Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

This week Rabbi Frand did not give his customary Thursday Night shiur and instead TCN carried a shiur by R' Shraga Neuberger who had an interesting view of the Ya'akov/Yitzchak interaction. The following is a brief summary of the vort. Same rules as usual apply -  I have attempted to reproduce the vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to the maggid shiur.

In Bereishis 27:19 the Torah recites the statement made by Ya'akov to Yitzchak wherein he says "Anoci, Esav Bechorecha" - this can be read as "it is I, Esav your bechor" or it can be read as "it is I Esav, your bechor." Rashi on the pasuk explains that Ya'akov adopts the former method and states to Yitzchak that Esav is the bechor.

R' Neuberger took issue with this explanation and the traditional approach taught to children that Ya'akov told the truth. Instead, he argued that Ya'akov did what was right by lying to Yitzchak. In fact, by taking the traditional approach, we are in effect saying to our children - it's OK to be sneaky and tell half truths, when in reality the lesson should be that it is sometimes permitted to lie.

R' Neuberger quoted the Maharam M'Pano who explains that Ya'akov committed an Aveirah L'Shma and Esav wanted to commit a Mitzva Shelo L'Shma and it is better to commit an Aveirah L'Shma, especially when his mother had told him that she had a prophecy that he should do this.

[R' Neuberger then said as an aside - tell your children that when their mother tells them that she had a nevuah its OK to lie, but only if she had the nevuah].

So what is the lesson from the language used by Ya'akov? That when you tell a lie, you stray from the truth as little as possible.

R' Neuberger brought a proof from a Rambam which interprets/applies a gemara in Bava Metzia. The gemara states that there are three things a person can lie about - the mesechta you are learning, whether you were with your wife the night before and to not publicize/praise a host over the quality of the food.

The Rambam applies the gemara and explains that if a person is asked which mesechta he is learning and he is learning Niddah he should say Mikva'os. 

R' Neuberger then asked - why do we need the Rambam to tell us which mesechta he should say that he is learning? He answered that the Rambam is teaching a lesson - if you say Bava Metzia instead of Niddah - there is no connection between the two. But if you are going to lie, you should make a switch as small as possible, and Mikva'os is much closer to Niddah than a mesechta in Nezikin.

Here Ya'akov had to lie - he was told by his mother to do so, based on the prophecy that she had received. But even when lying, it was the smallest possible lie which he told.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 23:2 the Torah writes that Avraham came L'spod - to eulogize Sarah. R' Frand quoted the sefer Meorei Ohr who noted that there are only two people in the Torah who had hespedim - Sarah and Yaa'kov. Although the Torah writes that the Jews cried after the death of others, including Aharon and Miriam, but only Sarah and Ya'akov are the subject of eulogies. But the obvious question is - why?

R' Frand prefaced the answer by quoting the gemara in Sanhedrin which asks whether a eulogy is for the dead or for the living? The gemara analyzes whether saying a eulogy serves to benefit the dead as an honor to their memories, or perhaps the eulogy is said to inspire others and reveal things about them which others did not know..

R' Frand did not reach the result of the gemara, but instead digressed to state a ma'amar chazal that the Aishes Chayil, although written in Mishlei, was actually the text of the hesped said by Avraham after Sarah died. He then stated that the reason why Avraham made a public hesped for Sarah was because she was so private (hine'i b'ohel) that no one knew her greatness, so he explained her deeds after her death.

R' Frand next told a story about R' Yerucham Levovitz who was in a city and heard that a woman had passed away and that people were worried that there would not be a minyan at the funeral. He decided that even though he did not know her, it would be almost like attending to a meis mitzvah and he decided that he would attend personally. However, when he arrived at the funeral he saw that it was filled with people, both from the city and from other towns. It was revealed that the woman had lived a life of doing chessed for others, but privately. In fact, each beneficiary thought that they were the only one for whom she did chessed. But in fact she had done chessed for many people in many different cities.

