Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mitzvah to blow the Shofar on Yovel

Parshas Bahar

Mitzvah to blow the Shofar on Yovel

On Yom Kippur, at the start of the Yovel year, we are commanded to publicly blow the Shofar. This marks the culmination of the calendar cycle. When we are on our own land, we are commanded to keep every seventh year as the Shmittah year, and then at the completion of seven Shmittos, to add an additional Shmittah year – the Yovel. Not only does the land lay fallow during Yovel, homesteads return to their original owners, and all Jewish slaves are freed.

Why we blow the Shofar on Yovel

The Sefer HaChinuch explains that the reason the Torah commands us to blow the Shofar on Yovel is that freeing a slave is a very difficult mitzvah and the slave owners need chizuk. It may well be that a master had a slave for many years and became dependent upon him. He would find it hard to part with his servant. By sounding the Shofar, we are publicly proclaiming that it is Yovel, and all Jews will be freeing their slaves. The master will then recognize that throughout the Land of Israel, everyone is freeing their slaves, and so it will be easier for him to free his own slave.

read more Shiure Torah

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rebuke - The malpractice of a Mitzvah

ספר ויקרא פרק יט
(יז) לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך ולא תשא עליו חטא:
Do not hate your brother in your heart, rebuke your nation, and do not carry his sin
תרגום אונקלוס על ויקרא פרק יט פסוק יז
(יז) לא תשני ית אחוך בלבך אוכחא תוכח ית חברך ולא תקבל על דליה חובא:
Do not hate your brother in your heart, rebuke your friend, and do not receive a punishment for his sin. (See the Ramban on this posuk.)

Why should I be punished for your sin
When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words, “and do not carry his sin.” The Targum translates this as, “And do not receive a punishment for his sin.”
According to the Targum, it appears that if Reuvain ate a ham sandwich and I didn’t rebuke him, I would be punished for his sin. Why should this be? At most, you might argue that if I was capable of rebuking him and didn’t, I would be responsible for the sin of not rebuking him. But how do I become responsible for the sin that he perpetrated? He transgressed it; I didn’t.
One nation, one people
The answer to this question is based on understanding the connection that one Jew has to another.
The Kli Yakir brings a Moshol. Imagine a man on an ocean voyage. He hears a strange rattling sound in the cabin next to him. As the noise continues, he becomes more and more curious, until finally, he knocks on his neighbor’s door. When the door opens, he sees that his neighbor is drilling a hole in the side of the boat.

“What are you doing?” the man cries.

“Oh, I am drilling,” the neighbor answers simply.


“Yes, I’m drilling a hole in my side of the boat.”

“Stop that,” the man will say.

“But why?” asks the neighbor. “This is my cabin. I paid for it, and I can do what I want here.”

“No, you can’t,” the man replies. “If you cut a hole in your side, the entire boat will go down.”

