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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

How "Wholeheartedly" Does Hashem Endorse Tefilah? (or "Insights Into Tefilah from Parashas Beshalach")

1/11/2022
Note: I've uploaded this shiur to Machshavah Lab AND The Tefilah Podcast because it's relevant to both and I can spare the minutes this month. This evening (1/11/22), in our tefilah shiur, we tackled a bunch of fundamental questions on tefilah, including but not limited to: (1) How "poetic" are the Torah's songs, David ha'Melech's Tehilim, and our tefilos, and what are the methodological implications? (2) If Hashem knows what we're thinking, why do we have to daven out loud and go through...

Duration:00:47:07

Bo: Sforno's Counterintuitive Take on Korban Pesach and Makkas Bechoros

1/7/2022
This morning (1/7/22), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we took up two very basic questions: (1) Who carried out the Plague of the Firstborn? (2) What is the purpose of the Korban Pesach? The average Jew who has attended Pesach sedarim would probably have ready answers to both of these questions. That's where Sforno comes in. His commentary on the events of the night of the 15th of Nisan flips our understanding on its head, and in doing so, paves the way for a revolutionary new...

Duration:01:26:08

Vaeira: Rambam vs. Sforno on the Hardening of Paroh's Heart

12/31/2021
This morning (12/31/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we had a SURPRISE shiur on the parashah! (It was a "surprise" in the sense that I didn't prepare a shiur. This began as a Q&A and turned into a shiur.) The question was: "What's the deal with Hashem hardening Paroh's heart?" After showing off AlHaTorah's excellent "topics" feature and reading Neima Novetsky's setup of the questions, we focused on two explanations: Rambam and Sforno. I chose these two because they are...

Duration:01:13:48

Rambam's Shitah on Hashgachah Revisited (Part 3)

12/30/2021
This evening (12/31/21), in our Thursday night hashkafah shiur (which is usually not recorded), we continued our multi-part series on the Rambam's shitah about hashgachah, using David Guttman's essay "Divine Providence - Goals, Hopes, and Fears, כי כל דרכיו משפט" as our guide. Tonight we focused on the difficult and abstract concepts of matter and form. First I gave my own overview, which showcased the presentation given by Leon Kass in his book, "The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting...

Duration:00:55:29

Vicarious Merit in the Framework of the Rambam's Ikkarim

12/26/2021
In this morning's (12/26/21) YBT Sunday Shiur we examine four common expressions that are used in reference to the deceased: (1) "aliyah / l'iluyi nishmas" - may the soul have an elevation, (2) "zechus" - in merit of, (3) "zichrono li'vracha" - may their memory be for a blessing, (4) "karapah" - may this be an atonement for the deceased. As the title indicates, the scope of this shiur was limited to the framework of the Rambam's ikkarim (fundamental principles of Torah) for reasons which are...

Duration:01:49:08

What is YOUR Relationship to the Beis Midrash? (Avos 5:14) Part 2

12/24/2021
This morning (12/24/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we continued on the topic we began last week on the four ways that people relate to the Beis Midrash. After reviewing the two approaches we learned last time (Rashi and Rambam) we learned two more: the Meiri's explanation which focused on learning and Rabbeinu Yonah's interpretation which focused on doing mitzvos. We then attempted to analyze the "machlokess" between these four different views. As predicted, this mishnah...

Duration:01:15:32

Shemos: Lessons from Mosaic Intervention

12/22/2021
Tonight (12/22/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we set out to glean as many insights as we could from the three episodes recounted about Moshe Rabbeinu before the burning bush - all of which had to do with his intervention for the sake of justice and righteousness. We anchored our approach in the Abravanel, but ventured into other meforshim as well. The topic proved to be so rich that we didn't even get through half of the sources! I don't know whether we'll continue next week,...

Duration:01:16:56

What is YOUR Relationship to the Beis Midrash? (Avos 5:14) Part 1

12/17/2021
This morning (12/27/21), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we took up the mishnah in Pirkei Avos chapter 5 about the four categories of relating to the Beis Midrash (and yes, that phrasing was intentionally vague). We brought a few personal agendas to the table, which we acknowledged at the beginning of shiur. Our plan was to learn through several meforshim and see what insights we can come up with, and we ended up covering two approaches today, leaving two more for next time (God...

Duration:01:10:32

Rambam's Shitah on Hashgachah Revisited (Part 2)

12/16/2021
This evening (12/16/21), in our Thursday night hashkafah shiur (which is usually not recorded), we continued our multi-part series on the Rambam's shitah about hashgachah, using David Guttman's essay "Divine Providence - Goals, Hopes, and Fears, כי כל דרכיו משפט" as our guide. After reviewing the view of the Atomists and Aristotle, we read through the summaries of the other two false views: that of the Asharites and the Mutazilites. We took a brief detour to discuss the modern day Jewish...

Duration:00:57:56

Vayechi: Yaakov Avinu Was Mummified ... But Did He Die?

12/15/2021
Tonight (12/15/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we set out to understand the four pesukim (Bereishis 49:33 - 50:3) which describe the death and mummification of Yaakov Avinu. After learning a few approaches to the basic pshat and a nice little philosophical interpretation from Rav Hirsch, we moved to the famous midrash: "Yaakov Avinu didn't die." We explored a few different approaches but focused on that of the Abravanel, raising a number of methodology points along the...

Duration:01:09:27

Rambam's Shitah on Hashgachah Revisited (Part 1)

12/9/2021
This evening (12/9/21), in our Thursday night hashkafah shiur (which is usually not recorded), we began a multi-part series on the Rambam's shitah about hashgachah, as presented in the Moreh ha'Nevuchim Chelek 3. I have recently come to the realization that I'm due to reexamine the Rambam's view of hashgachah - mostly due to the evolution of my own views of hashgachah, which are a result of my learning and teaching of Tehillim and Tefilah over the past 15 months. I know of no better...

Duration:00:55:19

Vayigash: Yaakov's Brief and Bizarre Conversation with Paroh

12/8/2021
Tonight (12/8/21), in our aptly named "Chumash Exploration," we set out to explore the extraordinarily weird conversation between Yaakov and Paroh which spans five pesukim (Bereishis 47:7-10). Our main difficulty was aptly expressed by the Radak: "I don't know why this account was written." We learned three types of commentaries: pshat, midrash, and philosophical. We may not have answered all the questions we raised, but we encountered a lot of interesting ideas and methodology insights...

Duration:01:18:30

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