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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 18, 2016

Parshas Titzaveh: Does what we wear matter?

"You shall make the garments of sanctity for Aharon your brother for glory and splendor" (Exodus 28:2). 

The simple explanation of this verse would seem to mean that the purpose of the clothing are for Aharon's glory and splendor. This would show the importance of what he wears which adds to his honor. Is it really true that Aharon needed the honor by the clothing that he wore? Do we honor ourselves by the way we dress?

The answer is that what we wear says something about ourselves. Everyone would agree that we look at ourselves differently by how we dress. Do we really feel the same if we wear a three piece double breasted suit and when when we wear shorts and a t-shirt? Obviously not but then what do clothes tell us about ourselves?

This reminds me of a conversation that I once had with someone who told me that they were offended by the way I dressed. I asked them that the only difference between the way we dress is that I have a kippah (skull cap) on my head and I wear tzitzis, so how radically different do we dress anyway? I then asked this person (who by the way wore a three piece suit for work everyday) why they dressed in such a fashion. The answer was because that was the uniform they had to wear for work.

"Don't get me wrong, the first thing I do when I get home is change my clothes!" he told me. I then asked if that was true then the only reason for dressing up would be for the sake of money right? As I saw the smoke come out of his ears, he responded by asking me why I dress the way I do.

I answered very simply that we have a uniform to wear as well as part of the laws of modesty but the difference is that I dress up for G-d's honor and don't change my clothes after my "work" is done. These clothes are who I am and what community I identify with. At the same time, what we wear may be just something that is external.

This means that we could wear the right clothes, walk the walk and talk the talk but inside of us we are not that committed to G-d's law. Externals really don't mean that much but if we want to identify with a community then we need to have a dress code. The dress code is for us to adhere to a certain standard which elevates ourselves and honors G-d.

Aharon didn't need special clothing but because he was serving in G-d's house so to speak they had to be honorable for G-d and distinguish himself as well. In this case it was able to accomplish two things: showing the importance of the clothing for Aharon and honoring G-d.

We are not defined by what we wear but at the same time we identify with the community we want to be associated with by what we wear.

Shabbat Shalom