Interview with Shlomo Ben Zeev

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have found that the more I work on my emmuna - the more I want to do more with my life every day. It's that clear. When you know that there is meaning and purpose to my existence it drives you to work harder and to try and achieve more with each day.
I'm still a work in progress, though. But I go to sleep each night knowing that I want to wake up as soon as possible to do even more with today.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach most days in Yeshiva Ohr David, in Jerusalem. On most days I am there all day long. I also am a Sofer Stam, a Jewish Torah Scribe, so I spend time writing tefillin and mezuzot as well to supplement my income. I am a father of many children (It's a problem of the evil-eye to say how many), so I spend time with my children and my wife, Julie, as often as possible. In addition I spend as much time as I can learning Torah as well. As I said before - I'm still a work in progress.
What is your writing process?
I'm a slow writer. I usually learn a lot of information at once and then begin a process of refinement, figuring out what are the most pertinent issues and expand on them. I'm kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of writer, but because I spend a lot of time considering the issues and reviewing the information so by the time I actually sit down and write I have a pretty clear direction that I want to take.
I follow pretty much the same format in preparation for my public speaking.
What are you working on next?
My next book is, of course, the second in the series. It is entitled "G-d & Me" and in it I move on to explore the issues pertaining THE SECOND CORE QUESTION of life, "Does G-d know me?"
With HaShem's help I am almost finished an I hope to publish it soon.
In it we explore questions like:
In the depths of an immense cosmos - how can G-d know little, old me?
Is there any way to know if we have a soul?
Does man talk with G-d in a concrete way that shows what He wants from us?
And many other issues.
How do you approach cover design?
In truth the first volume of the CE series was a work. I played with many different backgrounds. Eventually I realized that I wanted the cover to show the essence of the issue: a man looking at the universe and asking the most basic existential question "Are You there G-d?" Then I thought "well if it's not clear that G-d is there then His name should be sort of faded into the background, but His light should be shining through.
That's how I can to my first design.
Recently, though, I had the cover professionally re-done to be more up to date, as many people told me that the cover looked "so 1990's".
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Bible, but not the new one and not in a language other than the original Hebrew.
The Babylonian Talmud, The Midrash, The Shulchan Aruch and The Path of the Just.
All of these books make life mean so much, what would I have done without them?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in many different places. Born in Boston, moved to Atlanta, GA when I was young, then to Israel as a young adult. But I also grew up in an irreligious home and eventually followed in my parents footsteps in going back to the Torah. There can be no doubt that all of these differing places had a great impact on my, my outlook on life and the development of my own personal vision.
More than all of that the Holy Torah and my Rabbi's have been an amazing source of understanding and wisdom, that gave me a life-picture worth living.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing to summarize the topics that I was learning in my Talmud and Halacha studies. I noted that I was having such a good time doing this that I started doing it for every major topic of study. This was an exhilarating experience and I haven't really stopped since.
In fact, I have many almost ready books in my computer that I want to eventually publish but I haven't found the time to complete them yet!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy the creative process. It allows me to focus on specific issues better and to refine and improve my understanding of the topic by trying to look at things from the readers perspective.
What do your fans mean to you?
Although I truly enjoyed the creative process, really the whole purpose was to help others with the knowledge that I have amassed over the years. They are the real reward for the labors that I have endured to make the books that I have. To that end I have invested many hours in order to make my books as straight-forward, clear, and enjoyable as possible, so that the reader enjoys the experience of growth while he or she is learning.
Describe your desk
My desk, by nature, is a bit of a mess. That's because I have to, many times, multi-task and don't have to time to finally get it organized. Also, whenever I actually take the time to do so - it only lasts for a couple of hours before it goes back to being a mess. But my mind isn't a mess!!!!
Published 2017-12-18.
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Books by This Author

Core Emmuna 1: Hello? G-d?
Series: Core Emmuna. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 102,140. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Judaism / Theology, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
This book explores the creation, the awe and wonder of it all. It lays bare the scientific wonders of the world and the immensity, and depths of wisdom in the creation. It also lays bare the almost total lack of understanding of the sciences as to how it could have happened... without the hand of The Mighty Creator. In this, it begins our journey to real emmuna. Core Emmuna.