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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 22, 2015

Parshas Lech Lecha: Was Avraham's Going to War Foolhardy?

"And it came to pass in the days of Amrafel king of Shin'ar Aryokh king of Ellasar, Kedorla'omer king of Elam and Tid'al king of Goyim that these made war with Bera king of Sedom" (Genesis 14:1)

The war of the 4 kings verses the 5 kings is told here because Avraham risked his life so that he could save his nephew Lot! This was one of the ten trials that Avraham went through. Was there an obligation for Avraham to do such a thing and if he would have died would that have been called suicide?

A person is allowed to put their lives in danger to help someone else if there is a doubt whether it is a real danger or not; for a real danger it is forbidden. For example, if a person knows how to swim, he potentially can try and save someone drowning if it not life threatening to him; if he doesn't know how to swim and he tries to save the person, he is held accountable. There is also a 614th commandment which is don't be stupid!

In this case, there was formidable danger for Avraham to try and save the life of his nephew. Although he firmly believed that G-d would help him in this endeavor it is not called fool hardy or stupid; just the opposite! He showed the world how an all powerful G-d can help you in times of great distress!

We shouldn't learn out from here that if Avraham could do we certainly could do this as well. The Vilna Gaon held that someone who lives their lives at an extremely high level and rely on G-d for everything, do not have to put their best foot forward for their needs. He made clear though that this individual relies on G-d for EVERYTHING! Otherwise, we have to try and use our own resources and do what we need to do.

For Avraham, this was a tangible as eating; it was clear to him that G-d would help him in this endeavor and that no harm would come to him. This is the same mentality the Maccabees used when they fought against the Greeks in the story of Chanukah. Did they really believe that a rag tag bunch of Yeshiva students would fight the world power at the time and be successful? They did and won!

If there is a doubt about the danger, one is allowed to proceed and if something does happen, they are not held liable because the danger is not acute but they must be careful nonetheless. Avraham took a great risk in what he did but the belief that G-d would help him was so strong that to him there was no danger in this endeavor.

He passed this test successfully by showing how strong his belief in Him was and spreading that to the world!

Shabbat Shalom