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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 11, 2016

Parshas Terumah: Giving Charity

"And the L-rd spoke to Moshe saying 'Speak to the cildren of Israel that they bring me an offering of every man whose heart prompts him to give you shall take my offering" (Exodus 26:1-2)

The Torah here teaches that someone whose heart prompts him to give should bring money, gold...and have a part in the building of the mishkan (tabernacle). This means if they want to give they can and if not not. In the case of giving charity though this is not an option. There is an obligation to give ma'aser (a tenth) of what one earns to charity. A person if they want can even give up to 1/5 but no more lest they squander there money and then have to come upon people to help them.

The amount one has to give of their earnings is how much them make only after taxes. They can give more if they want but again only up to 1/5. A person also does not have to give ma'aser on a gift. This means if someone gave you birthday money or any monetary gift you do not have to give ma'aser on it. If you choose to do so you can but there is no obligation to. What if you yourself are poor? Do you still have an obligation to give?

The answer is that if you yourself are struggling to make ends meet then you would be exempt from giving. If you don't have, you can't give. While you cannot physically give you could help others in a different way. If a person does takes time and does chesed (acts of loving kindness) or let's say tutors someone...this is also an act of charity one can do for someone else.The most important aspect of this is to give.

The reality is if we make money and are successful, why should we help someone else? After all, is it my fault they don't have a better job? Should I have to be responsible for what other people can't do? The purpose of giving is to thank G-d for what He has given us and give us the opportunity to help others. Even if we can't give a lot, we need to train ourselves to put our hands in our pocket and give.

At the same time, a person has to give charity to a worthy cause. What is considered a worthy cause? Poor people, Torah institutions are just a few ideas. The reality is that charity can be given by helping someone find a job. That is also chesed because you are helping that person be self sufficient and get his self-esteem back by being able to provide for their family!

As we see, there are many aspects to charity here. It teaches us to realize how fortunate we are and that gives us the ability to help others. The more we give and are able to help, the closer it brings us to G-d which is our main purpose in life!