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Machshavah Lab

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Machshavah Lab

Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss

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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 div ...
 
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Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I cranked out a few hours before Yom ha'Kippurim, entitled, Yom ha’Kippurim 5783: Musings on Erev Yom ha’Kippurim Anxiety. Perhaps this shouldn't have been written as a 1-page article. My hope is that I wrote it in such a manner that it will yield truth and insight regardless of what your pr…
 
In today's Friday morning "Machshavah Lab" shiur for women (9/30/22) we took up a very basic question. I can PRETTY much guarantee that if I ask you, "What is Neilah?" the answer you give will be incorrect. There are some basic facts about Neilah of which most people are unaware. In today's shiur we examined Neilah in light of those facts, and in s…
 
This morning (9/30/22), in our Friday Q&A, we covered a number of questions relevant to the Aseres Ymei Teshuvah, including: (1) How does the judgment on Rosh ha'Shanah and Yom ha'Kippurim work? (2) Why do we stand when the Aron ha'Kodesh is open? (3) How can we live up to the seemingly impossible ideal of making use of every moment we have? (4) Ho…
 
B'himatzo - Finding Hashem Through Prayer - Sep 28, 2022 - B'himatzo - Finding Hashem Through Prayer :: Presented by OU Torah :: Excerpts from Rebbe - For the full discussion, visit: https://outorah.org/tefillah or https://youtu.be/1GkJW9fMDdU :: Q1: How do we connect to the themes of the machzor while personalizing the experience for ourselves in …
 
This evening (9/29/22), in our Thursday Night Pirkei Avos shiur, we took up a mishnah in Chapter 4 in hopes that it would help us to up our mitzvah and teshuvah game for the Aseres Ymei Teshuvah. We examined two approaches: an original approach inspired by the Rambam, and an attempt at understanding Rabbeinu Bachya's approach which was ALSO inspire…
 
Earlier this year I gave a three-part shiur (in my Machshavah Lab series for women) on a mishnah in Pirkei Avos about how Hashem judges the world. The question that sparked the shiur was: What is this doing HERE? Avos is a practical masechta about ethics - not metaphysics! Thankfully, we found a commentator who translates these seemingly metaphysic…
 
Nitzavim: Is Teshuvah/Torah REALLY That Easy? In today's Friday morning "Machshavah Lab" shiur for women (9/23/22) we focused on a question that bothers me every year. Devarim 30:11-14 describes how easy and accessible "ha'mitzvah" is. There's a machlokess Rishonim whether "ha'mitzvah" here refers specifically to teshuvah, or whether it's talking a…
 
Inyanei Elul: Understanding the Selichos, from the First Elul until Today - Sep 20, 2022 - Halacha, hashkafa and history in the first inyanei de-yoma shiur of the season for the Wrubel Beis Midrash Katan (BMK) at MTA. Ends with 5 questions for thought about Rosh Hashana.بقلم Cohen, Rabbi Tanchum
 
Aleinu: A Rosh Hashanah Prayer that Migrated - Sep 13, 2022 - YU Library Book Talk: Who authored the Aleinu prayer? Was it Yehoshua or a later period? What was its origin? Rosh Hashanah service? Or borrowed? When did it become part of the daily liturgy? And why?بقلم First, Mitchel
 
In today's Friday morning "Machshavah Lab" shiur for women (9/16/22) we focused on the twelve transgressors which are singled out and "cursed" by Hashem. Our goal was to understand (1) what these twelve categories of transgressions have in common, and (2) what makes them more "curse-worthy" than others. With Hashem's help, we were able to answer th…
 
This morning (9/16/22), in our Friday Q&A, we covered four topics: (1) Are the blessings described in Ki Savo (and elsewhere) natural, hashgachic, or both? (2) If God has no emotions, and we are commanded to emulate His actions, should our actions also be emotionless? (3) What makes a question a superior or inferior question? and (4) What's the dea…
 
This evening (9/15/22), in our Thursday Night Pirkei Avos shiur, we began by reviewing the facts and questions from last time. After hearing some more approaches from the participants, we learned four commentaries: Rambam, Bartenura, and Rabbeinu Bachya - who all shared an approach - and Sforno, who unlocked our understanding of the main idea, answ…
 