The nimshol is that the Jewish people is one entity. For a Jew to say “What I do is my business and doesn’t affect anyone else,” is categorically false. My actions affect you, and your actions affect me — we are one unit. It is as if I have co-signed on your loan. If you default on your payments, the bank will come after me. I didn’t borrow the money — but I am responsible. So too, when we accepted the Torah together on Har Sinai, we became one unit, functioning as one people. If you default on your obligations, they come to me and demand payment. We are teammates, and I am responsible for your performance.
The Targum is teaching us the extent of that connection. What Reuvain does directly affects me — not because I am nosy or a busybody, but because we are one entity — so much so that I am liable for what he does. If he sins and I could have prevented it, that comes back to me. A member of my team transgressed, and I could have stopped it from happening. If I did all that I could have to help him grow and shield him from falling, I have met my obligation and will not be punished. If, however, I could have been more concerned for his betterment and more involved in helping to protect him from harm and didn’t, then I am held accountable for his sin.
Don’t rebuke others– it doesn’t work
This perspective is central to understanding why rebuke doesn’t work.
When Revain goes over to Shimon and “gives it to him good”, really shows just what he has done wrong, the only thing accomplished is that now Shimon also hates Reuvain.
To properly fulfill the mitzvah of Tochacha there are two absolute requirements. The first is in regards to attitude, and the second relates to method.
What is my intention?
When I go over to my friend to chastise him, the first question I must ask myself is, “What is my intention?”
If my intention is to set him straight and stop him from doing a terrible sin, then I will almost certainly fail. The only intention that fits the role of a successful mochiah is: “This is my friend; I am concerned for his good.”
If I am looking out for Kavod Shmayaim, or if I am a do-gooder concerned for the betterment of the world, then my words will accomplish the exact opposite of their intended purpose. I won’t succeed in separating my friend from the sin; I will only succeed in separating him from me. The first requirement for the proper fulfillment of Tochacha is that it must be out of love and concern for my friend.
Do you shout when you put on tefillin?
The Chofetz Chaim was once approached by a certain community leader who complained that no matter how much he reproached the people of his town, they didn’t listen. The Chofetz Chaim asked this person to describe how he went about rebuking his townspeople. The man described his method of yelling fiery words at them. The Chofetz Chaim asked him, “Tell me, when you put on Tefillin, do you shout and carry on?” “Then why do you feel the obligation to do so when you do this mitzvah?”
One of the most basic concepts of human relations is that people hate criticism. We hate it worse than poison, and we avoid it like the plague. When you criticize me, I am hypersensitive. If you whisper, I hear it as loud speech, and when you speak quietly, I hear it as if you are shouting in my ears. Being ever aware of this is critical in choosing the method, tone, and words with which I approach my friend. The mitzvah of Tochacha is to help my friend improve. Without a strategy that is sensitive to human nature, even the best of intentions will backfire. To succeed in this mitzvah, I need to choose my words very carefully, making sure that they are as soft and non-offensive possible. This is the second requirement of the Mitzvah.
Out of concern and love
The reality is that this is a very difficult mitzvah to perform correctly. Typically, we find ourselves either not wanting to get involved or saying things that cause more harm than good. If the driving force in doing this mitzvah is concern for the good of our friends, and we carefully study human nature and choose our words guardedly, HASHEM will help us to perform this Mitzvah properly.

For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #53 – I’m Never Wrong

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Leopard can’t change its spots - but a man can…

Parshas Shmini

ספר ויקרא פרק יב
ב) דבר אל בני ישראל לאמר אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר וטמאה שבעת ימים כימי נדת דותה תטמא:
ג) וביום השמיני ימול בשר ערלתו:

3) And on the eighth day you shall circumcise the flesh of the Arlah
ספר החינוך - מצוה ב
משרשי מצוה זו, לפי שרצה השם יתברך לקבוע בעם אשר הבדיל להיות נקרא על שמו אות קבוע בגופם, להבדילם משאר העמים בצורת גופם כמו שהם מובדלים מהם בצורת נפשותם,
, ורצה להיות ההשלמה על ידי האדם, ולא בראו שלם מבטן, לרמוז אליו כי כאשר תשלום צורת גופו על ידו, כן בידו להשלים צורת נפשו בהכשר פעולותיו:

Sefer Ha’Chinuch– Mitzvah of Milah
The root of this mitzvah is because HASHEM wanted to permanently place in this nation a sign in their body that would separate them and show them that they belong to HASHEM. Just as their body is distinct from the other nations, so too, is their soul.
HASHEM wanted this completion of the person to be done by a man, and that he not be born that way. This is a sign that just like the body can be perfected by man, so too he is able to perfect his soul.

The Jew has a distinct role amongst the nations
The Sefer HaChinuch explains that HASHEM separated the Jewish people from all the nations. We were given a distinct role in this world. Our lives and everything we do should be different than any other people.

To remind us of this, HASHEM gave us a sign, a permanent reminder of our uniqueness – the Mitzvah of Milah. A change in our bodies shows that just as the body of the Jew is different than that of a Gentile, so too is our soul.

To read and listen visit Theshmuz Jewish Shiure Torah ...FREE Video and Audio

I would like to thank R’ Daniel Goldstein for his help with this Shmuz.

For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #143-145 The Stages of Change

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Purim -- I’ve got Yichus

ספר אסתר פרק א

א) ויהי בימי אחשורוש הוא אחשורוש המלך מהדו ועד כוש שבע ועשרים ומאה מדינה:

And it was in the days of Achasverosh, he was Achashverosh who ruled from Hodu to Kush, over 127 states.

מדרש רבה אסתר פרשה א פסקה ח

מה זכתה אסתר למלוך על שבע ועשרים ומאה מדינה אלא כך אמר הקב"ה תבא אסתר בתה של שרה שחיתה שבע ועשרים ומאה שנה ותמלוך על שבע ועשרים ומאה מדינה

Why did Esther merit ruling over 127 countries? HASHEM said, “Since Sarah lived 127 years, let Esther, the daughter of Sarah, come and rule over 127 countries.”

