Blog Archive

About Me

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.
View my complete profile


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 28, 2016

Parshas Yisro: Yisro shows why he is the real deal!

"And Yisro rejoiced for all the goodness which the L-rd had done to Yisrael whom he had delivered out of the hand of Egypt . And Yisro said, 'Blessed be the L-rd who has delivered you out of the hand of Egypt and out of the hand of Paraoh who has delivered the people from under the hand of Egypt" (Exodus 18:9-10)

Yisro came and heard about the miracles that took place in Egypt. He now wants to become part of the Jewish people and convert. The question is why would he be allowed to convert to Judaism in these circumstances? After all, in the time of David and Solomon no one was allowed to convert because the Jewish people were on top so to speak and if a person would be allowed to convert their free will would be taken away. So too, when the messiah comes and all the miracles are going on, they also won't be allowed to convert for the same reason so how is Yisro allowed to convert here or anyone for that matter at this time?

We have to remember who Yisro was. He was the main priest of Midyan. There was no idol in the world that he had not worshiped. The fact that he leaves Midyan to be give thanks to G-d and be part of the Jewish people shows that he was truly sincere. This is the reason that when someone wants to convert to Judaism they cannot convert for ulterior motives; not for marriage, not because of all the miracles that happen to the Jewish people, not because the Jewish community can help them financially....This is the reason that the beis din (rabbinical court) will continually make sure before they convert someone that their motives are for the sake of heaven!

At the same time we cannot truly know the nature of why a person may convert to Judaism but the criteria must be first and foremost to ascertain that there are no ulterior motives. Once that can be determined then we let the potential convert learn and get the guidance they need to finish the process. Although this may be a difficult and long process. part of it is to see the sincerity of the person. This is the reason that it could take a number of years before the person finishes the process.

Another reason is that converts have not given the Jewish people such a great name over the last millennium and therefore the Jewish community will be skeptical to accept converts unless they feel that they are the real deal. After all, since the Jewish people have been murdered, gassed...and are on the low end of the totem pole so to speak, why would anyone want to convert in the first place? Also if they see what goes in a Jewish community and see how Jews act and they still want to convert either they are the real deal or crazy or both!

This is why the beis din will want to know why they want to do such a thing and take on all these laws! After all they could have a place in the world to come even if they don't convert and be a noahide. That certainly is an option and an obligation for all non-Jews even if they decide they don't want to convert. It may be an easier option than having to move to a Jewish community and have to change their lives drastically!

At the same time, the non-Jew has the option to go either way. If he wants to be a Jew though, then they are going to have to prove themselves to the community that this is the case. This is what we learn here from Yisro. He has everything to lose in Midyan and he gives it all up to be part of the Jewish people. He shows that he is the real deal and what a Jewish convert is all about!

Shabbat Shalom