I am pleased to announce that this year I'm going to record my Q&A sessions! This morning (9/9/22), in our Friday Q&A, we covered three broad topics: (1) exploring the implications of Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Paquda's proofs of God's Oneness, (2) how emotions can interfere with perfection, and (3) what do we think of Emily Dickinson's condemnation of th…
 
The first shiur of this year's "Machshavah Lab" series for women was a unique one, in which I attempted to convey the biggest insight from my philosophical-anthropological journey to the Crow Reservation in Montana in August 2022. The crux of this insight derived from two sources: (1) my conversation with a Crow Elder, and (2) a commentary from Rav…
 
Torah of HaRav Amital: Selichot: Why Did Hashem Appear as a Shliach Tzibbur? The Glory and the Kindness; Hashem Davens With Us - Sep 9, 2022 -بقلم Taragin, Rabbi Moshe
 
This evening (9/8/22), in our first Thursday Night Pirkei Avos shiur of the year, we began with an overview of Pirkei Avos to set the stage. We then read and translated Akavya ben Mahalalel's method of avoiding transgression, raised a bunch of questions and problems, and took a few tentative steps towards answering them. Next time (בג"ה) we'll lear…
 
Memento Mori Musings on the First Day of Yeshiva (Koheles 7:1-2) (א) טוֹב שֵׁם מִשֶּׁמֶן טוֹב וְיוֹם הַמָּוֶת מִיּוֹם הִוָּלְדוֹ. (ב) טוֹב לָלֶכֶת אֶל בֵּית אֵבֶל מִלֶּכֶת אֶל בֵּית מִשְׁתֶּה בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא סוֹף כׇּל הָאָדָם וְהַחַי יִתֵּן אֶל לִבּוֹ. This morning (9/6/22) we kicked off our inaugural Mishlei shiur of year with Koheles. I shared som…
 
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 4-page article I wrote, entitled, Rav Hirsch on Bad Biographies, in which I compare Lawrence Kaplan's critique of Hillel Goldberg's Between Berlin and Slobodka to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's critique of Heinrich Graetz's History of the Jews, concluding with the question of whether I should continue readi…
 
Note: This is the first time I've livestreamed a shiur on Facebook AND the first time I've had to strip the audio from a Facebook livestream using an audio extractor. If you notice any problems in the video or audio, please bring them to my attention! This morning (8/7/22), at The Island Synagogue (a.k.a. Shevet Achim) on Mercer Island, I gave my a…
 
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote, entitled, Is it Permissible to Enjoy Learning on Tishah b’Av? I rarely write my articles about halacha, but after stating in an earlier article that Tishah b'Av used to be "the most enjoyable day of every summer," on account of the learning we'd do with Rabbi Moskowitz zt"l, I felt …
 
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote, entitled, How to Make Kinnos Real, which showcases two applications of my continually evolving approach to kinnos. The Series: Part 1: The Induction of Metaphysical Trauma Part 2: The Necessity of Metaphysical Trauma for National Teshuvah Part 3: An Approach to the Blasphemy in Eich…
 
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote, entitled, Wishful Thinking and Prophetic Interpretation, in which we examine a machlokess between Ibn Kaspi and Rashi on how to learn Neviim and its ramifications for those who attempt to uncover the true meanings of their prophecies today. ---------- The Torah content for these two…
 
Synopsis: In lieu of a 1-page article, here is the audio version of the book review I wrote on Faith Shattered and Restored: Judaism in the Postmodern Age, by R' Shagar. I don't usually post my book reviews on my blog or record them as podcasts, but I felt like I had to make an exception here, for reasons which I explain in the preface to what is e…
 
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote, entitled Masei: How to Read the Travels of Bnei Yisrael, in which we learn the Rambam's answer to the question, "Why does the Torah 'waste' so many pesukim by listing all 42 encampments of Bnei Yisrael in the Wilderness?" and discuss its implications for how we read this perek. ----…
 
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