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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.
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sukkos: Living in a Temporary World

As we have finished the month of Elul, made it through the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we now enter the joyous holiday of Sukkos. We are reminded by this temporary world as we go into our sukkah and bask in the glory of the "tzel d'heminusa" (the shade of belief in G-d). What does the holiday represent for us today?

The whole purpose of why Sukkos is in the fall is to show that we are going into the sukkah for the sake of the mitzvah alone. The reason is because during the fall in most places it is usually starting to get cold and most people would not live outdoors during this time unless it was the for the sake of the mitzvah itself!

Even if our sukkah boards are tightened and sturdy, the schach (branches or palm fronds) put on the top remind us that we are subjected to the elements. No matter how much we put on the top of our sukkah, if it rains the water will come in.  This is the essence of sukkos to be reminded that this world is temporary and just a corridor to the world to come.

This is one of the reasons on the shabbos of Sukkos we read the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon begins by telling us that this is a world of vanities and that he has searched out all the wisdom of the world and found nothing better and more meaningful than Torah. He constantly reminds us to remember that we live in a temporary world which is what the sukkah represents.

The sukkah itself as we build it and put up the white sheets that are representative of the clouds of glory that guided us as we came out of Egypt and wandered in the desert. These clouds took care of all our needs, gave us light in the darkness and made sure our clothes never wore out or smelled, which is a great feat considering there were more than two million people in the desert!

Since the sukkah is now our home for the next seven days, we do everything in the sukkah that we would normally do in our house. We eat and drink there, sleep there, speak with our friends there or even on the phone; it is our home outside the home so to speak. That being said, we are not allowed to do anything that would be considered disgusting in the sukkah.

This means that we should not bring in dirty pots to the sukkah or make it dirty in any way all the more so we shouldn't speak badly about others or denigrate them in the sukkah either! Not that it would be better if we did that in our own homes but to do that in the sukkah is even worse!

Sometimes the weather does not cooperate and makes being in the sukkah uncomfortable whether it be from the cold or heat. Nonetheless, our temporary dwelling gives us the ability to just be alone with G-d and His world, the "tzel dehemnusa". If we change the letters around in the word "tzel" we get the word "letz" which means to scoff or mock.

If we use the sukkah properly and encapsulate its timeless message, then we get the benefit of the sukkah and all that it entails. If not, then we make a mockery of it and scorn it which everyone would agree is not good,

As we take our lulav and esrog and shake it in six directions representing G-d's dominion over this world and the world above, we are reminded just how fragile life is. We share the joy of sukkos and remember man's purpose in this world by doing everything in our power on a daily basis to tune into His world and do what He wants us to do!!

Have a great Sukkos!!