Rabbi Arnie Wittenstein public
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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
 
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show series
 
In this episode we address the recent comments of R' Moshe Weinberger about the Yeshiva curriculum and its effectiveness. Why did the Yeshivas choose this curriculum? What makes it effective? Is there a connection between Shas and Machahava and Chassidus? How does learning Shas affect a person’s core relationship with Avodas Hashem? Nach Yomi: Join…
 
In this episode we look at one of the first Rabbis of Amsterdam, Rabbi Shaul Mortera. Where did they go to find a Rabbi that would fit with their community? Is there any significance to his family background? We also look at the one of prime tools the community used to keep internal order, cherem. What is a cherem? Is it still used today? Is it acc…
 
In this episode we take a deeper look at the most important Historical accomplishment of the Mashgiach of Mir, R' Aharon Chadash. What critical role did R' Aharon Chadash play in the development of the Mir into the largest Yeshiva in the world? Are there any parallels between with this and the development of Lakewood into the largest Yeshiva in the…
 
In this episode we look at more of the details of the founding of the first synagogue in Amsterdam. We are able to learn from this story and from other basic features of the Jewish Community the specific mindset that they had. One of the customs of the Jewish Community in Amsterdam was to have three names. Why did they have this custom and what is …
 
In this episode we look at the founding of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam. How was it that Amsterdam specifically came to have such a major community ? We take a careful look at the two legends about the founding of the community. Which parts of these legends are clearly documented? Which part of these legends are probably legendary but not fact…
 
In this episode we look at the hidden century of the Crypto Jews. The vast majority of the Crypto Jews were from the Jews who went to Portugal and were forced to convert in 1497. The Portuguese Jewish communities weren’t founded until the late 1500’s. What happened to these unfortunate Jews in this hidden century? What records do we have of them in…
 
As is well documented, Spinoza was of Marrano, crypto Jewish background. In this episode we look at the Historical Background of the Marranos. How did this occur? We also discuss the tragic dilemma of the what to do with one’s children when in a shmad situation. What events in general Spanish History contributed to the expulsion of the Jews from Sp…
 
In this episode we look at the famed question: why study History? We also look at why most people find the study of History so challenging. We also examine the basic differences between History and Jewish History, and how this changes the reason to study History. We also look at one of the classic examples of how Torah connects with Jewish History.…
 
In this episode we look at the important issue of how to evaluate evidence. When should one accept a historical claim as true? We examine the topic by looking at the celebration of the Besht’s birthday on 18th of Elul. When did people start celebrating birthdays? Is there a difference between birthdays and Yahrzeits? We also look at the issue of ma…
 
0:30 Is there a difference in the issues of Emuna and Bitachon between Chassidus and Hisnagdus? 6:04 What is the difference between how Chassidus and Hisnagdus views optimum fulfillment of mitzvos? 16:10 How does this apply to saying Shema? 21:03 Does the machlokes between Chassidus and Hisnagdus parallel what is the prime focus of Judaism, intelle…
 
In this episode we look at some of the lessons we can learn from the Corona crisis of the last year and a half. We examine one of the most important Tanachic rules for understanding major events, ‘in the end of days you will be able to properly understand it’. We also examine the challenge governments have been facing in making proper rules for the…
 
In this episode we look at some of the practical differences between Chassidim and Misnagdim. How does affect the relationship between Torah and Tefila? What differences are there in a practical in this issue between Chassidim and Misnagdim? What attitude do we have to the occasions when one does a mitzva without proper intentions. Is this situatio…
 
In this episode we take a deeper look at the Ari’s approach to Haalas Nitzotzim. We also examine the difference between the Ari’s application of Haalas Nitzotzim and the Besht’s application of Haalas Nitzotzim. Why did the Vilna Gaon argue with the Besht and not with the Ari? How much of the Vilna Gaon’s argument with the Besht is in the theoretica…
 
