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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, October 8, 2015

Parshas Bereishis: Man's Creation: The Pinnacle of Creation or no better than an Animal!

"And G-d said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26)

As the beginning of the book of Genesis discusses what was created on each day, the Torah tells us that G-d creates man after He has created everything else. The question here is the language that is used i.e. that it is used in the plural. Who, if anyone is G-d speaking to here?

Rashi tells us that through G-d's humbleness, He discusses with the angels and heavenly court about the making of man and seemingly asks their opinions of whether it is a good thing to do or not. Rashi also tells us that this language can be problematic because people could make the mistake that there are other gods besides Him. Why would the Torah allow people to make such a mistake and because of their own knowledge, be considered a heretic?

Very simply, G-d gave man free will and the ability to either make the right or wrong decision. When he breathes in the spirit of life into man, the Aramaic translation Unkelos explains that he gave man the ability to speak, think and reason. This means that he did not want to create robots but give people the opportunity to make the right decision of action and sanctify themselves exponentially while living in this world. That free will though may be somewhat limited as well.

 This means that although we have the ability to choose whatever we want to do, we are somewhat limited in that. The reason is because G-d has already put into motion where we came from, who are siblings are, socioeconomic status will be so not everyone starts out the same. Some will have some things easier than others while others will have difficulty in other areas. No two people have the same trials or tribulations and come out of it the same since the source of their soul is not the same.

This tells us that since the soul makeup of each person with their own "baggage" that they are given will react to situations in a different way. The reason for this is because of the life experience that they have been put through here on this earth. With that been said, two people could react very differently to the same situation.

If a person was miraculously saved from a serious illness or was in an accident and they realize how fortunate they have been to survive, another person could look at it as luck since they could say that there was someone in that same situation or similar that didn't survive from what they went through and this person came out of it through luck!

Judaism doesn't believe in luck and life has a purpose, not just based on chance. This philosophy of luck and chance was lived by the people of Amalek and that is what they brought to this world. The idea that things happen, have no purpose and everything is chance.

This ultimately led to Haman's downfall as he was pinned down by angels on Esther's bed as the king came in. How could Haman say he hadn't tried to do anything because he was pinned down by angels! This very statement is the antithesis of everything that the people of Amalek stand for and he was killed because of these beliefs!

G-d gives two eyes for every person to see. We need to learn and continue living through the eyes of the Torah. When we do the right thing, we uplift our body and soul; if not the body and soul are debased. This is the challenge we constantly face.

In this case, man is created last either to show he is the pinnacle of creation or if he acts just according to his animalistic nature, then he is not so great because all the animals were created before him!! His creation depends upon what they do with their lives, either a life of sanctification or pure hedonism.

As we start the first book of the Bible, let us renew our commitment to learn it and become the great people we can.

Shabbat Shalom