Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Noach

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.

R' Frand began the vort by referencing Bereishis 10:11 in which the Torah states "Min HaAretz Ha Hee Yatza Ashur" -- from that land Ashur went forth. The pasuk states that Ashur built four cities, including the city of Nineveh.

R' Frand quoted the Medrash Rabbah which explains that Ashur went out from the plot against Hashem which was being raised by the people of Babel. Ashur stated to those who were planning their fight that he was not interested in waging war against G-d. To this Hashem stated, since you went out from them, I will reward you with four --the four cities that you will build.

R' Frand next quoted the Chizkuni, who cites a different Medrash which states that the Zchus of Ashur standing up against this plot was the reason that Nineveh merited having a Jewish prophet (Yonah) come and tell them to do teshuva.

More amazingly, the Yalkut Shimoni explains that the teshuva done by Nineveh included acts which we would term as Lifnim M'Shuras HaDin. On the third day of their teshuva, people began returning lost objects which by halacha did not require returning. If a stolen brick was built into the King's palace, they destroyed the palace, even though by halacha the law of Takanas HaMorish would only require the building's owner to pay for the stolen brick and not destroy his own home.

However, in the end, the people of Ashur attacked the Jewish people and were involved in the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. They were criticized for their actions in Tehillim which states "V'Gam Ashur Nilvah Imam". R' Frand quoted the Medrash on this pasuk in Tehillim which analogizes the people of Ashur to the regression of a bird, stating that yesterday you were a chick and today you are an egg. 

R' Frand quoted R' Leib Baktz (sp?) from Detroit who explained the Medrash as saying that they had regressed from doing heroic things and now what are you? You turned from people into inanimate objects. One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to regress and stop growing.

R' Frand remarked that as people get older its harder for them to keep growing. But even worse is to regress.

He also told a story of R' Chaim Ozer visiting the Chofetz Chaim when the Chofetz Chaim was advanced in age. R' Chaim Ozer remarked - look how much he has grown, I don't recognize him from last year. At this time, the Chofetz Chaim was advanced in age, not like a child who returns from being away at school. But this is what we are tasked with.

R' Frand told a second vort based on the end of Bereishis, where the Torah states in Bereishis 6:8 that Noach found "chen" in the eyes of Hashem. This means that Noach was not saved because of his righteousness, but because he found chen.

R' Frand quoted R' Elya Svei (sp?) who tied this into the story of Dina being violated by Shechem. How could this have happened? He quoted the Medrash Rabbah which states that it occurred because Yaakov put her in the box when he met Esav. But that does not explain why she was punished! The Chassam Sofer learns that this had to do with her missing out on the beracha of chen. When Yaakov was asked by Esav who are these people, Yaakov responds in Bereishis 33:5 that they are the children "asher chanan Elokim es avdecha". The Chassam Sofer explains that Dina was vulnerable because she lacked the beracha of chen, while Noach had it.

We see this one other time in Bereishis as when Yosef is thrown in the dungeon, the Torah writes in Bereishis 39:21 that Hashem was with Yosef when he was in prison and Hashem gave him chen in the eyes of the prison warden.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Boulevard 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat



This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Boulevard 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat.

This beer is a hybrid in that it combines the phenols of a wheat beer with the hoppiness of a pale ale. The beer poured a warm orange with lots of foam which lasted longer than I expected. There was also a perfect level of carbonation. The first sip was strong cloves from the wheat beer, but successive pours melted in some pine and citrus. 

The experts at BA call this an American Pale Wheat Ale and even though they have more than 3,100 beers in this category, they are mostly summer brews with flavorings and additives. However, this beer's unique taste is not derived from flavorings and I would recommend trying this unique brew if you can find a bottle.

Boulevard 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Kansas City, but the bottle I purchased did not have the certification mark on the label. However, it can be found on the list of kosher certified beers on the Vaad of KC website (http://vaadkc.org/blog).

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/423/65113.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

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).

Important Disclaimer - 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!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale



This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at another of the New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger series, the Atomic Pumpkin Ale.

The Voodoo Ranger series is New Belgium's new extra hoppy line of beers which was introduced in late 2016. I have previously reviewed the IPA (click here for the review http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/02/sunday-night-suds-new-belgium-voodoo.html) but found many other varieties at the Binny's in Lincolnwood, Illinois.

