The Tefilah Podcast

The Tefilah Podcast

My name is Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss, and this is the hub for all of my shiurim (classes) on Tefilah (Prayer) and related topics, such as Tehilim (Psalms) and Berachos (Blessings)! The shiurim I upload here are given in a variety of formats with different lengths and intended for different audiences. The common theme which unites all of these shiurim is our focus on strengthening our relationship with Hashem through Avodah she'ba'Lev (Service of the Heart). If you have any questions feel free to email me at rabbischneeweiss at gmail. Thanks for listening!

Episodes

May 12, 2022 58 min

This evening (5/12/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we continued and concluded our analysis of Tehilim 120, thanks to the Meiri! Not only did we understand the main idea of the perek and how all the pesukim contribute to that idea, but we also emerged with practical insights into how to use THIS tefilah, and how to enhance our OTHER tefilos by using David's strategy here. We concluded with an initial reading of Tehilim 121, wh...

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This evening (5/10/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we began the first of the 15 Shir ha'Maalos! We immediately noted the differences in style and substance compared to the other perakim we've learned, but that didn't stop us from diving in. We made it through the translation, the Targum, and half the Meiri before we had to stop for the night. Next time we'll finish the Meiri and then try to understand the main ide...

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May 6, 2022 81 min

This morning (5/6/22), in our "Machshavah Lab" series for women, we went over three insights I recently had into birkas ha'zman (i.e. shehecheyanu). The first is a basic but beautiful pshat from the Kuzari. The second is an insight I had over Pesach into the unique role played by the shehecheyanu we say at the end of kiddush at the seder. The third is an answer given by the Rav to the question: Why don't we say sheh...

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This evening (5/3/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we took one more pass at trying to understand our perek - this time, with the help of the Radak. The first half of the perek was going strong, but then we lost the track. Thankfully, at the very end of the shiur, we managed to find a really nice practical insight into tefilah. We might not have succeeded in understanding the main idea of the perek, but at least we got a solid take...

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This evening (4/28/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we attempted to understand the major idea and import of Tehilim 28, and I believe we did just that! We developed our own theory, drawing on a number of points made by the Malbim, and arrived at a consensus on what the perek is about and how we can use it to improve our own tefilos. Next time (בג"ה) we'll learn the Radak, who takes what appears to be a completely different...

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This evening (4/26/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we began learning Tehilim 28. I'm sure you're all familiar with Tehilim 28 ... just kidding. How many of us have even READ Tehilim 28? THAT's why I want to learn it. We've spent so much time this year on Tehilim that we regularly say, and I wanted to try a perek we never say. Sometimes, exposing one's mind to new material is all it takes to jumpstart a new app...

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This evening (4/5/22), in our tefilah shiur, we were going to continue our analysis of Avos 2:13. However, I recently stumbled upon an eye-opening explanation from the Aruch ha'Shulchan for the (dearly beloved) practice of not saying tachanun for the entirety of Nisan, and I felt like I HAD to give shiur on it. I then realized that since "tachanunim" is one of the subjects of our mishnah, perhaps we could accomplish bot...

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This evening (3/29/22), in our tefilah shiur, we continued our analysis of the mishnah in Avos we began last week. After reviewing the facts and questions, we focused on the first clause: "be careful in krias shema." We developed three approaches: one based on Rabbeinu Yonah, who learns this as a reference to saying Krias Shema at haneitz, another based on the Abravanel, who learns this as an explanation of how krias shema ...

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March 22, 2022 47 min

This evening (3/22/22), in our tefilah shiur, we began learning one of the few mishnayos in Pirkei Avos about tefilah. Specifically, how NOT to daven and how to daven, among other things. As usual, we began by raising all the questions and problems we could find. We then read through the Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary, and although we didn't have time to analyze all of it or answer all our questions, we did emerge with a clear...

