A Yeshiva in Your Pocket

Certainly one of the downsides of being a Jew in the military is being stationed in the middle of nowhere. We often find ourselves far from the Jewish infrastructure that Jews in large cities enjoy. And when we deploy…fuggetaboutit. Because of this, observing mitzvot can be a

significant challenge, but no matter where we are we can at least study Torah, and as we know, “the study of Torah is equal to them all, because it leads to them all.”

But how should we study? Just reading the weekly parsha is a start, but it’s hard to really learn without some kind of experienced guide.

Jewish chaplains are perfect for this role, but unfortunately most of us don’t have access to one on a regular basis.

Nothing can fully replace a rabbi (or other Talmudic scholar) when it comes to Torah study, but I’ve found something that comes awfully close. I have recently discovered the wonders and joys of the Jewish podcast!

If you have no idea what a podcast is, see this site. In a nutshell, it is a technology that “grabs” online audio programs for offline listening. Think of it as Tivo for radio. All you really need is internet access and the free iTunes. With an MP3 player, you can take this audio anywhere. Perfect for those extended trips to the field.

The good news is that there is a plethora of podcasts out there focused on Torah study and Jewish subjects. I’ve sorted through plenty of them and provide you with a list of what I think is the best out there.


If you have software that supports podcasts you can click on any of the links to directly subscribe.


  • Pardes From Jerusalem – A weekly podcast from the Pardes Institute that discusses the weekly Torah portion. This is my personal favorite Torah Study podcast. It is in-depth enough to make it interesting and thought provoking, but not so deep that I’m lost in the details. I also like that it comes out early enough in the week so that you are not “cramming” before Shabbos. Rabbi Schweiger is lively enough to keep my attention for the entire discussion. I highly recommend it! (subscribe)
  • Rabbi Weinreb on Parsha – A weekly parsha podcast from OU Radio. This is another good parsha podcast. It is usually much shorter than the Pardes podcast and therefore focuses on one aspect of the portion. For those looking for a quick injection of Torah, this podcast is perfect for you. (subscribe)
  • Take Five for Torah – As the name implies, this is a brief d’var delivered daily. The subjects aren’t necessarily related to the weekly portion and can range from basic topics to more advanced ideas. The podcasts seem to consist of phoned in messages from rabbis all over the U.S. and Canada. (subscribe)
  • Chabad.org Daily Torah Study – For those of you looking for more advanced study, the Chabad podcast is for you. There are actually three broadcasts per day included with this podcast: Daily Tanya, Mitzvah, and Rambam. The discussion is quite a bit more “in the weeds” than the other two. The ones I understand I find very interesting, but I have to admit that there are some that are way over my head. It is certainly worth trying out. (subscribe)
  • The Shmuz – A very animated discussion by Rabbi Shafier. You’ll need to register (free) on the website in order to download the podcasts. There are discussions on a wide variety of Jewish topics. It is from a strict Orthodox perspective, so not all topics may appeal to everyone. I usually enjoy the discussions, but every now and then there is one that I just can’t associate with. Rabbi Shafier is a great speaker and is very passionate about the discussion topics.
  • RabbiPod – A weekly discussion of the Torah portion by Rabbi Garfinkel of Temple Beth El in Sommerset, NJ. Rabbi Garfinkel is a savvy podcaster who recites the same D’var Torah that he delivers to his congregation each week. It’s often an entertaining and relatively brief take on the week’s portion. (subscribe)

Other Jewish Podcasts

  • Nextbook – A fantastic podcast about Jewish literature and culture. Topics vary significantly, but the host usually interviews a Jewish author about a Jewish subject or recent book. The podcast is very well done and there are often some very interesting subjects. This is another one of my favorites. (subscribe)
  • Podast for Personal Growth – A weekly podcast from Aish.com, led by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin. Rabbi Pliskin talks about methods that will help you lead a happier and more meaningful life based on Jewish principles. It may sound cliche, but he actually has some useful and interesting advice. I’m a big fan of simple yet profound wisdom and I think this podcast often delivers. (subscribe)
  • Rabbi Brian’s Religion Outside The Box – Outside the box is a good description for this one. It is a bit of a new-age, spiritual look at questions about God and life. Rabbi Brian doesn’t invoke halacha too often, but he does have some useful advice from time to time. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary or just a break from some heavy Torah discussion, give it a try. (subscribe)

Podcasting has become somewhat addicting for me. I listen to them in the car on the way to work or on my iPod when working around the house. Once I find ones that I like, I really look forward to new episodes. Let me know if there are any Jewish podcasts that you like to listen to. Leave a comment below with a link to your favorite ones.