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Machshavah Lab

Philosophy Podcasts

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss. My goal as a Torah educator is not merely to teach my students my OWN hashkafah. Rather, my goal is to equip them with the foundations, the methodological training, and the tools which will enable them to arrive at their OWN understanding of Judaism and cultivate their OWN relationship with Hashem and His Torah. This podcast is devoted to the shiurim I give which are geared specifically towards that end. As such, the range of topics covered here will be diverse. There will be shiurim on Jewish philosophy, Chumash methodology, aggadic midrashim, maybe even some non-Jewish philosophy as well. Merriam-Webster defines "laboratory" as a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study. I call this podcast "Machshavah Lab" because this is where we will conduct Torah "experiments" by exploring questions, texts, and ideas in an effort to develop our machshavah in a "hands on," exploratory, firsthand manner.

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss. My goal as a Torah educator is not merely to teach my students my OWN hashkafah. Rather, my goal is to equip them with the foundations, the methodological training, and the tools which will enable them to arrive at their OWN understanding of Judaism and cultivate their OWN relationship with Hashem and His Torah. This podcast is devoted to the shiurim I give which are geared specifically towards that end. As such, the range of topics covered here will be diverse. There will be shiurim on Jewish philosophy, Chumash methodology, aggadic midrashim, maybe even some non-Jewish philosophy as well. Merriam-Webster defines "laboratory" as a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study. I call this podcast "Machshavah Lab" because this is where we will conduct Torah "experiments" by exploring questions, texts, and ideas in an effort to develop our machshavah in a "hands on," exploratory, firsthand manner.

Location:

United States

Description:

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss. My goal as a Torah educator is not merely to teach my students my OWN hashkafah. Rather, my goal is to equip them with the foundations, the methodological training, and the tools which will enable them to arrive at their OWN understanding of Judaism and cultivate their OWN relationship with Hashem and His Torah. This podcast is devoted to the shiurim I give which are geared specifically towards that end. As such, the range of topics covered here will be diverse. There will be shiurim on Jewish philosophy, Chumash methodology, aggadic midrashim, maybe even some non-Jewish philosophy as well. Merriam-Webster defines "laboratory" as a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study. I call this podcast "Machshavah Lab" because this is where we will conduct Torah "experiments" by exploring questions, texts, and ideas in an effort to develop our machshavah in a "hands on," exploratory, firsthand manner.

Language:

English

Contact:

9177836827


Episodes

"Adam's Demonic Spawn" or "Did Hashem Turn the Builders of Migdal Bavel into Monkeys?!"

10/15/2021
This morning (10/15/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we aimed to answer two major questions: (1) What do Chazal mean when they say that some of the builders of Migdal Bavel were punished by being transformed into "monkeys, spirits, demons, and liliths"? and (2) Why does the Torah say that Sheis was born to Adam "in his likeness, like his form" but it doesn't say this by Kayin and Hevel? The Rambam's answer to both questions opened up a can of worms which threw into question the...

Duration:01:12:39

The Saga of Kayin (Part 2) More Questions and Problems

10/13/2021
Tonight (10/13/21) we continued our multi-part series of shiurim on "The Saga of Kayin," in an effort to achieve our goal of understanding the unity of Kayin's entire story which is told in Bereishis Perek 4. We picked up where we last left off in our "close read" and continued identifying every question, problem, and nuance we could - and we finished! Next time we shall attempt to come up with a theory which unifies the entire narrative. ---------- This week's Torah content has been...

Duration:01:05:38

Parashas Noach: Migdal Bavel and the Hindu Account of the Mabul

10/8/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page dvar Torah I wrote entitled, Migdal Bavel and the Hindu Account of the Mabul. The midrash states that the Dor Haflagah built Migdal Bavel to prevent another Mabul, which they believed to be a cyclical phenomenon. As it so happens, Hindus believe the same thing. But there is a key difference: the Dor Haflagah had access to Noach but denied his prophetic account, whereas the Hindus didn't have access to nevuah. Would the Torah still consider...

Duration:00:05:44

What's the Pshat of Migdal Bavel? (Parashas Noach)

10/8/2021
This morning (10/8/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we attempted to understand the pshat of the Migdal Bavel story, free from any midrashic biases. With the Ibn Ezra and Ralbag as our guides, we learned through the story and emerged with a fresh (and somewhat radical) view with implications for our present day lives. Perhaps more important was the showcasing of Ibn Ezra's pshat-oriented approach to the text. Link to Midrashic Betrayal: How the Lack of Clarity Surrounding Pshat...

Duration:01:10:16

The Saga of Kayin (Part 1) Questions and Problems

10/6/2021
Tonight (10/6/21) we began a multi-part series of shiurim on "The Saga of Kayin." In previous years I had learned specific parts of Kayin's story (i.e. his korban, Hashem's pep talk, his murder of hevel), but I had never asked questions like: What is the unity of Chapter 4? How does each part contribute to the whole? What are we supposed to get from the entire saga? It's all one parashah in the Torah, including the enumeration of Kayin's descendants, concluding with the birth of Enosh. In...

Duration:01:24:21

Parashas Bereishis: (How) Did Hashem Speak to Kayin?

10/5/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page dvar Torah I wrote entitled, Bereishis: (How) Did Hashem Speak to Kayin? The problem is that Kayin doesn't seem cut out to be a navi. Radak offers a shocking interpretation in his "esoteric commentary." Although I do not believe that this interpretation adequately solves our problem, it does provide us with an interesting methodological tool which might open the door to other novel interpretations. ---------- This week's Torah content has...

Duration:00:05:29

Does Hashem Actually Care What We Call Shemini Atzeres?