To read and listen visit Theshmuz Jewish Shiure Torah ...FREE Video and Audio

When HASHEM took the Jewish People--Torah Shiur

Parshas Zachor

HASHEM’s People

When HASHEM took the Jewish People out of Mitzraim, He did it in a highly visible manner. The word quickly spread throughout the world that these were HASHEM’s people, under His direct guidance and protection, and the world stood in awe of the Klal Yisroel. Shortly after this point, Amalek attacked and were severely beaten, their powerful warriors dismembered and laid helpless in front of the victorious Jews.

To read and listen visit Theshmuz Online Shiur Torah Leasons

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Torah Online--Columbus Discovered America –HASHEM Invented it

Parshas Pikudei

It wasn’t Moshe’s action- It was a Miracle

When all of the various parts of the Mishkan had been fashioned, they were brought to Moshe, who actually stood the walls up and erected the Mishkan. Rashi explains that because of the massive weight of the materials, none of the people involved in forming the Mishkan were able to erect it, so they brought the materials to Moshe. Moshe was also unable to lift up the heavy walls, so HASHEM said to him, “Go through the motions as if you are lifting them, and they will be lifted on their own.”

To read and listen visit Theshmuz Online Torah Leasons

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Torah Shiur -- The Power of Speech

We know that the Torah is very exacting in regards to Loshon Horah: there are 17 negative and 14 positive commandments concerning disparaging speech. In fact, the Rambam paskens like the Gemara, that the sin of Loshon Horah is worse than the sins of Idol worship; illicit relations, and bloodshed. The question is why? Of all of our activities why does the Torah see fit that this one should be dealt with so severely? What is so egregious, so horrific? After all its only words.. ..
This Shmuz deals with the Torah's view of the power of the spoken word, and its effect on human relationships.

Listen to this Shmuz Limudei Torah!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Learn Torah Onlie--The Potential & The Present

"Considering where I come from and what I've been through, I'm doing pretty well..."

While this may be a comforting position to take, the question a person must ask themselves is: is this really all that I can be? What if I were to stop making excuses? What if I was to truly hold myself accountable to live up to my potential? What if I was to go full blast - how great could I be?

This question is essential for growth, but it is also one of our greatest pitfalls. If we don't clearly see how much we are capable of, we cannot chart the course toward our potential. However, with a realistic view of where we are now and a clear understanding of what we could become might lead to depression.

This Shmuz focuses us on maintaining a balance between the two views needed for steady growth: a clear understanding of where we are now and a vivid image of what we can be, even if we won't reach those levels for many, many years.

Listen TO Shmuz #138 Here, then come back to comment!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Study Torah --- Being Sensitive

Almost all of the people that we deal with are reasonable, well intentioned individuals. And so too, am I. Yet, in the course of life, there is conflict, hurtful words, vengeful acts. And, in that rare moment of self honesty, I realize that everything that happens isn't the "other guys fault". I too, am to blame. There have been situations where I acted in a manner that was cold and callous. There have been times when I acted with cruelty and malice. The question is why? It's not that I am not a nice guy, I know I am. Yet there are times when that's not the way I act. The question is why would a nice, caring individual act in a manner very inconsistent with that image? And more significantly what can I do about it?

This Shmuz focuses us on one of the keys to growing in all human relationships: learning to focus on the Inner Condition – how people actually feel, and learning to ignore the Outer Condition – the show that people put on to hide what is actually going on in their heart.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm Never Wrong -- Shiur Torah

There is much truth in the adage: There are three sides to every story, your side, my side and the truth. And, even though I fully understand that you might be making a valid point, as soon as we get into an argument, I can no longer even see your side because, of course, I'm right.

Why is that? We all make mistakes. That is part of being human. And while I certainly can accept that you make mistakes, it becomes very difficult to accept that I may be wrong. In theory I accept that as a human I err, but when it comes down to real life situations, I just seem never to be wrong.

This Shmuz focuses on why it is that we humans have a blind spot when it comes to seeing our own faults, and helps us with some techniques to change that natural propensity.

Listen To Shmuz #136 Here, then come back to comment!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Torah Online --- Imagination: The Devil's Playground

Eleanor Roosevelt has been credited with saying, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The reality is that most of the battles that we fight are based on complex constructions -- created by us. Whether they be issues of misunderstanding other's motives, or our fight with passions and desire, or understanding our place in the universe - our fights and battles are very real to us.