Episode 52 - Tzimtzum - The Vilna Gaon’s approach In this episode we carefully look at the Vilna Gaon’s understanding of Tzimtzum. Does the Vilna Gaon in fact directly argue with those who hold Tzimtzum should not be understood literally? How does the Vilna Gaon understand the spiritual structure that gives our world the ability to exist? What exac…
 
In this episode we take a more in-depth look at Tzimtzum. We also see what stand Chassidus takes in the machlokes between R' Emanuel Chai Ricco and R' Yosef Irgus about the issue. We exploret the connection between how Chassidus understands Tzimtzum and the issue of Hoshgocha Pratis. We also take a practical look at how different contemporary group…
 
In this episode we start looking at what the Gaon meant when he accused the Chassidim of infringing on, ‘Kibud Av’. We also look at the basic issues surrounding the topic of Tzimtzum. We examine the basic concepts of Tzimtzum. We look at the machlokes between R' Emanuel Chai Ricco and R' Yosef Irgun if should we understand this issue in a literal w…
 
In this episode, we take a deeper look at one of the key issues that the Vilna Gaon argued with the Besht about, Haalas Nitzotzim, raising the sparks. Where in the Vilna Gaon’s letter does he refer to this concept? We also examine the source of this statement in the Ari’s writings. We also examine how the Vilna Gaon related to the Ari and the writi…
 
In this episode we take a closer look at the Vilna Gaon’s personal letter against Beshtian Chassidus. What exactly was the Vilna Gaon accusing the Chassidim of? How do we understand the Vilna Gaon’s accusation that the Chassidim were, ‘revealing an explanation in Torah against Halacha’? Does this have anything to do with the changes made to prayer?…
 
This week’s podcast is sponsored by Rabbi Ari Senter לעילוי נשמת his father הרב זכריה בן אורי In this episode we look at the importance of mourning on Tisha B’Av and the very deep challenge we have relating to Tisha B’Av. How should mourning on Tisha B’Av affect the Jewish year? How much deeper are we challenged by this ideal of mourning than peopl…
 
In this episode, we look at the critically important letter the Vilna Gaon wrote in 1796 that explains his opposition to the Besht’s ideas. Why did the Vilna Gaon write this letter? What is the difference between this letter and the bans of excommunication that the Vilna Gaon had already signed on? Nach Yomi: Join R' Wittenstein’s Nach Yomi on What…
 
In this episode we take a careful look at the two controversies around the Ramchal. What specifically caused each of them to happen? How did the Ramchal view the two controversies? Did the Ramchal consider the promises he made to be legally binding in each case? We also take another look at the Ramchal’s Maggid and how to understand it. Nach Yomi: …
 
In this episode we take a deeper look at the Ramchal’s youth and his first Rebbe R' Yitzchak Chaim Kantorini. We also look at the issue of the Tehillim of the Ramchal and its historical context. We look at the Ramchal’s guiding the Kabbalistic group, Mevakshai Hashem and his core principles of understanding the relationship between the Hidden and R…
 
In this episode we look at the Ramchal’s experiences after he moved to Amsterdam. This is where he printed his famous works, Mesilas Yesharim, Derech Hashem, and Daas Tevunos. How was he able to print these works? Why did he change his writing style? Where did the Ramchal live in Israel? Did he ever visit Jerusalem? Where is he buried? How did the …
 
In this episode we look at how R' Moshe Chagiz was successfully able to challenge the Ramchal and force him to stop publicly teaching and give up his early writings. We also look at the tumult in the Rabbinic world about the authenticity of the Zohar, and specifically R' Yehuda de Modena’s sefer, ‘Ari Noham’. We look at how the Ramchal got involved…
 
In this episode we look at how the Ramchal came to Reggio and the founding of the chabura Mevakshai Hashem. We also look at the Ramchal’s writings, when were they written, and how we have them today. We also discuss the style of the Ramchal’s writings. We look at the Ramchal’s Maggid, heavenly messenger. What is a maggid? How does it relate to Prop…
 
