Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

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,

Where is Hashem?

August 7, 2014, by

Reprinted with permission from TheShmuz.com. Imagine you are seated in an ornate concert hall. The upholstery is stately, the ambiance thick. Suddenly, the house lights dim. The stage is dark. Slowly, the curtains lift, and a train of smartly dressed musicians take their places behind the eighty-one instruments arranged on the stage. On cue, the

The Miracle Called Nature

July 29, 2014, by

Imagine that I am running a Torah organization, and funds are tight. Things are so bad that it looks like we might have to close down. I decide to take action, and I’m not wasting time. I’m going straight to the top. I’m going to find myself the most famous, hidden Kabbalist in all of

The Difference Between Emunah and Bitachon

July 24, 2014, by

Reprinted with permission from TheShmuz.com. The Rambam defines emunah as the knowledge that Hashem created and continues to run all of Creation. In Shemoneh Perakima, he delineates the first of the Thirteen Principles of Faith: “The Creator, blessed be He, created and orchestrates all activities, and He alone did, does and will do all actions.”