Yet, when you try to explain them to others we often find, many people can't even identify with the challenge nor understand the temptation.

This Shmuz focuses on the fight of our generation, and the very powerful psychological forces that help create the fever- pitched battle that it is.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

PURIM: Being Human--The Torah

One of the most difficult character traits to work on is humility. Not only is it considered the most pervasive of the all of the middos, it is the most misunderstood. On one hand, we are obligated to appreciate the greatness of the human, yet on the other, we must remain humble.

One technique to help identify the trait and its pathology is to see it in its extreme. Using the story of Megillas Esther as a backdrop, and particularly some of foibles of Haman, we are able to witness arrogance in its extreme, and thereby find its cure: the understanding that I am a human.

This is a highly recommended Shmuz for working on the trait of humility, as well as a good preparation for Purim.

Listen To Shmuz #132 Here and come back to comment!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Torah and Parenting 103: Setting Limits

If you were to poll our community, the average parent would admit “we probably give our children too much.” And while this sentiment may not be clearly spoken out by young parents, once children hit the teen age years, most parents upon reflection would say : “ I wish we had been more firm with them when they were younger”; “We’ve probably spoiled them”; “They would have been better off, had they not be given quite so much”

We live in permissive times, and parents seem almost afraid to say the word “no” to their children. Yet intuitively, we understand that we are injuring our children by not being firm, by not setting limits, and following through with consequences when they go past those limits. The challenge for parents is to find the balance between letting our children know that we love them unconditionally and setting limits and educating them in our expectations.

Using the backdrop of some of the most famous personalities in all of history for reference, the Medrash presents to us some of the foundations of effective parenting.

ReJEWvinate -- Jewish Torah Shiurim

One of the tools of a highly successful person is the ability to stay focused and motivated over long periods of time. Whether in sports, academics or business the effort and consistency needed to accomplish long term goals, requires a high level of motivation and the ability to rejuvenate excitement and enthusiasm. Often times the difference between one who actually reach great heights and one who doesn't, is their self awareness and their ability to marshal the inner resources to stay on top of their game. In religion as well, the same skill set is needed to maintain a high level of enthusiasm and focus on growth to prevent our daily actions from becoming merely robotic.

In this Shmuz we are focused on one of the Torah's techniques for staying motivated-- ReJewvinating.

Listen To Shmuz #133 Here, and come back here to comment!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Working For A Living -- Torah Lesson

We know that we were put on this planet for a few short years, to shape ourselves into who we will be for eternity. HASHEM has created this world specifically to give us the chance to mold our inner essence. We also know that the Torah and its mitzvahs are the greatest vehicles of self perfection. If so, one of the questions that a thinking person must ask themselves is, why do we need work? HASHEM is quite capable of creating a world where all of man's needs are met. Yet, not only do we labor, it seems that majority of our life is spent earning a living. Why would HASHEM want that to be? If the entire purpose of life is to allow us to grow in spirituality, wouldn't those goals have been better met by putting us in a world where all of our physical needs were met, and then we would have the time and energy to focus on perfecting ourselves?

This Shmuz addresses one of the most basic questions a Jew must ask himself: Why does HASHEM want us to work for a living?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Living With Bitachon -- Online Shiur Torah

We know that everything is from HASHEM. We also know that we must do our part-- our Hishtadlus. In theory it is easy to find the balance-- I must act in the way of the world, yet knowing all the while that HASHEM runs everything. One of the great challenges of life is actually personifying that tightrope walk between Bitachon and proper Hishtadlus.

How hard should I be working? How seriously should I take the medical reports and new findings? When is it appropriate for me to say, "I have done my part, now it is in HASHEM's hands"?

Drawing on some very inspiring examples of perfect Bitachon, this Shmuz helps us put our belief system into practice.

Click Here to Stream, Download, or Podcast Shmuz #130 & come back to blog!

HaKaras HaTov – Recognizing the Good --- Torah Jewish Life

Shmuz Info Coming Soon...

Click Here to Stream, Download, or Podcast Shmuz #129 & come back to blog!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

DAVENING - Making It Real -- The Torah Bible

Unfortunately, there was no Shmuz this week.
Please enjoy this classic Shmuz on Davening.

Of course we daven. Three times a day. Everyday. The question is how real is our davening, and to whom are we davening. It often seems that our davening is more talking to the walls than talking to Hashem. This Shmuz helps us focus on some of the most basic principles in Judaism, things we always knew, yet take for granted, and are so critical for our growth as religious Jews and thinking people.

