Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Stop Playing God

November 25, 2014, by

Eighty percent of our emunah problems and ninety percent of our questions on Hashem stem from one mistake—we play God. Playing God means I know exactly what I need. I need to marry that woman. I need that job. I need my child to get into that school. I’ve talked to Hashem about it. I’ve

Hashem Loves You More than You Love Yourself

November 19, 2014, by

The Chovos HaLevavos explains that in order to have bitachon, you must realize that Hashem cares about you in a very real way. You must appreciate that Hashem is deeply concerned for your good. And you must know that Hashem loves you. But Hashem doesn’t care about you as a mortal cares about you. Hashem

Is Hashem Angry with Me?

November 13, 2014, by

“The second question is,” I said, “what could you do to make Hashem angry? “Let’s say that you decided, ‘That’s it. I’m fed up with Hashem, and I’m going to do something to get Him angry.’ What could you do to make Hashem really mad? “The answer is nothing. Because, quite frankly, you’re not important

Hashem Loves You

October 27, 2014, by

I was speaking in an out-of-town community on the topic of the four levels of emunah. I spent some time dwelling on the third level: that Hashem knows our thoughts. I explained the parable of the transparent man, and that Hashem peers into my essence and knows exactly what I’m thinking as I think it.

How to Take an Insult

October 23, 2014, by

When I was in third grade, I had a teacher who taught us how to accept a compliment. “Don’t squirm,” she would say. “Look the person in the eye, and say thank-you.” While this was wise advice, I don’t recall any teacher telling us how to take an insult. The Chovos HaLevavos does (Sha’ar Bitachon

You Can’t Harm Me, You Can’t Help Me

October 7, 2014, by

“Do not take revenge.” [Vayikra 19:18] One day, you ask to borrow my shovel. I refuse. The next day, I say to you, “May I borrow your hammer?” You respond, “Yesterday, when I asked you for a shovel, you wouldn’t help me. I’m going to pay you back in kind. Now that you need something,

Emunah and Good Luck Charms

September 29, 2014, by

A generation ago, bingo games were serious fundraisers for Torah institutions. Most Yeshivas ran them, and as the staff at the game could only be volunteers, many a yeshiva bachur found himself “volunteering” to work the game. Every game had its version of Sadie—an older woman in her housecoat, sitting at the end of the

The Fourth Level of Emunah – Hashem Is Here

September 16, 2014, by

Imagine you are walking down a dimly lit street. It’s the middle of February, late at night, and you’re in a part of town you don’t normally frequent. You look around—not a soul to be seen. “It’s mighty quiet,” you think to yourself. You tighten your coat and walk a bit quicker, listening to the

The Second Level of Emunah

August 27, 2014, by

On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: how many will pass from the earth, and how many will be born. Who will live, and who will die. Who will die at his predestined time, and who before his time. Who by water, and who by fire… [Tefillas Rosh Hashanah]

Three Questions to Ask Your Local Atheist

August 13, 2014, by

Imagine you are standing in an orchard filled with orange trees in full blossom. The branches are heavy with ripe, succulent oranges stretching out as far as the eye can see. The grower explains that a mere ten years ago, it was a barren field. Over time, he planted the rows and rows of seeds,