10/1/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Does Hashem Actually Care What We Call Shemini Atzeres? The title might make it seem like it's about Shemini Atzeres, but it's actually about why we should care about even the most trivial nuances in the nusach ha'tefilah. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by an anonymous donor in memory of her grandmother, Golda Henya bat Devora a"h. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or feedback,...

Duration:00:05:12

The Joyful Progression from Yom ha’Kippurim through Sukkos

9/19/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, The Joyful Progression from Yom ha’Kippurim through Sukkos. I have long been troubled by the fact that on Yom ha'Kippurim we act as though our fate is hanging in the balance, but after Yom ha'Kippurim we act as though our teshuvah and tefilos were accepted, without any doubt. In this 1-page article we attempt to reconcile these two antithetical moods, and in doing so, shed a new light on the "days of simchah" from...

Duration:00:05:03

Yom ha'Kippurim 5782: Vidui Yom ha'Kippurim and the Inner Bears of Our Nature

9/10/2021
This morning (9/10/21) in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we revisited an old question: What is the difference between the year-round mitzvah of vidui (confession) and the special mitzvah of vidui Yom ha'Kippurim? After reviewing the facts and noting the differences, we develop an approach for understanding those differences - based on a Rambam in the Moreh ha'Nevuchim, but inspired by an encounter I had with a bear in southern Washington state. Although we didn't answer all of our...

Duration:01:09:27

Meditations on Rosh ha'Shanah 5781: The Meaning of "Shanah Tovah"

9/6/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the informal article/reflection I wrote LAST Rosh ha'Shanah, entitled Meditations on Rosh ha'Shanah 5781 - The Meaning of "Shanah Tovah." I'm sharing this today for five reasons: (1) This year I did something which I've never systematically done in the past: I went back and reviewed my whole year! That's when I was reminded of this. (2) It is SO easy for us to forget the lessons of the pandemic; this reflection really captured my thoughts and feelings...

Duration:00:05:43

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and the 42-Letter Name of God

8/30/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and the 42-Letter Name of God. I wasn't planning on writing anything for today, but last night I became obsessed with the name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and its connection to the Rambam in the Moreh ha'Nevuchim, and I knew that I had to write this. Plus, I really wanted to record it. :) ---------- Today's Torah content has been brought to you by the generosity of my Patrons on...

Duration:00:05:29

Ki Teitzei: On the Merit of Giving Bad Explanations of Mitzvos

8/20/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Ki Teitzei: On the Merit of Giving Bad Explanations of Mitzvos, in which we examine the Sefer ha'Chinuch's reasons for giving less-than-stellar explanations of taamei ha'mitzvos (the reasons for the commandments), and consider the practical implications for teaching. ---------- Today's Torah content is sponsored by an anonymous donor, out of gratitude for all of the awesome opportunities for learning over Zoom that...

Duration:00:04:54

When to Dance Between Two Opinions

8/19/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, When to Dance Between Two Opinions, in which I attempted to capture a burgeoning realization, which I anticipate will be a "leveling up" of a major shift in the most important shiur I gave last year: Of Wolves, Men, and Methodology. ---------- Today's Torah content has been brought to you by the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or feedback, I would love to hear from...

Duration:00:04:43

Halacha as a Playground of Mindfulness

8/18/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Halacha as a Playground of Mindfulness, which is my rebuttal to a cartoon I saw which depicts "religion" as a prison and "spirituality" as freedom. ---------- Today's Torah content has been brought to you by the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me at rabbischneeweiss at gmail. ---------- If...

Duration:00:04:35

The Insidious Nature of Metaphysical and Epistemological Premises

8/17/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, The Insidious Nature of Metaphysical and Epistemological Premises, in which I reflect on two opposing but equally alluring fantasies: the fantasy that we can learn non-Torah sources while guarding ourselves against adopting their false metaphysical and epistemological premises, and the fantasy that we can close ourselves off from non-Torah sources and develop our Judaism entirely from within. ---------- Today's...

Duration:00:04:25

Tallis as a Vehicle of Gratitude and a Reminder of Death

8/16/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Tallis as a Vehicle of Gratitude and a Reminder of Death. In it, I share my current practice of putting on my tallis in the morning, which incorporates elements from halacha, aggadah, Stoicism, and meditation. ---------- Today's Torah content has been brought to you by the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free...

Duration:00:04:29

Shoftim: The Parameters of Idolatrous Cultural Appropriation

8/13/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Shoftim: The Parameters of Idolatrous Cultural Appropriation, in which we attempt to explain a contradiction between the Rambam's theory of korbanos and his explanation for why we are prohibited from planting trees on the Temple Mount. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by Joey and Estee Lichter in honor of the marriage of Isaac and Aviva. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or...

Duration:00:04:38

On Being Present in Tefilah

8/12/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, On Being Present in Tefilah, in which I recount a radical tefilah experiment I tried earlier this year, and the scaled down version which is my current practice. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by Joey and Estee Lichter in honor of the marriage of Isaac and Aviva. ---------- If you have questions, comments, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me at...

Duration:00:04:38

Rambam: On Awakening (The Question)

8/11/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, Rambam: On Awakening (The Question), in which we draw attention to the three instances of the "waking up" metaphor in the Rambam's Mishneh Torah and raise the question about what they have in common. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by Joey and Estee Lichter in honor of the marriage of Isaac and Aviva. And special thanks to Alex K. for notifying me of a MAJOR omission in the original version...

Duration:00:04:23

How to Choose What to Learn Before You Die

8/10/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote entitled, How to Choose What to Learn Before You Die. If you have or had a good relationship with learning but have fallen into a rut and are looking for a way to reconnect, perhaps this exercise will help you to get back on track - provided you fit the description in the disclaimer. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by Joey and Estee Lichter in honor of the marriage of Isaac and Aviva. ---------- If...

Duration:00:04:33