Machshavah Lab

Machshavah Lab

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.


March 17, 2023 5 min

Length: 4 minutes 30 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote on 3/17/23, entitled: Pikudei: The Meaning of the Mirror Donation. I only had enough space in this article to convey a simple idea. For an elaboration on the ideas here, check out the 3/17/23 shiur I gave (on YouTube or my Machshavah Lab podcast) with the same title.

If you enjoy these 1-page articles (and my other written co...

Mark as Played

Length: 1 hour 19 minutes
Synopsis: This morning (3/17/23), in our Machshavah Lab series for women, we tackled a topic that I've been working on for my article this Friday: the women's donation of the bronze mirrors to make the laver and its base in the Mishkan. We examined two approaches - that of Rashi and R' Avraham ben ha'Rambam - and discussed their differences and the implications. I wasn't sure w...

Mark as Played

Length: 46 minutes
Synopsis: This might be the best Q&A of the year. At the very least, it was the most practical. This morning (3/17/23), in our Friday Q&A, we took up a single VERY multi-faceted question (at least seven parts!) about how to deal with a situation (in the past, present, and future) where you're with a group of friends who engage in prohibited speech (whether rechilus, lashon ha'ra, motzi shem ...

Mark as Played

Length: 1 hour 34 minutes
Synopsis: This evening (3/16/23), in our Thursday Night Pirkei Avos shiur, we learned a mishnah in Pirkei Avos which was much more oriented towards the practical than many other mishnayos we've learned. Part of what made this so practical is that it discussed behaviors that many of us engage in, such as sleeping in, hanging out with amei ha'aretz, and using TikTok (!). We learned through the ...

Mark as Played
March 13, 2023 11 min

Length: 10 minutes 43 seconds
Synopsis: This is the eulogy I delivered at the funeral of my Popo (grandmother), Helen Chang (10/5/1924 - 2/2/2023) on 3/13/23 in Honolulu, HI.

Click here for the video of my eulogy, and click here for the transcript. Be sure to check out the beautiful eulogy given by my brother, Jonny, by clicking here.

Mark as Played

Length: 4 minutes 47 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote on 3/10/23, entitled: Ki Tisa: Is Shabbos a Day of Simchah? If so, why isn't it presented this way in the Torah and in halacha? And if not, then why are there so many references to Shabbos joy in the songs we sing on Shabbos?
If you enjoy these 1-page articles (and my other written content), be sure to subscribe (for f...

Mark as Played

This morning (3/10/23), in lieu of our Friday Q&A, we continued working on the Gemara we started on Wednesday. We reviewed what we covered last time, read and elucidated a summary of an idea from the Nefesh ha'Chayim, and then attempted to figure out the machlokess of the pesukim (if there IS a machlokess). While we didn't arrive at any conclusions, we did take some significant steps, and gained some insight along the...

Mark as Played

This morning (3/8/23), in lieu of a morning Mishlei shiur, we set out to answer a question posed by one of my talmidim to our Rosh ha'Yeshiva at the Purim seudah last night: How does one become a chacham? We identified three sources which talk about Step #1, and we decided to work on the most problematic one: "Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu only gives chochmah to those who [already] have chochmah" (Berachos 55a). The quest...

Mark as Played

Length: 8 minutes 5 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 2-page article I wrote on Megilas Esther, entitled: Megilas Esther: How Esther Stayed Religious. This article, which I cranked out over Taanis Esther and Purim day, offers insight into Esther's character via a set of bizarre midrashim about her observance of hilchos niddah with Achashveirosh.

If you enjoy these 1-page articles (and my other wri...

Mark as Played

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
Synopsis: This morning (3/3/23), in our Machshavah Lab series for women, I presented an idea I happened upon in Purim 5780 (March 2020) but didn't finish developing. R' Yosef ibn Kaspi asks: How can the Torah wage a war of vengeance against Amalek when revenge is a reprehensible trait and is prohibited by the Torah? His answer is shocking - so much so that even he doesn't feel comfortabl...

Mark as Played

Length: 56 minutes
Synopsis: Last night I gave a special Purim shiur to my women's group on my current (radical?) understanding of the mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. That shiur ended up being 1 hour and 46 minutes long. Because I know that time is valuable, I wanted to do my best to produce a shorter version, and that's what this is. The difference is that last night we first learned through all the relevant sources a...

