The Shmuz: Great Free Torah Audio on The Web

My wife and I listen to a lot of Torah Tapes and mp3s. This past year we’ve been introduced to one of the best, practical hashkafa speakers around, Rabbi Barry Shafier at And it’s not just us, many people have told us how much they enjoy and learn by listening to Rabbi Shafier.

Here are some reasons why the Shmuz is a terrific listen:

1) Every shiur starts with one or more questions based on a saying of Chazal or a quote from a Rishon
2) There is lots of well researched supporting material from the disciplines of science, history, sociology, etc..
3) Practical advice on how to apply the lessons learned are always provided
4) Rabbi Shafier uses humor and emotion to captivate his audience
5) The shiur is a good length (45 minutes) and never drags
6) All of the Shmuzim are available for free for download as mp3s or podcasts

Here is a sample write-up of one of the more popular Shmuzim

#10 Questioning G-d: Finding and keeping your Bashert.
Since the time we were little children we were schooled in the idea that, “You’re not allowed to ask questions on G-d”. But is that true? Is it true that a person isn’t allowed to have questions about the way Hashem runs the world?

In this Shmuz we are introduced to the fact that no less than Avrohom Avinu, himself had questions on HASHEM, yet he wasn’t considered a heretic. Understanding what our role is, and what HASHEM’s role is, helps us to understand what is and what isn’t a legitimate question about the way that HASHEM does things.

So check out The Shmuz and let us know what you think.

A list of available Shmuzim follows

#1 Eternal People
#2 Rosh Hashanah – Issues of the Day
#3 Yom Kippur – The power of Teshuvah
#4 Appreciating Olam Hazeh
#5 Appreciating our Wealth
#6 Its not Geneivah, it’s Shtick
#7 Noach: Understanding Belief
#8 Power of Prayer
#9 Akaidas Yitzchak
#10 Questioning G-d: Finding and keeping your Bashert
#11 Kibud Av of Eisav – Appreciating Parents
#12 People of Principle
#13 Free Will – Part 1: Nefesh Habahami, Nefesh Hasichli
#14 Living like a Rock
#15 Chanukah G-d fights Our Wars
#16 Olam Habba: The Greatest Motivator
#17 Acquiring Olam Habba The Easy Way – “Everyone needs a Mike”
#18 The Difference Between Emunah and Bitachon – Four Levels To Emunah
#19 Free will – Part 2: I Never Do Anything Wrong
#20 Davening – Making it Real
#21 Choosing a Career
#22 Evolution – Does it Make Sense?
#23 I’ll never die. Not me. No way.
#24 Understanding Life Settings
#25 They don’t make anti Semites like they used to
#26 Loshon Horah – Squandering our Olam Habbah
#27 Respecting the Institution – America the Beautiful
#28 People Believe what they want to Believe
#29 The Busy Generation
#30 Anger Management
#31 The Voice Inside
#32 Understanding Nature – Putting the “WOW” back into Nature
#33 Where Was G-D During the Holocaust?
#34 Isreal: Exalted Nation / Oppressed People (Why did G-d allow the holocaust to happen?)
#35 Hashem and Man: Master and Servant (Understanding Humility)
#36 For the Love of Money
#37 Three Types of Miracles – The Fifth Level of Emunah
#38 Where is Hashem – The Sixth Level of Emunah
#39 I Need, Needs
#40 Acher – The Importance of Torah – Founding an Organization
#41 Rebbe Akiva and Rochel – Potential of the individual
#42 Tricks of the Soton
#43 Soton out of the Box
#44 Bar Kamtza – Do you really have Free Will?
#45 WYSIWYG- Developing Willpower
#46 Greatness of Man- Beyond our understanding
#47 Cognitive Restrucing
#48 Being a Nice Guy
#49 Yom Kippur- The Capacity of a human
#50 Bitachon – Learning to Trust HASHEM
#51 Bitachon part II- Bitachon and Histadlus – Finding the balance
#52 Bitachon Part III- The Maaser Shmuz
#53 I Hate Criticism
#54 Understanding Laziness
#55 Staying Pure in an Impure World
#56 Chanukah – The Death of Right and Wrong
#57 Torah – Creating Worlds
#58 Arrogance – Misdirected “Greatness of Man”
#59 Humility – An Issue of Perspective
#60 Tidal Waves and Middas HaDin
#61 Heroes!
#62 Plan Your Life, Live Your Plan
#63 Davening – Close Encounters with our Creator
#64 Davening Part II- The Love of a Father To A Son
#65 Davening Part III- The Third System – The Power of the Words
#66 Torah – The Mark of the Man
#67 Understanding and Eliminating Jealously
#68 People Skills
#69 Yitzias Mitzraim – A War of Ideology
#70 Onah – The Torah’s Sensisitivity to another’s pain
#71 Chesed: Being Like HASHEM
#72 Respect : The Students of Rebbe Akiva
#73 Self Respect; The Basis of it All
#74 Divaykus in Our Times
#75 Respect : The Students of Rebbe Akiva-The Art The Art of Appreciation
#76 Asking Advice
#77 Man Based Morality
#78 Kiddush HASHEM
#79 Reward & Punishment
#80 It’s Never Too Late
#81 All for my People
#82 Why Me? Understanding Suffering
#83 The Moon was Jealous- Understanding the Forces of Nature
#84 Why Me?
#86 To Tell the Truth
#87 Self Control!
#88 Chanukah – The Effect of Outside Influences
#89 Malbin Pnei Chavero
#90 Torah L’Shmah
#91 I Never Forget
#92 TACT
#93 Shabbos- Foundation of our Emunah
#94 On Being Judgmental
#95 Time Management
#96 Purim III-Sieze the Moment
#97 Living the Good life
#98 The Power of Positive Thinking
#99 Men are from Mars
#100 Keeping The Dream Alive
#101 – Why Pray?
#102 Learning To Love HASHEM