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This evening (3/15/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, our goal was to "land the plane" - that is, to wrap up this iteration of our learning of Ashrei. We're doing this because several of our regulars will be out for the next couple of weeks and that seems like a good opportunity to start something new. Did we succeed? Kind of. We didn't end up resolving the outstanding difficulties we had in Ashrei itself, but we did...

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Tonight (3/10/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we continued developing our understanding of Ashrei with the commentary of the Radak. On Tuesday we began learning the cluster of pesukim which includes "poseach es yadecha." Things were going well until the very end, when we encountered a VERY metaphysically disturbing Radak (at least, according to the Rambam, which is shocking given how "Maimonidean" the Radak typica...

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This evening (3/8/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we continued developing our understanding of Ashrei with the commentary of the Radak. This week we began learning the cluster of pesukim which includes פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכׇל חַי רָצוֹן. We developed some nice insights, but we got absolutely SLAMMED by a controversial shitah the Radak at the very end of shiur, which we'll pick up (with trepidation) next time (...

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This evening (3/8/22), before we started our Tehilim shiur, we took 5 minutes to learn through a single paragraph from a responsum of the Rambam on the topic of reciting berachos and pesukei d'zimra quickly. Spoiler alert: if you'll take offense to being told that your tefilah has the halachic status of a parrot (דין בתפילתו דין התוכי) then don't listen to this Rambam!
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מקורות:
איגרות הרמב"ם (שילת) - תשובה בע...

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Tonight (3/3/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, we began by going over everything we covered on Tuesday but with greater depth and clarity. In doing so, we came up with new ideas and new approaches AND it seems that we've opened a path for understanding the second half of Ashrei in a manner that flows smoothly from the first half. If you missed last week, don't listen to it. Listen to this one instead.
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מקורות:
רד...

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Tonight (3/1/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur, since we only had one attendee, we decided to attempt to cover ground. We learned a whopping FOUR pesukim - first, attempting to interpret them on our own, then reading the Radak, and then checking out some other meforshim. We aimed to keep this more on the "bekius" side because we wanted to wait until our usual crowd was there to work on the ideas. That's the plan for next...

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Tonight (2/24/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur we continued our pasuk-by-pasuk analysis of Ashrei. We set out to review what we did last time, and ended up diving even deeper into those same three pesukim with the Radak! After a few new observations at the beginning, we reread the Radak, then took a detour to review the Ralbag's take on the middos Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu which are mentioned in 145:8. We then started to look up ...

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Last night (2/22/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur we continued our pasuk-by-pasuk analysis of Ashrei. After reviewing the ideas from last Thursday (how Ashrei gets you Olam ha'Ba) and last Tuesday (the flow of pesukim 1-7), we continued in the Radak's commentary, taking a detour to the three Gemaras (with Rashi and Tosafos) which discuss the middah of "erech apayim." We got most of the facts, and we'll attempt t...

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Tonight (2/17/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur we paused our analysis of Ashrei with the Radak to learn the Gemara which states that a person who says Ashrei three times a day is assured a prime spot in Olam ha'Ba. We initially intended to just raise the questions and leave the answers for next week, but we were zocheh to answer all our questions and explain the entire Gemara tonight!
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מקורות:
ברכות דף ד עמוד ב עם פירוש...

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Tonight (2/15/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur we continued our analysis of Ashrei with the aid of the Radak's commentary. We began with a methodology point about how to approach texts like this, which the chachamim acknowledge are deeper or more important than most. We then reviewed pesukim 1-7 to refine some of our previous ideas, note some new ones, and to grasp the flow and unity of the section. We concluded by going over t...

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Tonight (2/10/21) in our Tehilim/Tefilah shiur we continued our analysis of Ashrei with the aid of the Radak's commentary. Our shiur was shorter than usual (since we discussed a methodology point beforehand, which I've uploaded as a separate recording), we only got through five pesukim, but the Radak certainly delivered - even if his approach would make the Malbim roll over in his grave!
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מקורות:
רד"ק - תהלים קמה...

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