Click Here to Stream, Download, or Podcast Shmuz #20 & come back to blog!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Kiruv - The Message and the Medium" Jewish Life

In 1996 Gordon and Horowitz published a study entitled Will your grandchildren be Jewish? Their conclusion: if one were to view the Jewish Nation as a totality, based on ever decreasing birth rates and skyrocketing intermarriage rates, the odds of any Jews being left by the end of the 21 st century are slim to none.

However, one category stands out in stark relief -- the Orthodox. Based on their average birth rate of between 4-6 children per family, and their intermarriage rate of less than 3%, they are burgeoning and ever increasing. We should expect that by the end of this century the Jewish Nation will be alive and vibrant, however strictly Orthodox. The only question that remains is of those Jews alive today: How many will make it themselves, and how many of their grandchildren will be Jewish.

Listen To Shmuz #128 Here!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Breaking The Forces of Habits -- The Jewish Torah

We are creatures of habit -- we act by habit, we react by habit and, to a large extent, we even think by habit. And, in truth, it has to be that way. If we didn't act based on previously established patterns of behavior, life would be unmanageable. If every time we turned a corner we would have to think through the actions involved, our entire mind's focus would be on navigating the basics of living, with no upper brain room left for thinking. For that reason, HASHEM gave us this ability to put things on auto pilot, doing many activities without even giving them a second thought, thereby leaving us the ability to free our mind for more important things.

While this reality is a fact of life, it also brings us face to face with one of the core realities of growth: our habits determine who we are and what we become. Assuming that some of my habits are in my best interest and some aren't, the question then becomes, "How do I change"?
This Shmuz helps us identify those habits that affect us, and then defines the strategies necessary to change them.

In this Shmuz we are introduced to the vital obligation upon every Jew to be involved in Kiruv, and some practical understandings as to how easy it for everyone, not just the Kiruv professional, to have a profound effect on the people around us.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Congratulations! The Shmuz is awarded "Best of the Best in Jewish Outreach"

At the recent AJOP Convention,
The Shmuz was chosen to receive the coveted award of the
"Best of the Best in Jewish Outreach."

(see Pictures Here)

At the recent AJOP convention, The Shmuz was chosen to receive the coveted award of the "Best of the Best in Jewish Outreach." The Shmuz was selected to receive this award for outstanding work in producing, marketing and running effective outreach programming.

In attendance at the three day convention, were over 500 Kiruv professionals from around the world. The Shmuz was showcased as an example of effective, innovative teaching and marketing strategies. Rabbi Shafier and Yechiel manned a booth that highlighted some of the Shmuz marketing materials including the graphic flyers, car magnets, key chains, Shmuz pods, in addition a full screen projection showed in operation. It is clear that the Shmuz has created a “buzz” in the Kiruv world, based on the sheer number of professionals from around the globe who made comments akin to “Yeah, I heard about the Shmuz.”

The last day of the convention Rabbi Shafier made a presentation about the work of TBT, and the focus of the Shmuz and

In addition to showing others organizations what the Shmuz has accomplished, Rabbi Shafier got a chance to meet with many other professionals to gain insight and advise for new initiatives and strategies for both the Shmuz as well as TBT’s future growth.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shiur Torah-- Dignity of Man

While there is much talk today about the importance of self esteem and its effect on a person's attitudes and accomplishments, there is a corollary benefit of understanding the greatness of man -- If I am obligated to respect myself because I was created in the image of HASHEM, then so too, I must respect you, because you also were created in that same image. In fact, Ben Azzai teaches us that if a person wants to improve his interpersonal relationships, a concept that will help him even more than Loving one's neighbor as oneself, is this understanding that All men are created in the image of HASHEM.

This Shmuz focuses us on the Torah's view of the true dignity of man, and the profound effect that this concept has on our lives.


Monday, January 8, 2007

Business Ethics-- The Torah Online

HASHEM created man with an innate sense of morality and an inborn need to do what is right and proper. One of the difficulties of acting ethically is that in the slippery slope of life that sense of right and wrong becomes dulled. It seems that in the business world this is more clearly felt, where the lines between what is considered honest and moral, and what isn't, quickly get blurred.

In the post Enron era, when much of the business community is checking its moral compass, isn't it time for us, The Chosen Nation, to make sure that we are living our lives in accordance with the Torah's standards?

In this Shmuz we are introduced to an overview of what the Torah considers the ethical approach for business dealings, and how to conduct our day to day affairs.

