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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.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers: Chapter 1 Mishna 13: Don't abuse the Torah

"He used to say, 'He who seeks greater reputation loses his reputation; he who does not increase his knowledge decreases it, he who does not study deserves death; he who makes unworthy use of the crown of learning shall perish"

Anyone looking for fame wanting to make their name great through arrogance and sheer power will not find it. Even if they are at first successful and they have fame, they will lose it and not be remembered. The "famous" people whose names remain etched on society are often the ones not looking for attention.

This fits into the next part of the Mishna because someone who is satisfied with what they have learned and are not interested in adding to his wisdom will decrease their knowledge. If the purpose of Torah is to learn its ways and change ourselves so we reach our true potential, how could someone just rely on what they learned and go on autopilot? How will they be able to impart these ideas to the next generation if their own knowledge and learning is faulty?

This is why the Mishna says that one who does this will decrease their knowledge. In reality, how does such a person grow in spirituality if they are happy where they are? It reminds me of the story of someone I have known for many years and unfortunately is happy where they are holding and been holding over all those years!

How sad, still lacking basic knowledge in things that could have been learned years ago. Still doing the same things after all those years without increased knowledge.  Sad, real sad. This is what leads to the next part of the Mishna which states that if one does not study he deserves death.

The reason for this is because someone who does not learn Torah is compared to an animal. Isn't our purpose in this world to learn Torah and keep G-d's mitzvos? If this is true and one does not do this their entire life, what is the purpose of it all? Just to acquire money, the prophet Isaiah tells us eat, drink and be merry lest tomorrow I die.

This reminds me of another story that someone once told me. They said that the more money they paid for tickets to get into the services for the High Holy days, the closer you get to the air conditioning. I said that's great, why not get a portable air conditioner and bow down to it?

The last part of the Mishna tells us that one who makes unworthy usage of the crown of Torah will die. The reason is that Torah is supposed to be studied and learned for its own sake for the purpose of changing ourselves and reaching our true potential.

If we use our Torah knowledge to disparage others and abuse our position, then this is obviously what Torah was not created for. This abuse of Torah can cost you your life! Torah is called life to those that guard it and cherish it but if you use it for the wrong reasons and abuse it, then it can be deadly!

Let us learn from this that we learn Torah to the fullest and try to uphold it's great ideals. Never rest on our laurels from what we learned, and continue to learn and grow in its ways.