The Stoic Jew

The Stoic Jew

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss. I am, first and foremost, an Orthodox Jew. I am also a student of the Stoic masters: Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius. This podcast is dedicated to exploring the relationship between Judaism and Stoicism - where they overlap, where they differ, and how they complement each other. I also use this podcast to think out loud about how to apply the principles of Judaism and Stoicism to my own life, with all its ups and downs.


April 14, 2024 21 mins

Length: 21 minutes
Synopsis: And The Stoic Jew Podcast is BACK! Or is it? Well, it's back for at least this episode, in which I reflect on 1000 days of gratitude and muse on the relationship between my gratitude accountability practice and the mitzvah of recounting the Exodus from Egypt. Whether this marks the return of regular TSJ episodes is up to my listeners!

Related Episodes About Gratitude:
- 7/8/21: The...

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Length: 22 minutes
Synopsis: And we're back! By "we" I mean The Stoic Jew Podcast AND my insomnia! :D I've been up since 3:35am this morning, and I decided to make a podcast episode about my latest Stoic Jew take on my situation, based on the words of Marcus Aurelius and Koheles (Ecclesiastes), as explained by Ralbag (Gersonides).

Related Episodes about Insomnia:
- Blaming My Insomnia on Satan
- A Cu...

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Length: 34 minutes 10 seconds
Synopsis: What will you do or say in your last moments, when (God willing) you are on your deathbed? In this episode I reflect on the final words of U.S. presidents, the death poems of Zen monks and Japanese haiku poets, the statements and attitudes of the Sages of the Talmud about the particular circumstances in which we die, the final moments of the Jews massacred on October 7th (may Hashem aveng...

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Length: 8 minutes 11 seconds
Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 2.5-page article I published on on 11/17/23, entitled: God of Time or Dog Eating Its Own Vomit?  I wrote this in lieu of a parashah article because I needed to write it for myself. If I don't write for myself, who will write for me? And if not now, when? (parashah article can be found at the end)
The Torah c...

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Length: 29 minutes 47 seconds
Synopsis: In today's unscripted "Stoic self-talk workshop" episode, I reflect aloud on a mistake I caught myself making, in which I fell victim to the "God fantasy" of living life as though I were outside of time.

Related Content:
- for my most recent shiur on the phrase "b'Shem Hashem El Olam," here's Part 1 and here's Part 2; I gave ...

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Length: 18 minutes 28 seconds
Synopsis: My morning reading of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, combined with my review of the Rambam's Hilchos Teshuvah and my reading of the most recent issue of The Imperfectionist (by Oliver Burkeman, author of my current favorite non-fiction book: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals), led me to a more effective way to approach the Aseres Ymei Teshuvah than in years past. ...

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Length: 16 minutes 9 seconds
Synopsis: This morning I read a passage in Meditations which answered a question I've had about the formulation of vidui (confession) for many years. This answer is similar to answer I happened to reread from the Rav (Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik) this morning. In this episode I compare and contrast these two answers, which complement each other quite nicely.

- Marcus ...

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Length: 29 minutes 44 seconds
Synopsis: Seven days ago I made an episode about my thoughts and feelings about starting this new teaching job. In this episode I talk how four Stoic principles from Epictetus helped me to have the best first week imaginable.

Related Content:
- 8/28/23: Stoic Jew Thoughts on the First Day at a New School
- 8/23/23: Two MAJOR Professional/Life Updates for the 2023-2024 Academic Year...

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Length: 9 minutes 25 seconds
Synopsis: I recorded this while sitting in the parking lot before entering my new school on Day 1 in the few minutes before school started. I wanted to preserve my thoughts and feelings in a manner untainted by hindsight. (If you missed the life update, check out the previous episode.)

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2:1; 4:8
- Rambam, Mishneh Torah: Sefer ha'Mada, Hilc...

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Length of audio: 47 minutes
Synopsis: Have you been what I'll be up to this coming year?  Have you heard me allude to a MAJOR update that I said I'd announce about my professional life in the near future? Are you aware of one of these updates, but not the other? Well, if none of this interests you, then by all means, feel free to skip this. But if you are at all curious about my exciting plans for 2023-2024, then here...