In this episode we look at the contemporary evidence about the location of the lost Ten Tribes. How much solid evidence is there? Is it possible that they are to be found in Western India? What can we learn from early modern interest in this issue? We start looking at the Ramchal’s life. Where was he born? Where did his family originate from? Who w…
 
In this episode we look at end of R' Imanuel Chai Ricco’s life and his tragic death. Why did people consider him as dying for Kiddush Hashem? We start looking at the issue of the Ten Tribes. What happened to them after they were exiled? What does it say in Tanach about them? What does it say in Shas about them? Is there other Midrashic information …
 
In this episode we look at the challenge of internalizing the authenticity of Torah in our challenging times. Is there a difference between how we see Tanach and it’s narrative and the other words of Chazal? What can we do in order to see the Torah as being the ultimate of substantial? Nach Yomi: Join R' Wittenstein’s Nach Yomi on WhatsApp. We lear…
 
In this episode we take a careful look at how R Emanuel Chai Ricco’s sefer, ‘Mishnas Chassidim’, gained very deep influence on the learning of Kabbala in the 1700’s. We look at the basic structure of the Kloiz of Brody and how this connects to the Mishnas Chassidim. We also look at one of the key ideas in one of R Emanuel Chai Ricco’s other sefarim…
 
In this episode we will look at the golden era of Italian Mekubalim in the 1700’s. We start by looking at the basic community structure in Italy. In terms of Historical Legacy, the relativity unknown R' Emanuel Chai Ricco is incredibly important. In this episode we look at his early life, how he came to become one of the most important Kabbalists o…
 
In this episode we look at R Levi Yitzchok’s Historical Legacy as the ultimate defender of the Jewish People. We examine some of the famous legends and stories that are said about him. We also start looking at the debates with the Misnagdim, and how R' Levi Yitzchok and R' Shmelke responded to the accusations. We also examine the issue of how to de…
 
This episode looks at R' Levi Yitzchok’s earlier Rabbinic positions in Ritiswall, Lobertov, and Pinsk. How much systematic opposition did R Levi Yitzchok face in these cities? What can we learn about the general phenomenon of hisnagdus from R' Levi Yitzchok’s experiences? What can we learn about R' Levi Yitzchok as a Rabbinical figure from these ev…
 
In this episode we look at the Yom Ha-Shoah and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Why did the Knesset establish Yom Ha-Shoah on the 27th of Nisan? Is this the best time to remember the Holocaust? Was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising historically justified? What was the Historical footprint of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? Did the Germans react to it? Did it make…
 
In this episode we look at the claim that R' Pinchas Horowitz wasn’t really a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch. Why do some attempt to say this? Is there anyway we can disprove this? We also look at the printing of his sefer on Chumash, Panim Yafos. We also look at why it R Pinchas Horowitz didn’t try to spread the teachings of the Maggid of Mezrit…
 
In this episode we look at the phenomenon of Disconnection. Human culture has been significantly destabilized for the last hundred years. One of the primary reasons for this is that there has been a cutting off from our Historical Roots. How does this affect us? What challenges does this create for us? What can we do to counteract this? Nach Yomi: …
 
In this episode we look at one of the most legendary stories in Jewish History, R' Pinchas Horowitz becoming the Rabbi of Frankfurt. Frankfurt was one of the most ancient and prestigious Jewish Communities in Europe. Was it an anomaly that R' Pinchas Horowitz, one of the primary Talmidim of the Maggid of Mezritch became the Rabbi there? ___________…
 
#29 - The Maggid and his Talmidim In this episode we look at the Maggid of Mezritch’s greatest accomplishment, attracting Talmidim. How did the Maggid attract Talmidim? What kind of Talmidim did he attract? Was there competition between the Maggid and the Gaon in this? Was there any difference in who the Maggid would accept as a Talmid and who the …
 