Click here to Watch, Stream, Download or Podcast Shmuz #125 and come back here to comment!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates -- Torah Lesson

This is the latest of Shmuzin given by Rabbi Shafier...Go to Shmuz #124 to Stream, Download, Podcast or Watch Free and come back here to comment!

What Others Are Saying About

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Just E-mailing you to say that the Shmuz was amazing. I told it over to everyone I met last night. My friends and I have enjoyed and gained immensely from the Shiur and the Achdus that is offered at the "Shmuz".
I personally benefit tremendously from the Shmuzin as the Rebbe has a very understandable way of presenting concepts that, although are not new to me, have taken on a whole additional perspective into the concepts.
I thank you for that.

I listen to your shmuzim regularly in my car and its gevaldig source of inspiration. Even my son whose bar mitzvah is this fall enjoys them immensely.

Just a short "Hakoras Hatov" to the Rebbe for helping me understand in many different ways how to Daven better and to be a better person. I really see my own improvement from last year. May we all be zoche to grow and accomplish our goals to help us in this world and the next.

Who I am and who I will be, as well as the identities and fate of my entire family, is a product of the influence you had on me. Thank you for everything.

I loved the Shmuz that you gave last week about Kiddush Hashem
First of all, I would like to say thank you. I listen to the Shmuz to and from work every day in my car, and I enjoy it immensely.
I also want to tell you that I enjoy “The Shmuz” CDs tremendously. I hear their messages resonating in my mind at the strangest times…when I want to eat an extra helping I hear a voice saying “Don’t be a wimp! Have self-control!” When I make a bracha too quickly I laugh at myself for doing the mandatory ‘mouth twitch’ before eating. Purim time, I found myself sitting in the driveway long after I turned the engine off because I had to ‘find out what happened next’ in the Megilah. And so on and so on…Thanks so much for your entertaining (and some times unsettling) shmuzim!! Hatzlachah in all your work.

Rabbi Shafier,
Your Shiurim are an absolute inspiration, and I have gained tremendously from them. Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity to share the wealth!
-Esti W.

The Shmuz really helps me focus on what is significant in life, where Ihave been, where I am now, and perhaps most importantly, where I amgoing. Even 3,000 miles away, these CDs really inspire me and help meget connected emotionally, physically, and spiritually, especially whenlife is at its hardest. Thank you, thank you thank you.
-Alec in L.A.

Dear Rabbi Shafier,
I just started listening to your "shumz"in and really enjoy them. Thank you for your time and Keep up the good work.
-Dovid M.

I just wanted to know how wonderful the Shmuzin are...I appreciate all the hard work, time, & effort that you put into them making them so palatable, & mesukim k'dvash! My cousin recently told me that The Shmuz is now available for free on the site for downloading, & listening. I listen to them while I work out, & on the way to, & from work. May Hashem continue to give you much koach, brocha, & hatzlachah for the wonderful hashpaah you are having on klal Yisroel through your Shmuzin!
-Yisroel G.

To Rabbi Shafier,
Thank you very much for giving The Shmuz and inspiring me and helping me have a better understanding about life. I live in Lakewood NJ and was I wondering if somehow we can hear a live Shmuz in Lakewood. I would definitely be willing to help in what ever way I can.
-Asher E

Hi,I would just like to drop you an email to let you know that this website has really transformed my day at my office. I run my own business, and I could've never imagined the chiizuk I can get from my daily activities here. Please keep up this wonderful website with many more Shmuz's. It really has been a great inspiration to listen to 2-3 shiurim every day. Yasher Koach,
-Menashe M.

Rabbi Shafier,
I would like you to know like this. I am 23, and have been learning in great yeshivas my whole life. I daven and learn and do all the great thing we as Jews have been given to do.I have never felt so fulfilled in my life, whether from Davening, learning, etc.... Until I got a hold of your shmuzim. I was sitting at my desk one day (two day ago) thinking how I only use the internet for work. Google videos. Ebay... And I thought how I can use it for a Jewish purpose. So I googled TORAH, came up as an option and I clicked it.
Lo and behold I registered and downloaded 3 shmuzim burned them on to CDs and started listening to them.I promise you after the first CD I felt like a changed man! I view life in a completely new way which makes me feel wealthy beyond belief. Just today on the way to work I listened to the WEALTHY Shmuz; you have been given a gift in which you are able to bring beautiful ideas into understandable lingo. You, after two days have mamesh changed my life.
Thank you and looking forward to working together with you,
-Your newest Talmid

Rabbi Shafier, Yechiel, and the Shmuz crew,
Thank you very much for opening up the treasure troves of daas Torah on the Shmuz website. It is an enormous source of Nachas and inspiration to me to know I can have the whole library of the Rabbi's Torah within easy reach from any internet connection. I’ve enjoyed several shmuzim from the site so far and look forward to exploring many more in the hours that I’m sitting in front of my computer. May Hashem bring enormous success to your work to Mechazek bnai Torah and create Achdus that will make this dor zoichid to witness the geulah! Very truly yours,
-Dennis S.