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August 16, 2023 13 mins

Length: 13 minutes 43 seconds
Synopsis: I used to think there was something ... illicit (?) about my fusion of Judaism and Stoicism - at least, from the perspective of "Orthodox Stoicism." However, I recently learned that what I'm doing isn't too different from what Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius did with their Roman Stoicism. I'm just doing in the name of Judea! 

- Willia...

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August 14, 2023 12 mins

Length: 12 minutes 20 seconds
Synopsis: I accidentally invented a new form of meditation this morning, which I call "taking a gratitude bath." I subsequently realized that I already "take a gratitude shower" every day when I say the morning blessings. I could have waited until I tweaked this technique and compiled sources to support it, but in the spirit of my breaking-through-podcaster's-block, I decid...

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Length: 22 minutes 45 seconds
Synopsis: This week, the historic city of Lahaina (Maui, Hawaii) was utterly destroyed by wildfires. As of the time of this recording, 36 people are dead, and hundreds of buildings have burned to the ground. (Update: the death toll is now at 53.) Upon reading this tragic news, my mind immediately went to the burning of Lyons and the burning of Yerushalayim. This episode, which includes a lengthy re...

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Length: 14 minutes 55 seconds
Synopsis: Thank God, I've been sick for the past five days. In this episode I recount three lessons I have been reminded of and implemented during this time. As per my new/old plan: I recorded this primarily for myself, but if you gained from it, feel free to let me know! 

Related Rabbi Schneeweiss Content:
- 8/9/23: Two Years (Plus) of Gratitude, 300 (Plus) Episodes, and Smashi...

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Length: 18 minutes 13 seconds
Synopsis: After battling the resistance (and losing) all summer, I finally broke through and recorded my 300th episode! Originally this was supposed to coincide with my "two years of gratitude" milestone (which I passed 27 days ago), but better late than never!  I address these topics and more in this stream-of-consciousness episode.

Related Content:
- 11/26/20: A Stoic Emper...

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I don't usually do this, but since my latest article on fits so perfectly into The Stoic Jew podcast, I decided to cross-post the audio version here. Speaking of which, I'm genuinely curious as to how many listeners of TSJ are even aware that I have a substack.

Synopsis: This is the audio version of the 4-page article I published on on 7/12/23, entitl...

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Length: 10 minutes 24 seconds
Synopsis: The aim of this short episode is to explain why I haven’t made an episode since before Pesach, but the REAL reason I’m making this episode is to help jumpstart my production of content for TSJ again. If you're interested in the secret episode, feel free to email me or reach out to me on WhatsApp. If you'd like to help me build my Instagram presence, check out https://www.instagr...

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Length: 23 minutes 35 seconds
Synopsis: In this episode we examine the practice of making a vow to Hashem at a time of distress - one of the major themes in Tehilim 116, which we recite in Hallel. We compare and contrast this to Seneca's views on gratitude (which align with Judaism) and his attitude towards vows (which does not). We focus on the real-world example of R' Sinai Adler, who made such a vow to Hashem at th...

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Length: 20 minutes 25 seconds
Synopsis: In this pre-Pesach episode I share an insight I had this year while learning the halachos of Pesach which resulted in a rush of gratitude which is appropriate to Pesach for a number of reasons. If only Marcus Aurelius knew what he was missing out on.

 - Aurelius, Meditations 4:49,8
 - Haggadah shel Pesach, Yachol me’Rosh Chodesh
 - Mesivta Haggadah, pp. 424-425

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Length: 29 minutes
Synopsis: I’ve recently been asked by several people about my current meditation practice and what I get out of it. I decided to make an episode in which I recap my history with meditation practices, review some of the key benefits of meditation according to Stoicism and Judaism, and conclude with a summary of my current relationship with meditation.

Related Content:
 - On Doing Nothing: Part 1, Part 2, Pa...

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