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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, January 21, 2016

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 6 Mishna 4: Know how to Curb your Desires!

"This is the way of Torah: Eat bread with salt, drink water in small measure, sleep on the ground, lve a life of deprivation - but toil in the Torah! If you do this, 'you are praiseworthy, and all is well with you'. You are praiseworthy in this world and all is well with you in the world to come".

Is this really the way that we are supposed to live? Am I not allowed to enjoy things in this world or is everything just forbidden and bad? The Torah outlook is that we live in this world and we need to make the most of it. Although there is great temptation and we certainly could use the warning to be careful of not enjoying things too much in this world, nonetheless we are allowed to get benefit of things here we just need to know how to use them!

The Ramban at the beginning of Parshas Kedoshim tells us that there are plenty of things that are permissible in this world. The problem is that if we use too much of them or do things in abundance, it could be detrimental to our physical and mental health. One example is that it is permissible to eat.
The reason is otherwise we would die! We need to sustain our bodies and keep ourselves healthy so that we can function. Although this may be true, we are not allowed to go overboard and be gluttons! We have to do thing in proportion to how we can use and utilize them! Just because a person has different desires doesn't mean we always have to go after them!

G-d gave us these desires so that we would work on our self control. Many will say "eat, drink and be merry lest tomorrow you die". Get as much out of this world as possible and enjoy life to the fullest since we don't know what tomorrow will bring. That may be true but don't we have other obligations in this world besides our physical needs?

One of the reasons that we make blessings for example is to give gratitude for everything that G-d does for us. We learn this out from Moshe that he was not allowed to hit the sand for the sake of making lice as one of the plagues in Egypt and he was not allowed to smite the water (because it protected him as a child) for the plague of blood. If Moshe had to show gratitude for inanimate objects all the more so we have to have gratitude to G-d for the fact that He sustains us!

Not only that, but the blessings that we make has a physical and spiritual purpose as it gives blessings to all fruit trees...(if that is the blessing we are making). We show gratitude for what G-d gives us and He responds by blessing the source of what we ate from! Mind boggling if we think about what can happen when we make a simple blessing over an apple or a peach!

The Mishna here speaks of the idea of living with the minimal. The reason is because if we do that we will better be able to serve G-d and work on our desires. Again, this does not mean we shouldn't eat or enjoy things but we need to know how to do so otherwise we could be caught up in all that which would take us away from our real purpose and that is working on our relationship with G-d and becoming the great people that we can be!