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, March 10, 2016

Parshas Pekudei: Charity Strengthens the Peson

"A beka for every head, a half shekel in the sacred shekel for everyone who passed through the census takers, from twenty years of age and up for the six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty" (Exodus 38:26)

The money that was pledged for the mishkan (tabernacle) and the bolts that strengthened it are considered like it was given for the mishkan itself. We learn from here Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit'a explains in Chochmah V'Da'as that one who helps support Torah is like the Torah itself. This means that when someone supports Torah, they get the mitzvah of the Torah itself!!

Rav Sternbuch explains that we have no idea of the merit that we will receive in the future for helping support Torah. The Torah is a tree of life to those that grasp it. How do we understand this? The language of to grasp (l'machzikim) is in the causative form. This means that it is not us that we are strengthening the Torah but really the Torah that is giving us strength.

This means as much effort as we put in learning Torah, the more the Torah gives to us. It is our spiritual life that keeps us going. Rav Sternbuch explains further that if a person supports a specific Torah institution and sustains it and worries about its continuity the merit they will receive is like the "eitz chayim" (the tree of life). The fruit of this tree gives fruit forever and even after the person has passed away.

Even if a person donates to a particular Torah institution but they don't take full responsibility for it, worrying about its continuity... they still get tremendous merit even though it is not similar to the merit of "eitz chayim".  The idea is that we should donate according to our means and even if we don't have very much to give, we need to learn to stick our hands in our pockets and help others.

Jews are among the most generous donators out of any ethnic group. They give well above according to their small size in the world population. If we have the means to give (even if it is not a lot) we have to be thankful that we can do so. No one wants to be on the receiving end of help from others and they should remember what their special purpose is in the world.

This means that we have to continue and help others and help sustain Torah institutions so they can continue and educate Jewish children which will guarantee that the Torah will continue to the next generation. The single greatest obstacle to that is assimilation and intermarriage. The reason this occurs in such a dramatic fashion is because of lack of knowledge in Torah. Many would not throw out their precious heritage if they really knew what it was about and what it represented!

If they understood that it is worth millions in spirituality, they wouldn't be so quick to throw it in the garbage. After all, if we would put a high monetary value on it, do you think it would be tossed out so quickly? This is the message of the mishkan; give, give and give some more and have a portion of Torah that can stay with you even after you die!

Shabbat Shalom