I am writing this letter as a public declaration of Hakaras Hatov to Rabbi Shafier.

Although I can only speak for myself, I am sure that many others reading this letter will share my sentiments.It's been about 11 years since I was in Yeshiva full time and I can honestly say that being in a Beis Medrash setting cannot be duplicated. Though I've been Koveia Itim throughout the years in varying levels, I haven't necessarily felt the sense of real spiritual growth; that " I'm working on my own frumkeit" or the feeling of developing a personal relationship with Hashem.Then I was given a CD of Rabbi Shafier's Maaser Shmuz (#52) by a friend. It was as if a light bulb went off in my head. It was immediately Mechazek me in this important and powerful Mitzvah and led me to purchase the entire set of The Shmuz cd's which I now listen to during my commute.I now attend Rabbi Shafier's Shmuz weekly. Now, I am growing. I am developing a personal relationship with Hashem. I look more deeply at myself, my attitudes, my thought processes, my reactions. I now examine my relationship with my wife, my kids, family and friends. And, maybe most importantly, I am coming to appreciate the magnitude of each small act, because they are the stepping stones and springboards of real spiritual growth.The act of giving someone a cd may have seemed small. The act of taking someone along with you the next time you attend the Shmuz may not seem like a big deal to you.

But it was to me.

It has and continues to change my life forever.Thank you so much Rabbi Shafier for all that you do.
-Yaakov K.

Rabbi Shafier:
I want to thank you for everything you have done for me over the past two years. It has been a time of tremendous change, and you were invaluable to me in plotting a course through it all. What you have done for me, both in terms of direct support and time spent talking to me and through the shmuzzin and tapes, will forever leave an impact on me and my family. Who I am and who I will be, as well as the identities and fate of my entire family, is a product of the influence you had on me. I know I can never adequately thank you for this, but I did want to try. I am sure that I am not the only person who feels this way. What you have accomplished in just two short years is something that the greatest of men struggle to accomplish in a lifetime.
Thank you for everything.
Hope to see you soon,
Dovid K. and Family.

Rabbi Shafier, My name is Shlomi;
I have been listening to your Shmuz classes for 4 months now. I normally listen when I commute. I like to listen to each class at least 3 times to get a good understanding of your message. I sometimes take notes and share it with my wife. I told my wife that we should start listening to your class together. She is currently having a hard time with prayers, and G-d, I told her how much your classes have given me a reason to feel good about wanting to learn and grow, so I hope this works for her. I currently can't come to your class on Monday nights in Queens because I am learning with my Rabbi; we are almost done with masechet Makot. After that I hope to start coming to your class. BH during that time my wife and I are expecting our 2nd child, I know that it will be hard but I will try. In any case I want you to know that I am learning so much from you, ever since I pressed play on the first CD I got, you have changed my life. I look at the world differently, I speak to people differently, I have become a better husband and father. (Not that I was not good before, but you teach me how to be even a better husband and father)The things that you speak about connect with me, you give me boost to pray better, and to want to learn more, and grow. You teach me things about myself that I never knew about. I am not the most religious person, there are still things I need to do and change, and I believe that you are giving me the power to do that. I get so excited when I get the CD's in the mail. Sometimes my wife and I would talk about life, money, family, and our problems that we have to deal with, I then try to use your lines to help us feel better about life. I would like to thank you for doing what you are doing, it must be very hard. I want to thank you for reaching to my soul and giving it a jump start. May Hashem give you the strength to continue this great program you are running. I wish you and your family a shana tova, a sweet year, a successful year, a year of Torah and growth.
Shlomi B.
PS. Everyone needs a Mike, you just got yourself a Shlomi (Shmuz #17)

Just a short "Hakores Hatov" to Rabbi Shafier for helping me understand in many different ways how to daven better and to be a better person. I really see my own improvement from last year. May we all be zoche to grow and accomplish our goals to help us in this world and the next. Kisiva Vichasiuma Tova.

