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, February 25, 2016

Parshas Ki Tissa: Look out for that Spiritual Furnace

"The people saw that Moshe had delayed in descending the mountain and the people gathered around Aharon and said to him, 'Rise up make for us gods that will go before us for this man Moshe who brought us up from the land of Egypt we don't know what became of him'" (Exodus 32:1). 

After witnessing the miracles in Egypt, saw their destruction through the parting of reed sea and the miracles that occurred in the desert, how could the Jewish people, the greatest generation in the history of man have made such a mistake? Just because Moshe was delayed according to their calculation gave them the right to seemingly worship a calf and exclaim that this is the one that took us out of Egypt?

Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit"a in Chochmah V'Da'as  explains that the Jewish people had no doubts that G-d was the one who created the world and keeps it functioning but rather that G-d is too lofty for this world and doesn't really deal with it. Therefore G-d found someone like Moshe to lead the people in His name which was acceptable by the Jewish people. At the same time, they made Moshe into a god as if to say that he was the one who did the miracles that got them released from Egypt.

Moshe was then in heaven for 40 days but because of his delay they made the mistake that G-d took him and they now needed to find another intermediary that would serve instead of him as a god. Whoever they chose would act as Moshe's messenger knowing that Moshe could return at any time. They therefore did not appoint Aharon or Chur but they said in the meantime they will make an ox because its figure is embedded in G-d's throne and would be a good replacement.

When it was created it talked and walked so the people understood it had character traits not like anything they have seen and allowed them to make the mistake and use it as their intermediary to G-d!.  This in fact is idolatry even though they believed in G-d but they still wanted some intermediary like a god of gold and silver.The people were happy with this miracle and thought this was just a continuation of the miracles that G-d had done for them in the past!

Even so with this rationale, does it come to explain how quickly they fell from their elevated level so quickly after the Torah was given? A possible answer is that the evil inclination never rests. We have to constantly work against and fight it to help us reach our true potential. Here as the Jewish people were on such a high level, they were lied to so to speak and given a false impression that was not true. With that being said, they were able to fall and make this serious mistake.

We learn from here how careful a person must be in their service of G-d. We always have to be on the lookout and guard ourselves against things that may come to harm us spiritually. Just like a person would never go near a fire lest they get too close and get burned so too must a person be ever so careful of negative spiritual influences that can affect us. Fire can spread quickly and do irreversible damage; a spiritual fire is just as dangerous.

May we constantly strive in our service of G-d and be on the lookout for things that can harm us spiritually.

Shabbat Shalom