R' Levovitz later returned to the Mirrer Yeshiva and told the boys in a shmooze that it is the way of people not to hide their every day items. Your regular dishes and glasses are out in the open, but fine china and silver are locked in the breakfront and the gold is in the safe. This woman held her chessed as a valuable commodity, so she locked it away, out of sight of others.

This is why Avraham felt the need to be maspid Sarah. Everyone knew Avraham, everyone knew Yosef, and Moshe and Aharon were public and well known. But because of Sarah's great privacy and middah of tznius, Avraham had to let the world know what she was all about.

So why did Ya'akov merit a funeral? R' Frand quoted the answer given by the sefer, but then gave his own answer. The pasuk in Bereishis 50:10 states that they came to Goren Ha'Atad to eulogize him.   The gemara in Sotah teaches that the residents of Canaan came to the funeral and hung their crowns in a show of respect. This funeral was said for the living so that they could benefit from the words about Ya'akov. 

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Fat Tire and Friends Fat Pale Ale

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at another of the Fat Tire & Friends' offerings - Fat Pale Ale.

This summer New Belgium celebrated the 25th anniversary of Fat Tire by collaborating with other notable breweries and producing their ode to Fat Tire. The Fat Tire and Friends mix box contains five beers in addition to Fat Tire itself, including: Fat Funk Ale; Fat Hoppy Ale (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/09/sunday-night-suds-new-belgium-fat-hoppy.html); Fat Pale Ale; Fat Sour Apple Ale (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/08/sunday-night-suds-new-belgium-fat-sour.html) and Fat Wild Ale.While this would be exciting to most beer aficionados, it is even more exciting to the kosher beer consumer since all of these brews were produced at New Belgium and the 12 pack box even has the Scroll K (Va'ad of Denver) symbol on the bottom of the box.

The Fat Pale Ale was produced in collaboration with Rheingeist Brewery. It has a mix of citrus, with some lemon and coriander notes, but a fair amount of malts as well. The beer is a little high on the alcohol content (6% abv) but the flavor does not manifest in the brew. There was some pine, but did not taste like a traditional American Pale Ale.

I could see pairing this beer with saucy chicken or even grilled chicken dishes. If you had a good pairing experience, please post it in the comments below.

Please note that not every brew produced by New Belgium is under kosher supervision. For a list of the New Belgium brews currently under supervision, please click on the link on the left side of my home page for my latest Kosher Beer List.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about New Belgium Fat Pale Ale, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/217619. As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you are reading this post more than six months after it was written, please note that it is possible that the product is no longer still certified kosher. To verify that the product is still certified kosher, please click on the kosher beers list link on the top left corner of the blog.

Lastly, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera


The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 18:23-32, Avraham Avinu tried to save the city of Sodom by bargaining with Hashem. In so doing, he referred to himself in Bereishis 18:27 as Afar V'Afer. Rashi explains that Avraham means that he already should have been dust because he should have been ground down in battle of the kings and that he should have been ashes, because he had been thrown into the fiery furnace by Nimrod.

R' Frand quoted R' Avraham Bukspan's new sefer Parsha Pearls who explains that Avraham in 18:27 was saying that now I am Afar V'Afer, even though he clearly was not at the time. This is a lesson for recognizing and internalizing the good that was done for a person. A person can go though a life altering experience and when he survives, decides that he wants to take on a new level of observance. But as time goes by, he may see that start to peter out. R' Frand told the story of a man who made certain changes after he was saved from death when he was in a serious car accident. But as the year went by, he started to feel less enthusiastic about the changes. In order to internalize and keep the motivation in mind, a person needs to constantly remember the feeling that he had at the moment that he took on that special observance.

R' Frand gave a mashal of a man who lost his job and was unemployed for a period of time. The man came to need to rely on charitable organizations, but eventually found a job. He was overjoyed and so thankful that he had gainful employment. But after a number of months he became dissatisfied with the working conditions and began to express his displeasure. He no longer felt depressed about how his being unemployed. He had lost that since of gratitude of being employed after living with no source of income.

