The Torah and Teachings of Rabbi Joel Padowitz

What’s the backstory here?

My name is Rabbi Joel Padowitz and I’ve been giving a daily Mishna class in Ramat Beit Shemesh since Oct. 2009. We recently celebrated completing the whole Mishna. Yes, that’s all 6 Orders, 63 Tractates, 525 Chapters, and 4192 individual Mishnayos (but who’s counting?!) We started again in Feb. 2018 with the loose objective of completing it again in 5 years. The “expanded” recordings are recorded in this class. I teach some of my older children the same material again in the evening and those recordings become the “concise” version.

Can you tell me a bit more about the shiur and its approach?

Our primary objective is to get basic clarity of the principals being conveyed in each Mishna and seeing the forest, not just the trees. Since we can’t compromise on this objective, no promises about the 5 year-goal, but yes promises about my best-efforts to present each Mishna as clearly as I am able. I take a “less-is-more” approach, typically paying strict allegiance to the explanation of Rabbi Ovadia m’Bartenura (c. 1445 – 1515) (“The Bartenura” for short, “the Rav” for even shorter.) I do my very best to translate every word of the Mishna text and endeavor to say everything in English (also). I make no assumptions about the listeners’ background or knowledge, so everything is explained quite comprehensively.

Who is the rabbi?

My name is Joel Padowitz and I have been involved in adult Jewish education for twenty years. Currently I teach at Beis Tefillah Yonah Avraham, my shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, where I give daily classes in Mishna & Gemara. Previously I served as rabbi for the Aish HaTorah young professional community in London. When I am not learning or teaching, I serve as CEO of a boutique investment bank in New York and steal away to mountain bike whenever I can. I learned at Aish HaTorah (Jerusalem), Sha’ar HaTorah (Queens, NY), and Rav Yitzchak Berkovits’s Jerusalem Kollel, where I got my Semicha, I have also learned for many years under and with Rav Chaim Z. Malinowitz. I studied psychology & economics as an undergraduate at Harvard, but am a few credits shy of graduating, I received my MBA from Bar Ilan University, and also hold the CFA designation.

Until further notice, the teaching of these Mishnayos will be dedicated לעילוי נשמת שמריהו בן יצחק