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.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ethics of Our Fathers Chapter 1 Mishna 18: Absolute Truth leads to World Peace

Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel said: 'The world is established on three principles: truth, justice, and peace, as it is said, 'You shall administer truth, justice and peace within your gates."

Why is the character trait of truth so important? Isn't it permissible to lie under certain circumstances and is recommended for the sake of peace? On the other hand, if truth was not so important wouldn't the world look even worse than it does?

The Rambam in the first of the 13 Principles of Faith tells us there is an obligation to believe in the existence of the Creator that is perfect and absolute. The reason that G-d must be absolute is because His existence is crucial for the world to exist. Not only that but if the values that He wants to administer to the world are not concrete and can change with time, then He cannot be G-d.

Therefore absolute truth must be based on something that is everlasting and does not change. If that would be the case, then we would live (which we do) in a world where moral relativism is king. This means that if I feel doing something fine, if not also fine but just don't tell me what to do. It is a world where values can change by what society dictates.

Forty years ago, euthanasia may have been viewed as murder but today if a person will not have what the doctors define as quality of life, then they will pull the plug on the patient. We could also justify other things that would never been considered years ago to be the norm today. This is the danger if we live in a world that does not have the guide of absolute truth!

The next part of the Mishna emphasizes the importance of justice. There is a difference how justice is looked at in the secular world and the Torah world. In the secular world you need laws and regulations to keep society orderly. Otherwise there would be chaos and the world would not be able to function.

In the Torah world, you need justice and regulations not to only bring order but to actually have the individual the ability to reach their true potential through spiritual growth. This means that laws are designed for the sake of benefiting the person in his quest to become closer to G-d, not just for the keeping society orderly and functioning.

The last part of the Mishna speaks about the importance of peace. Aharon Ha'Kohen had the unbelievable character trait of making peace between people. He would tell one person how much the other person he was angry at had regret for what they had done and only wanted to make up with their friend. He would then tell the other person the same thing and when the two met they forgot about what they were angry about and became fast friends again.

The problem is that we often are stubborn and will hold grudges even over something that may be able to forgive someone. We don't want to give in for we feel that is exposing ourselves to weakness and we don't want to show that to others.

Before Yom Kippur we ask others for forgiveness for anything we may have done wrong to them. When someone comes to us and asks forgiveness, we should immediately grant it to them. The reason is because if overlook what someone has done to us, G-d will overlook at the wrongdoing we have done to Him and will accept our teshuvah (repentance) and write us in the book of life and give us a good judgement for the upcoming year.

Peace is so important that we end the Shemoneh Esrei with the prayer for peace. May we be able to incorporate these character traits into our everyday lives and strengthen the world through our actions.