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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.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 1 Mishna 17: Do Something, Don't Philosophize!

"Shimon his son said, 'All my life I have been brought up among the sages, and I have found nothing better for a person than silence;; study is not the most important thing but practice and whoever talks too much brings about sin"

Rabbenu Yonah tells us that there is no greater character trait than silence. The problem he tells us is that when a person speaks they could help themselves in one way but could damage themselves at the same time by saying something inappropriate. Even if a person speaks about something that they have to like about livelihood  or other things, nonetheless a person should minimize what they speak about.

The reason is that a person even if speaking about things that they have to, one should be careful and not go beyond what they speak about because it could turn out to be something that they would regret. This would go against conventional wisdom because after all, everyone has to talk, otherwise how do you accomplish what you need to do.

The Chofetz Chaim when he wrote his work on Shemiras Halashon (the laws of Loshon Hara) did not tell people they weren't allowed to talk but rather the purpose of his book was to teach people how to talk. Here the Mishna tells us that if you have to speak and get information, the best way is to minimize it in the best way possible.

The next part of the Mishna tells us an important idea in Judaism and that is the idea of action, not just thoughts. We learn here that the purpose of study is to put what one learns into action. There is no better way than to show and display to others good character traits than by the actions of the person himself.

Many people say that as long as they are Jewish in their heart and are good people, then that is enough. Judaism demands much more than that. Learn, continue to learn and put what you learn into action because otherwise it is like mental gymnastics. We are here in this world not to be philosophers but rather as doers who accomplish.

The last part of the Mishna explains that one should not speak too much when it comes to things of halacha. This means that when answering questions in halacha one should be careful and get to the specific idea that needs to be addressed because if there are others miscellaneous things added, it could confuse a person and come up with the wrong answer.

This is where talking too much will bring a person to the wrong conclusion. This doesn't mean that one should not talk things out to make sure that the conclusion is accurate but to ensure that no extraneous ideas come in that would confuse the issue.

We must learn that many times the best thing to do is be quiet, rather than answer and say things that one shouldn't. Not only that, we have to know that we need to do more and act rather than philosophize since we will take our good deeds and actions to the next world to testify for us to our benefit in the next world!