did I implement what I learned or did I just learn it for intellectual stimulation but the implementation I just gave lip service?

We are just a few days from Rosh Hashanah, shouldn't we be taking stock of this now more than ever or do we just lull ourselves back to sleep thinking that G-d will continue to give me live and satisfy my every need. There are no guarantees and we certainly cannot rest on our laurels.

May we all be inscribed in the book of life and have a meaningful Rosh Hashanah

Shabbat Shalom