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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, October 22, 2015

Ethics of our Fathers: Chapter 5 Mishna 17: Come to the Study Hall and Learn or Become a Fossil!

"There are four types of those who go to the study hall: He who attends and does not practice (the teachings of the study hall) secures the reward for attending; he who practices (leading a good life) but does not attend (to acquire knowledge) secures the reward for practicing; he who attends and practices is saintly; he who neither attends nor practices is wicked"

The first part of the Mishna tells us that one who goes to the study hall but does not practice what he learns gets the reward of going. Rabbenu Yona explains that this person is truly evil because it is bad enough that he transgresses but also he prevents others from doing mitzvos as well! What is the purpose of his going to the study hall if he doesn't intend to practice what he learns?

The purpose of Torah is to change a person. We don't learn Torah like we would any other discipline i.e. mathematics. It is not mental gymnastics and intellectual stimulation we are looking for but a way to implement these ideas into our lives. A person like this Rabbenu Yonah explains is better that they did not come into the world in the first place. Although it is possible that they can do teshuvah (repent) at the same time, this person is clearly showing that what he is doing has no affect on their lives which is the opposite of what the Torah is trying to convey to us!

If a person learns but they don't go to the study hall gets the merit for doing the mitzvos. He doesn't know how to properly keep the mitzvos but he does them according to his understanding. He will certainly receive merit for what he does but without the proper guidance, he won't be able to serve G-d properly. The merit of the mitzvah he will receive but the way to properly do them and apply them to his life will be surely lacking!

If he goes to the study hall and practices what he learns is saintly because he utilizes the proper learning and applies it to their lives. This is what Torah is; learning what G-d wants him to do in this world and applying it to their lives to the best of their ability! Although we may fail this is in some way, nonetheless we make the best effort to learn, review and implement these timely teachings.

The person who doesn't go to learn or practice the teachings of the Torah is wicked because even if by some chance they would come by the study hall, it won't matter because they don't have any intention of learning or keeping the mitzvos. This person is against what the Torah wants from him and seemingly doesn't care. This will surely lead to assimilation, intermarriage and the ultimate destruction of the Jewish people.

We have seen this first hand that when their is little Jewish education, then everything else falls by the wayside. If Torah education isn't important, is there any reason someone born Jewish will be able to pass this priceless heritage down to the next generation. Just like a mule is a very strong animal (a hybrid between a horse and a donkey) it is sterile and can't reproduce. A Judaism without Torah will do the exact same thing!