R' Frand quoted an old GM advertisement which stated - it is typically American to ask - what have you done for me lately. He also quoted Pete Rose who said - you are only as good as your last at bat.

This is not the Jewish way - there is a need for Hakaras HaTov, to recognize the good that was done for you. This is not to say that people should dwell on and continually be depressed over their prior situation. But, they do need to remember that they were in that situation and that they were cured or rescued from it. This is Avraham Avinu's reminder - I am Afar V'Afer.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Lech Lecha

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 12:10-20, the Torah tells the story of Avraham and Sarah venturing down to Egypt because of the famine. In Bereishis 12:13, Avraham tells Sarah to say that she is his sister "l'maan yitav li" - so that he may go well. Rashi explains that Avraham expected that he would receive gifts from the Egyptians if they thought that Sarah was his sister.

This request and the expectation of receiving material wealth is hard to understand, especially since later in the parsha, Avraham turns down the offer from the king of Sodom to split the spoils of war. In so doing, Avraham remarks that he does not want the king of Sodom to be able to say, I was the cause that Avraham became wealthy. So why does Avraham here put himself in the position to accept wealth and in fact, he does become wealthy as a result?

R' Frand began his answer with an introduction from the Medrash Tanchuma on Bereishis 13:3 which states "Vayelech L'Masa'av" - that Avraham proceeded on his journey. The Medrash explains that en route to Egypt, Avraham had made numerous stops and at each stop he borrowed money in order to pay for his necessities to live. Now, on the way back from Egypt, Avraham stopped in all of those places and repaid his benefactors for lending him the money.

R' Frand stated that this teaches a valuable lesson - when you borrow money, you need to pay it back. But there is another valuable lesson behind the scenes, to not be a tzaddik on someone else's dime. At a time that you owe other people money and someone is offering you a gift, you should not turn it down as a sign of piety.

R' Frand closed this vort with two stories - the first involved R' Dovid from Ner Israel, who when he came to America refused to eat meat because he had concerns about the shechita. But while he ate chicken, he allowed his wife and children to eat meat, because he did not need to be a tzaddik on their dine.

The second story involved a young married kollel man who came to R' Shach to complain that his Rosh Kollel wanted him to stop learning late into the night. As related by the Tolner Rebbi, R' Shach approached the Rosh Kollel and asked him why he had given this instruction. The Rosh Kollel responded that the young man had expressed to him that there was friction in the house because his wife had recently taken a job and she needed to get up early to make food for the children and get them ready for school and he was unable to help because he would learn too late at night to be able to get up early to help her.

Having learned the 'back story', R' Shach told the young man that his Rosh Kollel was absolutely correct. This young man had promised in the kesuva to support the wife, yet she was allowing him to learn while she went to work to support the family. Given how she needed help from him to get all of her tasks completed, it was not time for him to be a tzaddik on her dime and learn late into the night if it prevented him from getting up early to help her.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy.

While in Chicago over Sukkos over Sukkos I picked up the Leinenkugel Autumn Explorer Pack which features the Harvest Patch Shandy, India Pale Lager, Maple Dunkel and Octoberfest. As I had not tried most of these beers and there were numerous thirsty Cubs fans watching the playoffs (at the time it was the NLCS) I knew that I could easily share this and get other opinions of the brews.

I have to admit that when I commenced this exercise, the Harvest Patch Shandy was the beer which I felt that I was least likely to enjoy. But after Mrs KB and her sister in law Naomi L both expressed that this beer did not taste like a typical Shandy, I tried it and surprisingly found that I liked this brew.

The brew is all pumpkin and spice and frankly, very little beer. If you were take a pumpkin pie and puree it and pour it into a beer bottle for about fifteen minutes and then strain it to remove the pumpkin pulp, you would be able to create a reasonable facsimile of this beer. 

Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, and has an OU on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/710/129261

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Also, if you are reading this post more than six months after it was written, please note that it is possible that the product is no longer still certified kosher. To verify that the product is still certified kosher, please click on the kosher beers list link on the top left corner of the blog.

Lastly, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!