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.
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 2 Mishna 6: Be Quick to Learn from all People

"He used to say, 'A boor cannot be fearful of sin; an unlearned person cannot be scrupulously pious; the bashful person cannot learn; and the quick impatient person cannot teach; anyone excessively occupied in business cannot become a scholar; and in a place where there are no leaders, strive to become a leader"

A boor is someone who has not learned Torah, does not keep mitzvos and certainly does not work on fixing bad character traits. This person will not have fear of heaven because since he is unlearned, he does not know what to guard himself against or what to fear. Lack of knowledge and awareness causes this individual to only worry about himself and nothing else.

An unlearned person because he has contact with others has some character traits that are good and can guard himself from doing bad things. This can lead him to be righteous  but it won't lead him to piety. .The reason for this is because he is unlearned in Torah.

Torah scholarship gives one the ability to continue to grow spiritually while at the same time gives the individual a special awareness. This allows one to reach higher spiritual levels which will lead him to piety.

The next part of the Mishna tells us that someone who is bashful cannot learn. The reason is because they will say how can someone who is stupid like me speak in front of such a great Torah scholar. In their bashfulness they will think that they are not capable of understanding the intricacies of what is being spoken about and their true lack of knowledge will come out.

They will be embarrassed and afraid of rejection and ridicule even if in reality it would not happen,. Every person to be successful need to have some level of self-esteem. If they are bashful they will look down on themselves and be afraid of giving over information or trying to teach because of the fear of being exposed as a fool.

A person that is quick tempered and impatient cannot teach because they quickly get angry and lose patience for every little thing. This will come out to hurt himself in the eyes of who they teach whereby information will not be able to given over and their students will not gain.

The students will be afraid to ask questions and the teacher will have no benefit from what he is doing. The purpose of teaching is to have an open heart for their students and help them understand and digest the information being presented. If one is quick to get angry and has no patience then they don't have the ability to give over anything they propose to teach.

The next part of the Mishna tells us that if a person is preoccupied with business they cannot be a Torah scholar. The reason is because they are so busy with business that they make it the essence of their lives and do not have fixed time for learning.

Business certainly can take up a lot of a person's time but a person is not their business. They need to grow spiritually as well and without fixed times for learning this will not happen. One should look at business as a way to make a living but not the essence of their lives!

The last part of the Mishna tells us that a person has to try and be a leader if there are no leaders. This means even if that person thinks they do not have the ability to do so, they should work hard to get these skills. The reason is in certain situations where there is no one to take action, then we have to try and step up and do what we can.

Many think they do not have the ability to do so but G-d puts people in certain situations that they use character traits that they don't think exist! That is the purpose of why G-d puts them in that situation int he first place!!