75 episodes

Helping you find meaning in life through the exploration of Jewish thought and ideas.

18Forty Podcast 18Forty

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 225 Ratings

Helping you find meaning in life through the exploration of Jewish thought and ideas.

    Samuel Lebens: The Line Between Rationality and Mysticism [Rationality 3/5]

    Samuel Lebens: The Line Between Rationality and Mysticism [Rationality 3/5]

    In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Samuel Lebens - philosophy professor and author - about the interaction of Judaism with analytic philosophy and mysticism.

    Samuel is an analytic philosopher, trained to analyze philosophical questions in a precise, almost mathematical framework. In his new book, The Principles of Judaism, he attempts to wed the foundations of Judaism to this framework, discussing the ways that one might formalize their Judaism on rational grounds.

    - How can one ground their Judaism in precise, rational terms?
    - How certain can one be of their Judaism?
    - What is the place of mysticism in a rational framework?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about Judaism and analytic philosophy.

    For more, visit https://18forty.org/rational/.

    References:
    The Principles of Judaism by Samuel Lebens https://www.amazon.com/Principles-Judaism-Studies-Analytic-Theology/dp/0198843259
    Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Ludwig-Wittgenstein/dp/0486404455/ref=pd_lpo_2?pd_rd_i=0486404455&psc=1
    The Nineteen Letters by Joseph Elias https://www.amazon.com/Nineteen-Letters-World-Rabbi-Hirsch/dp/0873066960
    Covenant and Conversation by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks https://www.amazon.com/Covenant-Conversation-Genesis-Book-Beginnings/dp/1592640206
    Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God by Jerry Walls, Trent Dougherty https://www.amazon.com/Two-Dozen-Arguments-God-Plantinga/dp/0190842229

    Samuel is an associate professor in the philosophy department at the University of Haifa, as well as a rabbi and Jewish educator. Samuel holds a PhD in philosophy from Birkbeck College (University of London), and his academic interests cover the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language. Samuel teaches at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. Samuel’s most recent book, of several, is The Principles of Judaism, a strikingly sharp analysis of the fundamentals of the Jewish religion. Samuel’s first book was a study of Bertrand Russell’s dynamic theories about the nature of meaning.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Shmuel Phillips: Reclaiming Judaism [Rationality 2/5]

    Shmuel Phillips: Reclaiming Judaism [Rationality 2/5]

    In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to author Shmuel Phillips about the upsides and downsides of approaching Judaism rationally.

    Shmuel grew up debating religion, always thinking about why he practiced Judaism as he did. While many people practice Judaism because it’s what they grew up with, Shmuel believes that people could give more grounding to their faith. To that end, he authored a book, Judaism Reclaimed, where he explores the modern issues of Judaism in a traditional Orthodox framework.

    - How can one reconcile the Torah with the morality and science of the modern day?
    - How much should rationality factor into one’s religious experience?
    - How can rationality and an experiential relationship with Hashem complement each other?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about Judaism in the modern day.

    For more, visit https://18forty.org/rational/.

    References:
    Forgive Us, Father-in-Law, For We Know Not What To Think by Rabbi Shalom Carmy
    https://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Father-Law-Know-Think/dp/9657324009
    My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman
    https://www.amazon.com/My-Bright-Abyss-Meditation-Believer/dp/0374534373
    Judaism Reclaimed: Philosophy and Theology in the Torah by Rabbi Shmuel Phillips
    https://www.amazon.com/Judaism-Reclaimed-Philosophy-Theology-Torah/dp/1946351784
    Ani Maamin by Joshua Berman
    https://www.amazon.com/Ani-Maamin-Criticism-Historical-Principles/dp/1592645380

    Shmuel is an author and Torah scholar based in Jerusalem. Shmuel holds a law degree, and spent two decades studying Torah in Yeshiva and Kollel. Over this time, he wrote an analysis of some of the greatest challenges and opportunities of traditional faith in the contemporary era, Judaism Reclaimed: Philosophy and Theology in the Torah.

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Anxiety and Rationality: A Personal Anonymous Account [Rationality 1/5]

    Anxiety and Rationality: A Personal Anonymous Account [Rationality 1/5]

    In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to an anonymous guest about the anxieties he experienced in a hyper rational approach to Judaism.

    Our anonymous identifies as a rationalist, or someone who likes to analyze the decisions in his life through a logical lens. He applied this to his Judaism. But as time went on, he began having doubts and questions and his life started to fall apart. Eventually he found a different approach to his Judaism that allowed him to moderate his rationality and live a more meaningful life.

