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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, February 4, 2016

Parshas Mishpatim: What is the Purpose of Keeping Kosher?

"The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the L-rd your G-d. You should not boil a kid in its mother's milk" (Exodus 23:19)

The Torah here teaches the prohibition of eating milk and meat by stating that one is not allowed to cook a calf in its mother's milk. This verse is mentioned three times in the Torah to teach you that it is forbidden to cook milk and meat together (even if you don't eat it), you are not allowed to eat milk and meat and you are not allowed to derive benefit from it. The reality though is that this does not make sense from a logical perspective.

The reason is that milk by itself and meat by itself are both permitted to eat but when you put them in a mixture and cook them they become forbidden. This would seem to be a chok (a law that does not make logical sense like the case of the red heifer) which boggles the mind because this should not be an issue if both things are permitted separately. Not only that but if this mixture is mixed with something else, it makes that forbidden as well! Why is this so stringent?

This could be because once I have a forbidden mixture, then no matter what it is added to it makes it forbidden unless there is more of what is permitted that would nullify it. This is interesting because we then look at the mixture as actually not being there even though it is right here in this mixture. This is the underlying principle of how nullification works. Once we say that something is nullified we look at what we have in front of me as being totally permitted since the taste of what is forbidden is gone.

The laws of kashrus and mixing meat and milk are numerous and confusing. Many of the laws of not mixing milk and meat together is so that one will not come to that Torah prohibition. We have separate pots, that they don't get mixed up or used one for the other! Not only that but milk and meat should not be brought to the same table unless there is a clear demarcation separating them so they don't come in contact with one another.

Since these laws are G-d given we still have to try and understand them to the best of our ability even if it defies logic! We not only sanctify what comes out of our mouths but what goes into them and this could have a negative effect on our souls! This is one of the reasons we don't eat birds of prey because we don't want to take those negative character traits and put them in our bodies!

We keep kosher because these things can have a negative effect on our souls. After all, if we rely on G-d for everything even without understanding some things then we know that it is for our betterment! It is also to distinguish us from the nations. These laws should keep us away from them and stop the disease of intermarriage!

If we don't eat with the same things as them and have different customs as them then that should nip the problem in the bud! If we eat what they do and do the same things as them, is it no wonder that the intermarriage rate is so high? Ultimately we don't know the reasons for this but certainly there is a benefit that keeps the Jewish people in tact. It is the Torah and our adherence to it that has kept the Jewish people intact throughout the millennium and this long exile.

May we merit to continue keeping G-d's Torah and sanctify His name!

Shabbat Shalom


Jacob said...

"Since these laws are G-d given we still have to try and understand them to the best of our ability even if it defies logic!"

While the Torah prohibits eating or cooking milk and beef together, many of the other details are not explicitly forbidden by the Torah. The laws regarding not eating milk and beef at the same meal, not eating or cooking chicken and milk together, preparing milk and meat dishes with different utensils, etc., are all d'Rabbanan (from the Sages), put in place as a safeguard.

Understanding the difference between mitswoth from the Torah, those from the Sages, and minhagim (customs) can be very important when trying to understand the reasoning behind the mitswoth.

Deborah said...

Excellent explanation Rav!Shabbat Shalom!