Mark as Played

In lieu of tonight's (3/2/23) regularly scheduled Pirkei Avos shiur for women, I gave a special Purim shiur on a well-trodden topic. Each year I attempt to review ALL the halachic positions on Purim drunkenness, but only in the past couple of years have I formed my own view. In one sense, this is a synthesis of different ideas I've learned from various traditional sources. In another sense, it's a new approach inspir...

Mark as Played

Have you ever checked your phone while learning in a shiur, chavrusa, or even by yourself? This might seem innocuous, but Chazal teach us in Pirkei Avos that if you interrupt your learning to remark on the beauty of a tree or a field, then the Torah considers it as though you are "liable for your soul." This morning (2/26/23), I gave a YBT Sunday Shiur on that mishnah. After a brief methodological intro, we learned and di...

Mark as Played

Length: 5 minutes 34 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page (half-)article I wrote, entitled, Mishpatim: The Sanctuary-Altar Sanctuary (or Mizbeach as Refuge for Killers). No, this isn't Parashas Mishpatim, and no, this is NOT a complete dvar Torah. I've been working on this question for two weeks, and I decided to present it, even though I don't yet have the answers.

If you enjoy thes...

Mark as Played

Length: 1 hour 13 minutes
Synopsis: This morning (2/24/23), in our second Friday Q&A (this one for women), we took up five questions: (1) If the texts of Torah she'baal Peh "evolved" to suit the needs of the times, why can't this happen with the text of tefilah as well? (2) What advice do I have for how to insert personal requests in the amidah? (3a) When doing chesed, should we prioritize people we know...

Mark as Played

Length: 47 minutes
Synopsis: This morning (2/24/23), in our first Friday Q&A, we took up five questions: (1) Is there a halachic way to thank God for it being a nice day? (2a) Is God bound by human logic? (2b) How do we navigate discussions about God with people who hold false ideas about Him? (3) What do you do if you're confronted with two equally plausible sevaros? (4) How should a person balance inyanei d'yoma...

Mark as Played

This evening (2/23/23), in lieu of our regularly scheduled Thursday Night Pirkei Avos shiur, I gave a Chumash Exploration shiur on a topic I've been vexed by for the past two weeks: the obscure halacha stated in Parashas Mishpatim that the Mizbeach provides sanctuary for killers under specific conditions. I gave this shiur because I needed - and still need, as of this morning - help developing the insights I've encountere...

Mark as Played
February 17, 2023 77 min

In today's Friday morning "Machshavah Lab" shiur for women (2/17/23), I was asked to give a shiur on techiyas ha'meisim. Since I really don't know much about the topic and don't think I have much to offer by way of chidushim (new insights), I figured I'd just present everything I know - so I did! We raised other questions along the way, which I hope to be able to answer some day, and we ended with...

Mark as Played

Length: 49 minutes
Synopsis: This morning (1/6/22), in our Friday Q&A, we took up five questions: (1) What do we hold about the authorship of the "wisdom literature" in Tanach? (2) How do you know if you're using your time wisely? (3) Are food forests feasible? (4) What's the deal with matrilineal descent? (5) Why don't we focus on the Geonim as much as the Rishonim?
משלי ...

Mark as Played
February 17, 2023 5 min

Length: 4 minutes 22 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 1-page article I wrote, entitled, Mishpatim: Does Hashem Reward Good Dogs?  Rambam maintains that the notion of Divine reward and punishment for animals is a non-Jewish concept. What are we to do when we encounter statements of Chazal which talk about God rewarding animals?

If you enjoy these 1-page articles (and my other written content), be sure...

Mark as Played

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Crime Junkie

    If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.

    Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.


    It’s a lighthearted nightmare in here, weirdos! Morbid is a true crime, creepy history and all things spooky podcast hosted by an autopsy technician and a hairstylist. Join us for a heavy dose of research with a dash of comedy thrown in for flavor.


    New episodes come out every Monday for free, with 1-week early access when you join Amazon Music or 1-week early and ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers "SmartLess" with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. A nice surprise: in each episode of SmartLess, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two. What ensues is a genuinely improvised and authentic conversation filled with laughter and newfound knowledge to feed the SmartLess mind.

Advertise With Us

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


    © 2023 iHeartMedia, Inc.