Simply put, the Atomic Pumpkin is unlike any other pumpkin ale you have ever tried. The beer is flavored with cinnamon, pumpkin and habanero chilies. It also has a 6.4% abv which is high for a fruit influence beer. The result is a beer which starts out sweet and then kicks you in the throat with the spicy aftertaste from the chilies. This is not for the faint of the heart or people who can't tolerate maror. But if you do like things which are both sweet and spicy, this is definitely worth trying.

I am unaware of whether this is available in the NYC area, as I only saw it in the mix your own six pack section of Binny's. I bought the only two they had out (the shelf with the seasonal beers had a marker for the Atomic Pumpkin, but was sold out).

The New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale is under kosher supervision by the Scroll-K/Va'ad of Denver, but 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 The Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin Ale, click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/277641.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

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).

Please Note - 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.

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!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday's Thoughts on Teshuva - The Rabbi Frand Teshuva Derasha 5778 - Part II

The following is a continuation of my summary of some of the thoughts said by Rabbi Frand in his teshuva derasha recorded at a Just One Life event in Brooklyn on Tuesday. (The first part can be found here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/09/thursdays-thoughts-on-teshuva-rabbi.html). Same rules as usual apply. I have attempted to summarize many of the thoughts to the best of my abilities. Any inconsistencies are the results of my transcription and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand next asked --how does one's making sacrifices in the name of someone else's trouble, cause mercy from Hashem? And, how can we become more empathetic?

R' Frand answered the first question by stating that if the person knows that you are suffering with him and feel for him, then he knows that he is not alone. Because the worst thing for a person is to think that he is abandoned. When Hashem gave the Satan permission to bring troubles to Job, He told him that you can't kill him. So how did he make sure that the troubles did not kill Job? By making sure that he had three friends who were there for Job to consult and commiserate with.

R' Frand related that he had met two women suffering from the same disease and with the same troubles. One was upbeat because she had friends and support from her community, even though it dd not solve her medical or other non-financial issues. And the other woman was despondent, because she felt that no one cared about her troubles.

R' Frand then asked, but if the person does not know that you are effected, how does it help? The people in the concentration camps did not know that the Rebbetzin was not having sugar in her tea! R' Frand answered that it works on a different level. The pasuk in Ha'azinu (Devarim 32:4) states that Hashem's punishment and methods are perfect. The who is suffering receives no more than he should get. But now the balance is being upset. He is supposed to suffer, not the other people. This is why a person goes to a Rebbi, because he really feels for that person and suffers with them. And then Hashem kivayachol says --he's not supposed to be feeling that too.

R' Frand told a story about a friend of his who met the Spinker Rebbi years ago in the mountains. He told the Rebbi that his mother was very sick and he asked the Rebbi to daven for his mother. The following year he wound up back in the mountains and came across the Rebbi. Before he could open his mouth, the Rebbi asked him --how is your mother. This man was not a chassid, and surely the Rebbi saw countless people who asked him to daven for them. This is a tzaddik and Hashem says that is not what I wanted. And when an entire community does this, Hashem says that is not what I wanted.

R' Frand then addressed his second question by analyzing Moshe. At the time that Moshe was named the leader of the Jews he had a very sparse resume. All that we knew about him was that he took action to protect a Jew being beaten by an Egyptian, that he went out and saw the Jews' troubles and that he intervened to save Yisro's daughters when they were under attack. So how did Moshe become this person?

R' Frand quoted R' Chaim Shmuelevitz who explained that Moshe's power was that he saw their troubles. He looked in their faces and saw how they were suffering. R' Frand said that you need to look at what people are enduring and you need to listen to their problems. You may not have advice for them, but its important to be an ear to listen and (my words) a shoulder to cry on.

R' Frand quoted the Alter M'Kelem who explains that one needs the Koach HaTziur - he needs to be able to imagine what the person feels like. To be at a seder where a childless couple sits and listens to other people's children ask the Mah Nishtanah, without children of their own. Once you imagine this you can get involved and be the shoulder or ear for them.

R' Frand then told a story which he termed "incredible" but he knew that it was true because the woman told it to him. Its a story about two men who met by chance and shared a car ride together and resulted in a great friendship. Both men were baalei teshuva and talmidei chachamim, both with the same dreaded disease. One of the men passed away and his wife did not know how she would support the family. She contacted organizations, but the money was not enough...until one day she got a call from the other man who said "consider me your brother, and a brother will always take care of a sister." The man continued - what are your biggest worries? She said that her husband had a personal debt of more than $30,000. He sent her the money. He then asked what else are you worried about? She said that the bank was threatening to repossess their home. He took care of this debt and told his own children that they needed to "tighten their belt." And then he liquidated his pension fund to pay off the entire mortgage. This was not a millionaire. Nor was he a man who she had ever met. He had simply shared a car ride with her husband by chance, but he felt a responsibility.