9 comments on “The Shmuz: Great Free Torah Audio on The Web

  1. I finally got myself an MP3 player and started downloading and listening to the Shiurs. Wish I bought it sooner! Thanks for letting us know about this Mark.

  2. Thank you guys for publicizing this incredible website. I am now a Rabbi Shafier addict, and I eagerly listen to the Shmuz podcasts on the Metro and in the car.

    Thank you again!

  3. Some Shmuz titles are “Where was G-D during the Holocaust?” “Tidal waves and Middas HaDin’ “Finding and keeping your Bashert” and “The Kibbud Av VaEim of Eisav”. They really are great.

  4. My wife, father-in-law and I are also big fans of the Shmuz. I also know plenty of guys who attend the live Shmuz and benefit greatly.

    Rabbi Shafier has a great presentation style and great insight on practical issues. Though I am unable to make it to the live Shmuz, the mp3s are phenomenal and allow you to listen when the time is right for you.

  5. I don’t ask my son to divulge the dialogue that goes on in the shiur. As for the “hot topics” you might ask the administrators, as they seem to be familiar with the tapes, which as I understand, are recordings of past shmuzim. Also, according to the website, Rabbi Shafier is available for speaking engagements, so that might be an option as well if you want more information.

    When my son was in yeshiva, he said numerous times (and this is confirmed in Faranak Margolese’s book “Off the Derech”) that there were certain topics he wanted to approach but the Rabbaim would respond to questions of this sort by either 1) accusing the inquirer of trying to get off topic, or 2) refusing to deal with the question at all, or 3) dealing with it in a minimal way on the Rabbi’s terms, in other words not allowing the student’s to have their questions addressed, but directing the discussion only to the areas of comfort.

    My son did not necessarily want to broadcast the nature of these questions to the general public, but did seek to discuss them in a proper Jewish setting with Rabbinic guidance.

    I am grateful for the availability of this program, which is directed at working bachurim, as it seems to address a great need.

  6. These “shmuzim” are also available in person (as you can find on the link). My son started attending the one on Thursday nights in Monsey a few weeks ago and and he likes it because it is dealing with all the topics he couldn’t get his yeshiva Rabbaim to talk about. Baruch Hashem.

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