Jewish History Uncensored

Jewish History Uncensored

Rabbi Arnie Wittenstein is a well known Torah scholar, Tanach expert, and Historian. He has lectured in the Mir Yeshiva, Torat Shraga, and many Shuls internationally. These podcasts integrate his broad knowledge of many different facets of Torah and History. Join in weekly to gain accurate and in depth knowledge of some of the most important and controversial topics in Jewish History. For tours, speaking engagements, or sponsorships contact us at Jewishhistoryuncensored@gmail.com

Episodes

June 23, 2022 43 min

In this episode we take a deeper look at the issue of Spinoza’s Jewish identity. Spinoza claimed not to be Jewish. What can we learn about this issue from his reaction to the Shabtai Tzvi story? We also look at how Spinoza reacted to the accusations of atheism.  How did he react to this? What can we learn from his reaction?

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In this episode we start by reviewing the basic outline of Spinoza’s life until this point. We look at his stay in Rijnsburg and his relationship with DeVries. We also look at Spinoza’s next step, his move to Voorsburg. We also look at how his colleagues viewed his statement that he didn’t consider himself to be Jewish. 

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June 9, 2022 50 min

In this episode we look at one of the most important historical events, the printing of Shas.  When were the first volumes of Shas printed? Where were they printed? How long did it take for the entirety of Shas to be printed? Why did it take so long for the entirety of Shas to be printed? When did the text of Shas become standardized? How do we relate to the different textual variations of Shas? 

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In this episode we look at how to relate the Torah’s understanding of abortion to the current debate in American society about abortion. Is it possible to say that Torah is pro choice? What can we learn about the basic fabric of contemporary society from the way these events are unfolding? 

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May 26, 2022 42 min

In this episode we take a deeper look at why there is a deeper challenge of focus in contemporary society. Why does contemporary society generally ignore any discussion of ultimate human accomplishment. What are the main factors in gaining human accomplishment? How deeply has contemporary society been affected in this issue? Similarly, we also discuss why it is important to specifically study Spinoza and his historical legacy. 

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 In this episode we look at the ultimate philosophical quest, understanding what is man and what is ultimate human accomplishment. How did the classic Philosophers understand this? Did Descartes and Spinoza’s revolutionary changes to Philosophy change this issue? What do contemporary thinkers say about this topic? How does the Torah deal with this issue?

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In this episode we take a deeper look at the proper context of Cartesian Philosophy. We also examine why Enlightenment Philosophers were so challenged by determining reality. How have things changed today? What is the Torah perspective on these issues? 

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May 5, 2022 51 min

In this episode we look at the most critical contextual factor in understanding Spinoza’s legacy. There is broad consensus that modern philosophy starts with Rene Descartes. What were Descartes' key ideas that completely changed the world of thought? Why was there so much opposition to Descartes? What part does Spinoza play in these epochal changes?

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April 28, 2022 64 min

 In this episode we look at some of the keys lessons of the Holocaust. Why should we remember the Holocaust? Is remembering the Holocaust a way to prevent a future tragedy? Was the Holocaust the greatest tragedy in Jewish History? Is there something that makes the Holocaust a unique crime? 

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The War of Gog and Magog is a topic that most people, even those with solid Torah knowledge are confused about. Who is Gog? Who or what is Magog? Why are people so confused about Gog and Magog? Does the Russian Ukrainian war that is happening have anything to do with it? How do we understand the statements attributed to the Vilna Gaon about Russia? 

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In this episode we look at how to practically implement the lessons of Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s legendary knowledge into our lives. What practical steps can we take that will get us on the way to knowing all of Torah. We also look at the legendary stories surrounding R Chaim Kanievsky זצ"ל. How do we understand them? What can we learn from them?

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In this episode we look at Rav Chaim זצ״ל  and his broad appeal to all segments of Jewry in Israel. What was special about R Chaim? Why were so many parts of the Jewish World able to appreciate the loss? When was the last time this happened? 

Nach Yomi: Join R' Wittenstein’s Nach Yomi on WhatsApp. We learn a perek a day five days a week, with a nine minute shiur covering the key issues.

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 In this episode we look at the deeper significance of the changes in how our world looks at Philosophy. How much effort does the educated world out into Philosophy? What can we learn from this? What does this tell us about mankind in a general way. We also look at Spinoza’s major step after leaving the Jewish community learning Latin. Why was it necessary for him to learn Latin? 

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March 23, 2022 48 min

In this episode we look at what was motivating Spinoza to his major life decision. We also examine the difference between how the term philosophy was understood in Spinoza’s times and how it is understood today?  What was the original meaning of the term?  When was the distinction made between philosophy and science? We also examine what Spinoza did after he was ejected from the Jewish community. 

  The episode starts with a short ...

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In this episode we look at why Spinoza’s philosophy affected the Western world so deeply. We examine the fundamental differences between the way Judaism and Christianity respond to questions. And similarly we will examine the deep fundamental differences between the way Judaism and Christianity see their interaction with general culture. How long has Judaism considered it’s basic tenets to have been debated? 

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In this episode we look at the Russian Ukrainian crisis. Why are we so shocked by this event? How much of an anomaly is it historically? What important lessons can we learn from this conflict? How does this fit in with the general pattern of man’s behavior in this world? 

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In this episode, we look more carefully at some of the key evidence the Beis Din had about Spinoza. What can we learn from the type of evidence about the details of the Cherem? Were the statements attributed to Spinoza ones that one would say casually?

We also start looking at the intellectual background of the times, and where Spinoza’s ideas originated from. 

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February 24, 2022 51 min

In this episode we closely look at the details of the Cherem that the Amsterdam community put on Baruch Spinoza. What is the halachic definition of a Cherem? What part of the Cherem process does shofar blowing play? Are curses an integral part of the Cherem process? What made the Spinoza Cherem more serious? Is it possible that cups of blood were used in the Spinoza Cherem?

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  In this episode we look at humanity’s search for perfection and how this expresses itself in the world. Where does this very deep human drive come from? What are we supposed to do with this deep human drive? What key tools do we need to use to properly focus this basic drive?

   We also look at chumras. What is a chumra? How does one accurately translate chumra into English? When should one integrate a chumra into one’s Avodas Ha...

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In this episode we look at how Spinoza’s level of Jewish education effected his ability to properly understand Chazal. We take a look at the different levels of Emunas Chachamim. We start looking at the cherem that the community of Amsterdam put on Spinoza. How common was it for the community to issue a cherem? What was different about the cherem that they issued against Spinoza? Nach Yomi: Join R' Wittenstein’s Nach Yomi on Wh...

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