R' Frand remarked that this man obviously had a big heart. But it was his ability to imagine his wife with the same problem if he had died of cancer which drove him to care for "his sister." But while this might be a bridge too far for most, there is something you can do, just ask. If you know someone has a problem, just ask how you can help. Cancer is not contagious and neither is unemployment. And dont pass on an opportunity to ask just because you dont want to remind them. They are thinking about it all the time anyway, so show you care.

R' Frand told a story about a man who got up from shiva and came back to shul and no one said a word. They did not ask how he was doing, they just continued their conversations.

R' Frand also spoke about R' Meir Zlotowitz ztl. People came afterwards to pay shiva calls, even though they did not know him, just as an appreciation for Art Scroll. A certain person came to pay a shiva call and was crying. He explained that 15 years ago he stopped putting on tefillin because he was angry at Hashem because his grandfather died. But when he would bump into R' Zlotowitz, he would ask how he was doing. Do you want to talk? And this was whenever they bumped into each other. The man said that Sunday morning he started putting on tefillin because of R' Zlotowitz, because he would ask, how are you doing. R' Zlotowitz was a busy man, known worldwide and certainly powerful. Everyone has an Art Scroll sefer. But he was not too busy or powerful or famous to ask a regular guy on the street how he was doing.

R' Frand spoke about the 13 middos which we said every morning of selichos. The gemara relates that Hashem told Moshe not to say the 13 middos, but "yasku" --do the 13 middos. We may not be able to liquidated our accounts to help others, but if we show we care and ask about others, we will be acting like the 13 middos which Hashem says will bring forgiveness and mercy.


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!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Oats McGroats Stout


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at "Samuel Adams" Oats McGroats Stout.

I used the quotes around the Samuel Adams because this beer, along with four other varieties, are part of the Samuel Adams "Brewing the American Dream" line in which they partnered with other breweries as a mentor, in order to help them develop and distribute product. The beers include collaborations with five breweries: Three Ninety Bock (made with Roc Brewing Co.); Desert Kaleidoscope IPA (made with Bosque Brewing); Time Hop Porter (made with ChuckAlek Independent Brewers); Tea Party Saison (made with Woods Beer Co.) and Oats McGoats Stout, which was partnered with Brewery Rickoli. (For a great article on the mentor program, click here http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/drink/beer/ct-sam-adams-beer-mentor-program-20170717-story.html).

The beer poured a dark black, darker than even a Guinness Stout. The first pour released an aroma of dark coffee and the sip was not disappointing. But this beer is more than just a stout as there are chocolate notes and even a bit of spice. The beer was not as thick as I was expecting, but that just allowed me to appreciate it with Mrs KB's sliders as the beer was not a meal in and of itself.

The Samuel Adams Oats McGroats Stout is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the bottle. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/279348.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

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).

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, September 28, 2017

Thursday's Thoughts on Teshuva - The Rabbi Frand Teshuva Derasha 5778: Part I

The following is a summary of some of the thoughts said by Rabbi Frand in his teshuva derasha recorded at a Just One Life event in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Same rules as usual apply. I have attempted to summarize many of the thoughts to the best of my abilities. Any inconsistencies are the results of my transcription and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand remarked that the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is like the gavel which starts a court proceeding and the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur it is the gavel at the end of the court case. We must make our case during those ten days as the line in the U'Nisaneh Tokef of who will live and who will die is not an overstatement. And no one can win this judgment on his own merits, as we know that our actions do not alone justify a positive verdict. Instead we ask Hashem for mercy.

But how do we get mercy? What is done to merit mercy? The gemara in Shabbos teaches that anyone who shows mercy to others, Hashem will show mercy --as He is merciful, you should be merciful. People come to R' Leb Schteinman (sp?) and ask --how can I convince Hashem to show me mercy? He says --be merciful to others.

At the end of Selichos every day we say a prayer called "Machnisei Rachamim" which sounds like a request for others to bring our prayers before the Merciful One. Who are the bringers? Some explain that it refers to angels, but we are not supposed to pray to angels. The Chofetz Chaim explains that it refers to the poor and unfortunate. We ask that those who we have helped, should bring our tefilos before the ultimate Merciful One.

R' Frand then began to develop the shiur as a message that if one is merciful to others, he can earn a bounty of mercy from Shamayim.