First and foremost I want to give you hakoras hatov. I listen to your shmuzim regularly in my car and it's gevaldig source of inspiration. As a true blue CC guy we argue point all the time while you deliver your shmooz. Unfortunately, you never have the opportunity to respond to my contrary proofs or when I think you take a leap of faith, but I enjoy them nonetheless. Even my son whose bar mitzva is this fall enjoys them immensely. May HaKodesh Baruch Hu continue to give you the koach and inspiration to inspire the rest of us for many yamim v'shanim!Many thanks.Have a kesiva v'chasima tova.

Rabbi Shafier,
Thank you for your priceless advice & guidance. To have a Mentor like you is rare. Its more than 10 years that I have the honor to know you and be your student in torah and 'the ways of the world'. The understanding that you have of all areas of Life, the wisdom that you share is crucial to living a successful, happy torah life!
I can only imagine that many in the world don't have the honor to know you but need it!Thank you for everything. May you have much continued hatzlachah in everything that you do!
We'll be in touch,

L'chvod HaRav Shafier, Shlita
I am a recently enlightened "shmuz" listener and I was wondering if it may be possible to open "the shmuz" to girls as well.I am aware of its association with Tiferes Bnei Torah and therefore it may be an issue. However, as a single girl in the Monsey community, I find it hard to connect the shiurim targeted at the girls.I find that many of the shiurim for women are in a sense diluted in order to appeal to a wide audience of girls from different schools and backgrounds.In any case, I wanted to thank you for "the shmuz" for it has already impacted my life so much. I understand it may be an issue to open the "live showing" to girls as well, so until then, I'll be listening. Thank you again, wishing the shmuz continued hatzlacha...Ahuva S.

Dear Rav Shafier,
First, I just want to express my appreciation for the inspiration that you have given me the few times that I have been able to attend the Shmuz in Queens. It provides me with an opportunity for spirituality in a day otherwise filled with the mundane.Best Regards,
-Yaakov M

Dear Rabbi Shafier shlita:
I wanted to ask a favor from you. I used to go to your shiur ,and Ihave almost all of the cd's of your shiurim.I think that the shmuz is amazing, meaningful, interesting, geshmak, poignant and very noegaeah.Unless like other shiurim I come out with new novel ideas, interesting facts and stories that are not mentioned by most speakers..thank you and kol tov
-David B.

Hi Rabbi,
I must tell the Rebbe that I thought yesterday was probably one of the best shmuzin yet, and I really enjoyed your insight how Yackov Aveinu was supposed to make the chop with the Eigel Arufah and the wagons and the calf, and that just like lhavdil we remember when Kennedy was shot, or 9/11, since it was Torah of course Yackov got the hint as well as he remembered what he learned 22 years ago. Again, I really loved the shmuz.Be well,

Rabbi Shafier,
Thank you so much for your Shmuzim. I just completed listening to all 78 on the IPOD and have started from the top. My goal is to “memorize all of them” (this is in writing so I have a much better chance of achieving this as per Mark McCormick).
On wanting a microphone in to the minds of your listeners (#73 - Self Respect - The Basis of it All “@ 16 minutes”); you’re registering loud and clear in my mind and I’d like to thank you so much for giving me the chance just to listen.
Just to illustrate this, after listening to the “Anger Management” (30), I started keeping score. My score card had 2 checks marks in week one and 1 check mark in week two. Week three isn’t over yet, so I don’t have a final score yet for that. Since most of my listening is while driving back and forth from work (90 minutes round trip), I’m driving slower and don’t really care if someone wants to go in front of me. Not in a great rush, because I’m listening to you; and therefore my anger and anxious level are way down, because I feel I’m accomplishing something during my travel time instead of it being wasted by listening to the radio. The chatter is also way down (#73 - Self Respect - The Basis of it All).
My kavana in Davening is also way up. Before starting, I wait 10 seconds (seems like an eternity) and look out the window.
Thank you,
-Dovid K.

Dear Rabbi Shafier,
After listening to your tape "It's not Genaiva, It's Shtick" (one of a few borrowed from Moish and Raizel Grossman) I could not contain my enthusiasm for a job very well done! I was so impressed!!!! Finally, finally someone told it like it is:) I just wanted to say Thank You (!) for such a public display of honesty appreciation. This shmuz should be required listening for everyone and endorsed by all Gedolim everywhere... Yasher Koach!!!
-Malka E.