Episode 28 - The Maggid and the Besht In this episode we look at when the Maggid of Mezritch met the Besht. We also examine how the Besht convinced the Maggid to become his talmid. Did the Besht openly appoint the Maggid as his successor? Or did it take time for the Maggid to become recognized as the successor of the Besht? Did anyone contest the M…
 
This episode looks at which part the Holy Letter caused the storm to break out. We also look at the phenomenon of ascension of the soul. Is this the same as Prophecy? Can one consider the Besht a false prophet for making such claims? We also examine how the different parts of the Charedi world look at Mashiach. We start looking at the Maggid of Mez…
 
In this episode we look at the historical identification of Achashveirosh. This issue is deeply connected to the discrepancy between secular history and the Tanachic system regarding the dating of the Destruction of the First Beis Ha-Mikdash. Why is there such a discrepancy? What is each chronological system based on? How should that affect how we …
 
In this episode we look at the issue of Torah and Science. How do we deal with contradictions between them? Are we more challenged in this issue today than people were in the past? Is there a difference between challenges from the different scientific fields? How do we relate to different fields of knowledge? What can we do to relate to Torah as tr…
 
In this episode we take a close look at the Baal Shem’s Holy Letter. Why did the Baal Shem need assistance from his Rebbe to have such an experience? Why did he think that he saw a harbinger of his death? What message did the Moshiach give him? Is there full consensus how to understand the message of the Moshiach to the Baal Shem? How did this effe…
 
In this episode we look at the Cherem of 1781. What was the prime cause of the Cherem? Did the printing of the sefarim of R Yaacov Yosef of Polna have a significant part in causing the Cherem? Or was it due to the printing of the Besht’s Holy Letter? We also look at the phenomenon of indulgences, did this ever occur in Jewish History? We also take …
 
In this episode we look at the complexity of the Vilna Gaon’s practical attitude towards the Chassidim. Did the Vilna Gaon’s opposition to Beshtian Chassidus affect the way he would interact with them on a personal level? Are there any Torah precedents that apply to this situation? We also carefully examine the difference, at a communal level, betw…
 
In this episode we look at the effects of the Vilna and Brody Cheramim. Did these cheramim effectively split Eastern European Jewry into two conflicting camps? Or did it take longer for Eastern European Jewry to break into two conflicting camps. We closely examine the Chassidic Aliyah of 1772, and see how this sheds light on the issue. We also take…
 
In this episode we take a closer look at the statement that the Brody Cherem of 1772 was a product of the involvement of the Maskilim. We re-examine the statement that Yisroel of Zamosz was a Maskil. We also take a close look at the Beis Din’s scribe, R Aryeh Leib ben Mordechai. Is there any evidence that he was a Maskil, is there any evidence that…
 
In this episode we look at the contemporary theory that real opposition to Beshtian Chassidus only started in 1781. We start looking at the issue of what part the Maskilim played in the confrontation between Chassidim and Misnagdim. We look specifically at Yisroel of Zamosz. Was Yisroel of Zamosz an early Maskil? Was he one of the first opponents o…
 
In this episode we look at the Vilna Cherem of 1772. We look at the broader historical context. How much of a part did the Vilna Gaon play in this Cherem? Was the Vilna Gaon the main cause of the Cherem? Was there a connection between the Vilna community crisis and this Cherem? Were there other major causes for the Cherem? _________________________…
 
GAON #16 - The Vilna Communal Turmoil in the 1760’s The Jewish Community of Vilna in the times of the Vilna Gaon was in a state of extreme turmoil. In this episode we look at the basic details of the struggle between the last Rabbi of Vilna, Rabbi Shmuel ben Avigdor and the Kahal. What caused this conflict to start? What were they arguing about? Wh…
 
This episode is an appreciation of the Mashgiach of the Mir Yeshiva, R Aharon Chadash זצ״ל. I had the privilege of knowing the Mashgiach for over thirty years and interacting with him in many different ways. Rabbi Arnie Wittenstein is a well known Torah scholar, Tanach expert, and Historian. He has lectured in the Mir Yeshiva, Torat Shraga, and and…
 
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