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.
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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, August 7, 2014

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 3 Misna 19: If G-d knows what we will do, what happened to free will?

"Everything is foreseen (by G-d), yet freewill is granted (to man); the world is ruled with Divine goodness, yet all is according to the amount of man's work"

The first part of the Mishna explains that G-d foresees everything we do. If this is true, how do we reconcile the next statement that we have freewill? After all, if G-d knows what we are going to do, how am I really free to do what I want?

The commentaries explains that we have the ability to do either good or bad. We have free choice to go in either one direction or the other. This does not contradict the fact that G-d knows what we are going to do. We still have to go out and do it!

The reason that G-d set up the world like this is so that we will get more reward for the positive actions that we do. If we were created only do His will, we would be robots. This is not what G-d wants! He put us in this world with different character traits, drives and urges to help us reach our potential.

These actions can also cause G-d's ire when we have not done what He wants us to do! Although the first man ate from the tree of knowledge, he made our challenges that much more difficult.

His intention was to bring the evil, so-to-speak inside of us so that we would have to constantly fight against our evil inclination. That way, when we were presented with different options of what do do in a particular situation, if we chose the right way, we would get even more merit for our good actions but at the same time suffer the consequences when we did the wrong thing.

The only problem with this, though is that the Talmud tells us that G-d calls him an apikorus (heretic). The reason being is that even though Adam may have been right in his thinking, nonetheless, it was not the way G-d established the world to be run!

This leads to the last part of the Mishna about G-d's judgement. G-d has tremendous compassion when looking at what man does. In reality, we have no one to blame but ourselves for what happens to us because ultimately we are responsible for our actions.

The only question is when we do something that G-d doesn't want us to do, how does He view it? He takes into account what the action was, why we did it and where we were holding at the time. He therefore judges us at the present time, not for what great things we may do in the future, thereby making the judgement harsher.

This is a tremendous act of chesed G-d does for us. Even though He may put us in precarious situations to see how we will react, nonetheless, He doesn't put us in a situation we can't handle! We are judged by what we do, not by what our future holds!