    - What are the benefits and drawbacks of rationality?
    - What balance should one attempt to draw?
    - How can rationalists with doubts about Judaism moderate their mindset to have a more meaningful life?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about rationality and Judaism.

    For more, visit https://18forty.org/rational/.

    References:
    Why Is It so Hard to Be Rational? By Joshua Rothman https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/23/why-is-it-so-hard-to-be-rational
    The Secret of Our Success by Joseph Henrich https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Our-Success-Evolution-Domesticating/dp/0691166854

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The Books of Shabbos [Shabbos 3/3]

    The Books of Shabbos [Shabbos 3/3]

    In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk about two impactful books about Shabbos and their authors.

    Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa was a seminal work about the halachos of Shabbos in the modern day. The Sabbath was an ode to the beauty and spirituality of Shabbos. Together they give two complementary perspectives, the halachic and the spiritual, on our beloved Shabbos.

    - Why are Shemiras Shabbos K’Hilchasa and The Sabbath such important works?
    - What do they each tell us about Shabbos that the other doesn’t?
    - How do the perspectives they bring, that of halacha and that of spirituality, complement each other, and how are they similar?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about the books of Shabbos.

    References:
    Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth
    https://www.amazon.com/Shemirath-Shabbath-Set-Yehoshua-Neuwirth/dp/1583304940
    The Sabbath by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
    https://www.amazon.com/Sabbath-Classics-Abraham-Joshua-Heschel/dp/0374529752
    A Passion for Truth by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
    https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Jewish-Lights-Classic-Reprint/dp/1879045419
    Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
    https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Grandeur-Spiritual-Audacity-Essays/dp/0374524955
    Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism by Gershom Scholem
    https://www.amazon.com/Trends-Jewish-Mysticism-Gershom-Scholem/dp/0805210423
    The Earth is the Lord’s by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
    https://www.amazon.com/Earth-Lords-Eastern-Classic-Reprint/dp/1879045427
    Man is Not Alone by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
    https://www.amazon.com/Man-Not-Alone-Philosophy-Religion/dp/0374513287

    • 1 hr 26 min
    The Legacy of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

    The Legacy of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

    In this special episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Professor Jonathan Haidt about the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in honor of his yahrtzeit.

    Rabbi Sacks had a profound impact on the Jewish world, with his eloquent words giving a voice to many. He has spoken at length about how to construct a good and meaningful life using Judaism, as well as about morality, consumerism, spiritual truth, politics, and antisemitism.

    - What is the value of commitment to Judaism?
    - How can Judaism contribute to our morality?
    - How can Judaism contribute to our community?
    - How can one keep faith in Judaism in the modern world?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about the world of Rabbi Sacks.

    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl https://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl-ebook/dp/B009U9S6FI
    The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777
    The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt https://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Hypothesis-Finding-Modern-Ancient/dp/0465028020
    The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt https://www.amazon.com/Coddling-American-Mind-Intentions-Generation/dp/0735224897
    Religion and the Rise of Capitalism by Benjamin Friedman https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Rise-Capitalism-Benjamin-Friedman/dp/059331798X

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Judith Shulevitz: The World of Shabbos [Shabbos 2/3]

    Judith Shulevitz: The World of Shabbos [Shabbos 2/3]

    In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to author and journalist Judith Shulevitz about the world of Shabbos.

    Through The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Judith introduced the secular world to the concept of Shabbos. She explores the power of a day of rest and the communal aspect that elevates it.

    - Does a secular Shabbos of unplugging work?
    - What is so radical about observing Shabbos?
    - How important is community for one’s Shabbos practice?

    Tune in to hear a conversation about the world of Shabbos.

    For more, visit https://18forty.org/shabbos/.

    Judith is a journalist, editor, author, and critic. She is currently a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times. Judith’s book, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, is a deep exploration of our favorite day of rest, from its ancient origins until today. This book weaves together the story of a day but also the story of one person, with ideas and memories melting into each other. Judith joins us to talk about the complex beauty, and challenges, of Shabbos.

    • 1 hr 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
225 Ratings

225 Ratings

AryGur ,

Incredibly valuable

David Bashevkin is a dynamic host of a technically well-done podcast. The topics are wide-ranging and the guest selection is top-notch as well.

Carly Rickel ,

Deep, relatable, insightful

New ideas & fresh journeys into Jewish wisdom & heritage. I really am enjoying this incredibly interesting, original podcast.

DavidR Software ,

Amazing

Thoughtful, truthful, and inspiring

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