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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.
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 2 Mishna 1 The Results of our Actions

"Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi said, "Which is the right course that a man should choose for himself? One which is creditable to the person adopting it, and on account of which he gains respect from men. Be careful to perform a minor mitzvah just as well as a major one, for you do not know the reward for each mitzvah. Balance the loss sustained by the performance of a mitzvah against the reward secured by its observance and the profit of a sin against its injury. Consider three things and you will not come into the grip of sin - know what is above you: a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and a book in which all your deeds are recorded"

The first part of the Mishan teaches us that when we do what G-d wants us to do and follow his commandments properly, then we not only give Him nachas but others will want to emulate us as well. The reason is that the Torah has the ability to change us and when internalize the Torah's timely messages, we become closer to G-d.

Growing in Torah and changing bad character traits transforms us. When people we come in contact see this, they witness something extraordinary. They notice something is different and want to be a part of it.

The next part of the Mishna tells us that we have to be careful with all mitzvos. The reason is that even though we know the punishment for transgressing different mitzvos, ie either being cut spiritually off from the Jewish people, lashes or one of the 4 severe deaths, strangulation, stoning, having molten lead thrown down your throat or having one's head chopped off, nonetheless we don't know what merit we receive when we do the mitzvos.

The reason we do not know what the merit of the mitzvos we do is because if we did, we would only concentrate on those mitzvos that give us the highest reward and we wouldn't bother with the "smaller" mitzvos at all. This is the reason that we must be careful in performing all the mitzvos which will make us into a more complete individual.

This also ties into the next part of the Mishna that a person may think if I perform this mitzvah and it costs me a lot of money, why should I do it? A person has to realize how important the mitzvos are regardless whether they cost a lot of money or not. The idea is that when G-d gave us the Torah and we took G-d to be our G-d, it didn't matter what was written in the Torah; we will do whatever G-d tells us regardless how much a particular mitzvah may cost us to do.

We also have to be aware that when we transgress any commandment of the Torah for whatever benefit we may get, we have to keep in mind that at some point either in this world or the next we will have to pay for that bad judgment. This is a world where we can have the ability to acquire eternal life by keeping the mitzvos but if we transgress them, then we will have to pay later.

This leads to the last part of the Mishna that we have to realize what our purpose is in this world and where we came from. We have to realize that G-d knows the thoughts of man and what we will do in the future. Therefore even if we transgress in this world, G-d knows it and will judge us for our actions in the next world.  Not only that, G-d witnesses what we do and has angels following us around recording our actions.

These angels will come to give testimony in front of the heavenly court and then G-d will judge us based on that. Nothing we do in this world goes unrecorded. Thousands of years ago we could not have imagined this but with the advance of technology it is not that hard to fathom.

This is indeed scary which means that we must be careful what we do in this world as we try and make the greatest kiddush Hashem we can. This is done by performing the mitzvos to the best of our ability which will transform us and the influence the ones around us!