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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

Chanukah 5872: The Secret Theme of Al Ha'Nissim

12/2/2021
FYI, this is being posted in my Machshavah Lab podcast because it's about a holiday and also in my Tefilah podcast because it's about tefilah. It's the same shiur, though. This evening (12/2/21), in our tefilah shiur, we attempted to take a fresh look at Al ha'Nissim, and when we did, we discovered a major theme that had been hidden there the whole time. I'm not going to spoil the shiur except to say that once you see it, you'll (hopefully) never be able to look at Al ha'Nissim the same way...

Duration:01:05:54

Vayeishev + Miketz: Insights from Yosef and His Brothers on How to Respond to Catastrophe

12/1/2021
Tonight (12/1/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we set out to explore a very, VERY weighty question: how to respond when something bad happens. Our investigation focused on two episodes: the incident of Yosef and Potiphar's wife in Vayeishev, and the response of Yosef's brothers to their predicament in Mikeitz. We began by looking at the seemingly divergent views in the commentaries as to whether Yosef was at fault for being seduced, and then we examined the various explanations...

Duration:01:25:12

How to Cultivate Humility: Practical Guidelines (Part 2) Haughtiness from Beauty and Strength

11/19/2021
This morning (11/19/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we continued our quest for practical guidelines on how to cultivate humility. After reviewing the sources and questions from last time, and resolving one apparent contradiction which came up, we delved into the Abravanel's ... interesting strategies for combatting arrogance. Today's session focused on two causes of haughtiness: beauty and physical strength. We certainly found what we were looking for, so much so that the...

Duration:01:32:45

Vayishlach: Would Rambam Advocate Davening at the Kever of the Fifth Matriarch?

11/18/2021
Tonight (11/17/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we had two objectives: the primary objective was to analyze the Torah's account of the “fifth matriarch” according to both drash and pshat (in that order) and discuss the methodological implications, and the secondary objective was to answer the question: “Would the Rambam advocate davening at her grave?” We spent the first two thirds of the shiur on the first topic, and the final third on the second topic. If you have a different...

Duration:01:40:16

How to Cultivate Humility: a Quest for Practical Guidelines (Part 1)

11/12/2021
This morning (11/12/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we began what I hope will be the first shiur in a (non-consecutive) series. Out of all the good middos, anavah (humility) is considered to be the greatest - but is anavah merely a natural result of our learning and our adherence to the Torah, or are there active steps we can take to cultivate it? In this shiur we will proceed on the latter assumption. We will attempt to understand anavah from both a theoretical and a...

Duration:01:05:14

Vayeitzei: Practical Insights from Yaakov Avinu's Neder

11/10/2021
Tonight (11/10/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we attempted to understand the puzzling neder (vow) that Yaakov Avinu took the morning after his dream. After raising a number of questions, we ended up focusing on three aspects of his neder: (1) its conditionality, which made it seem like he was in doubt about whether Hashem would keep HIS promises; (2) his decision to make a neder in the first place, in light of Judaism's generally negative attitude towards nedarim; and (3) the...

Duration:01:22:55

The Saga of Kayin (Part 5) The Epic Conclusion

11/3/2021
Tonight (11/3/21) we concluded our multi-part series of shiurim on "The Saga of Kayin." Don't be misled by the title: this may have been the conclusion of an epic, but the conclusion itself wasn't exactly epic, since I didn't have enough time to work EVERYTHING out. Still, the theory we proposed in Part 3 was successfully applied and supported, and we were satisfied with the ideas and insights we gained along the way. Now it's time to find our next great adventure in Chumash...

Duration:01:03:45

Chayei Sarah: The Fine Line Between Divine Signs and Divination

10/29/2021
This morning (10/29/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we had two objectives: (1) to examine the permissibility of Eliezer's actions in this week's parashah in light of the Torah prohibition of nichush (divination/omen-reading), and (2) to clarify on a theoretical level the distinction between permissible and prohibited ways of utilizing signs. We examined this topic in light of the Gemara which is the source of these halachos, which we analyzed according to five Rishonim:...

Duration:01:26:59

The Saga of Kayin (Part 4) Applying the Unifying Theory

10/27/2021
Tonight (10/27/21) we continued our multi-part series of shiurim on "The Saga of Kayin." After reviewing our Unifying Theory from last shiur and its application to the birth of Kayin and Hevel, we applied it to the first eight pesukim of The Saga of Kayin: the korbanos, Hashem's rebuke of Kayin, and Kayin's murder of Hevel. Next week (God willing) we'll continue with the pesukim. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. ---------- This week's Torah content has been sponsored by R.R. in appreciation...

Duration:01:08:45

Parashas Vayeira: Avraham and Islam

10/22/2021
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page dvar Torah I wrote entitled, Avraham and Islam. Were YOU aware that Hashem alludes to the rise of Islam in one of his statements to Avraham? That's what R' Avraham ben ha'Rambam thinks. And lest one view his statement as inappropriately "pro-Islamic," then perhaps you should consider the OTHER comment he makes in this parashah, in which he's critical of Islam. What IS Judaism's view on Islam? That is a question this dvar Torah attempts to...

Duration:00:04:27

Sforno on Sedom: Understanding the Dialogue Between Avraham and Hashem

10/22/2021
Every year when we read about Sedom and Amorah, I can't help but feel like I'm watching a "reverse auction," in which Avraham Avinu quantitatively "bargains" for the lowest number of tzadikim that Hashem would be willing to save. This morning (10/22/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we learn through Sforno's commentary which sheds an entirely new light on the dialogue. Sforno shows how each of Avraham's questions is conceptually unique and each of Hashem's answers provides...

Duration:01:21:46

The Saga of Kayin (Part 3) The Unifying Theory

10/20/2021
Tonight (10/20/21) we continued our multi-part series of shiurim on "The Saga of Kayin." The bulk of this shiur was spent analyzing a mishnah in Pirkei Avos. Why? Because the Meiri's explanation of this mishnah is the basis of my unifying theory for the Saga of Kayin. After we arrived at the theory, we only had time to apply it to two out of the thirteen episodes in the Saga of Kayin. Next time we will attempt to apply it to the rest of the Saga ... or as much of it as we can. Part 1 and...

Duration:01:00:10

Torah as Regimen: Ralbag's Approach to Chumash

10/17/2021
Last year (9/16/20, 9/23/20, and 10/1/20) I gave a series of three shiurim on the Ralbag's approach to Torah, as outlined in the introduction to his commentary on Chumash. This Sunday Shiur (10/17/21) is intended to be a more concise presentation of that series with the aim of showcasing the Ralbag's unique approach to Torah. For the more complete presentation from last year, click here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. ---------- מקורות: רלב"ג - פתיחה לבאור התורה רלב"ג - הקדמה לשיר...

Duration:01:32:59

"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