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Title: The Shmuz on the Parsha

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Title: The Shmuz on the Parsha

Author: Rabbi Ben Zion Shafier 


   You’ve probably seen the bumper stickers, bold black letters announcing “The Shmuz.” They’re all over the place – Brooklyn, Queens, Monsey, Lakewood. Well, now, “the Shmuz” doesn’t have to be just a bumper sticker you pass on the road. “The Shmuz” is in your local bookstore.


   “The Shmuz,” as you might guess, is a mussar shmuz, but with a unique twist. Of course, it draws on Torah, Gemara, and the mefarshim, but it also weaves in lessons from science, history, and other fields to create unique and memorable mashalim.


   What does the history of Ringling Brothers Circus have to do with bitachon? What do bats have to do with finding a shidduch? If you listen to a shmuz, you’ll find out. And most important of all, the mussar message will stick. That’s partly because of Rabbi Ben Zion Shafier’s dynamic yet casual speaking style, but mostly because his mussar messages are tailor-made for the challenges we live with every day.


   The Shmuz on the Parshah is just like the audio shmuzin. Both have that same blend of Torah and modern-day mashalim that apply to real life – the thing that brings shmuz fans like me back. Each parsha gets an essay of a page or two, perfect for reading at the Shabbos seudah.


   When you read that much mussar in such a concentrated way, you can’t help but feel more spiritual afterward. My very favorite essay was “A Diamond with a Flaw,” because it’s such a beautiful mashal for us flawed human beings, but I also loved “I Need Needs” and “The Eyes of History,” to name a few. Then there are “characters,” I don’t think I’ll ever forget – “Frank the cookie baker” or “Joe the crane operator,” or the parents debating the dangers of a yeshiva where boys smoke versus a yeshiva where the boys speak lashan hara.


   That’s Rabbi Shafier’s signature style coming through. Even though he writes about lofty Torah ideas, he writes in ordinary language and never sounds like he’s “talking down” to you. If anything, he constantly reminds you of the great potential you as a human being possess. And that unique knack for putting the most spiritual of concepts into terms we can relate to is why his mussar works.


   “Why another parshah book?” you might wonder. The answer is that The Shmuz on the Parshah isn’t just another parsha book. It’s a book for you and me about the life we’re living.


   The Shmuz on the Parsha is available at www.TheShmuz.com, or by calling 866-613-TORAH (8672), or can be purchased at your local bookstore.

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