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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, October 1, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 1 Mishna 14: Let's Change Now!

"He used to say, 'If I am not for myself who is for me? If I care only for myself, what am I? If not now, when"

Rabbenu Yonah explains that if I don't desire to want to change and fix my bad character traits, then who will be there for me? In other words, other people can help them change their bad habits but in reality, the greatest encouragement comes from the individual himself. If that person inspires himself, he will then continue to have positive thoughts about change and become the person that G-d wants him to be.

This helps us understand the second part of the Mishna because if I am only for myself, even if I help others, what I have I accomplished? The person has still not reached even the minimal level that he is capable. What is this comparable to? It is like a king who gives a field of 30 Kor to his servants to work for the year.

The servants work really really hard and at the end of the year, they harvest produce of 50 Kor. The king asks them, if I gave you a field of 30 Kor, how could you only produce 50 Kor in return? The servants tell the king that the field that you gave to us was of inferior quality and even though we worked really hard, we were only able to produce a little bit. So too we say in front of G-d, 'the nature of a person from when he is young is bad'. Even if a person works really hard on themselves, we only accomplish a little when there is so much to be done!

This teaches us an important lesson. We know that even if a person works really hard to fight the evil inclination, it still causes us to sin. If a person does not work hard on themselves to change then they will be empty of mitzvos. This is compared to the inferior field, if you don't fertilize it and plow it, nothing will grow from it.

The last part of the Mishna teaches us that if a person would say I have too much work to do today and  tomorrow I will pay attention to my bad character traits and work on them. Maybe they won't have time and will do nothing. Even if one does have time, maybe it will be wasted on other things when they should be working on themselves and doing mitzvos.

A person can't put off today what he could do tomorrow. We shouldn't be lazy and use each day to its fullest. The more we put things off, the less we will do them. The evil inclination does not sleep and continues to attack a person even when they sleep. we live lives of many wasted opportunities.

Let us use our time wisely and productively and become the great people that we are capable of being.