R' Frand's first example were the biblical characters - Dasan & Aviram. These men made Moshe's life miserable on many occasions. They ratted him out when he killed the Egyptian. They challenged him after Pharaoh made the Jews work harder. They tested Moshe's warning not to leave over the Manna until the following day. They joined Korach in his revolt, even though they could not even get the Kehunah.

R' Frand added another example in the name of the Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel. After the Jews left Egypt in the beginning of Beshalach, the Torah writes that Pharaoh said to "Bnei Yisrael." But the Jews had already left. Who was he talking to? The Targum explains that it was Dasan & Aviram.

So how did they get out of Egypt and not die in the plague of darkness? The Maharal Diskin explains that they were the kapos in Egypt. And when the taskmasters beat them because the Jews did not fullfil their quota, they suffered and did not take it out on the other Jews. When they complained to Moshe about the stink after the work got harder, they were talking about their own festering sores from being beaten.

And it was in the merit of their taking the beating on behalf of their fellow Jews, that these men merited life and being part of the travels in the desert. How did they get out of Egypt if they did not leave with the rest of the Jews? The Maharal Diskin and the Be'er Mayim Chayim explain that they had their own personal kriyas yam suf. There is even a suggestion of this in a pasuk in the Az Yashir. The pasuk states that Ki Va Sus Pharaoh --when Pharaoh's horses were entering the sea and Hashem made the sea come crashing down on them and the Jews were walking on dry land. The pasuk appears to be out of order. The Jews first walked on dry land and then Pharaoh entered and then the sea came down! The Maharal Diskin and the Be'er Mayim Chayim explain that after the Egyptians were swallowed up by the sea, then Dasan & Aviram came through on dry land in their own krias yam suf. The pasuk cannot be referring to the rest of the Jews, since they were already long gone. It is Dasan & Aviram who got these special miracles because they had empathy for their fellow Jews.

Why is this middah what causes a person to be saved? Because this is the middah that Hashem uses when he reveals himself to Moshe. He appears in a bush and not a high tree according to Rashi. Because He wants them to know that he is with them in their troubles.

R' Frand said that a person does not need to jump into the Hudson River or a burning building to show empathy or sympathy. He just needs to show people who are going through troubles that he cares.

When there was a fire in the city of Brisk that destroyed half of the city, R' Chaim slept on a bench in shul. Why? Because if half the city was homeless, he was not going to sleep in his bed. Rebbetzin Kotler would not put sugar in her tea during the entire WWII because Jews were suffering in Europe.

R' Frand told a story about R' Shach who during the first Gulf War slept with his head partway off the bed so that he would be woken constantly when he moved. His students told him that he needed his sleep and asked why he was doing this. He responded that American boys came to him before the war and asked whether they should go back to the USA. He told them no, they should stay and learn and the learning will keep them safe. But in America, their parents were not sleeping well. And if those parents were not sleeping well, then neither would he.

R' Frand told a story about the Tolner Rebbi who was walking home once late at night and saw a boy who was wandering aimlessly. He asked the boy why, and the boy said that mashgiach in his yeshiva had thrown him out. The Rebbi settled him in and gave him a bed...and then went out to find the mashgiach. He knocked and knocked until the mashgiach came down in his pajamas and bathrobe. The Rebbi said to him --you are sleeping in your pajamas? You may need to throw a boy out of the yeshiva, but how can you sleep comfortably in pajamas in your own bed? You should be sleeping in your own clothes in a chair.

R' Frand said that you don't need to be a gadol to show you care. He made reference to all the chessed being done over the last month for the people of Houston and Florida. People said tehillim, gave money, sent food and supplies and gave up their time to fly down and tear out wet carpet and dry wall to help out those who were suffering. [Ed note --I know two incredible kids from my neighborhood who recently lost their mother in a tragedy, but less than five weeks later they flew down to Houston to help in this recovery process. Its a testament to their level of rachamim and chessed].

R' Frand told the story of R' Leibowitz of the Houston Kollel which is situated in a part of Houston which was not flooded. That neighborhood was serving 2,000 meals a day to the people who were flooded. The OU raised $1.2 million for Houston in a matter of weeks. And when South Florida was hit, the Jews of Atlanta took in 1,000 families. R' Frand remarked that the Jewish Community in Atlanta is a nice sized community, but its not Brooklyn. And yet they took in all these families and gave them floors to sleep five or six people.

R' Frand supposed that Hashem must be looking down from Shamayim and saying "look at My children."

R' Frand then told a story about a Jew who walked into a shul in Jerusalem and he sees Jews saying tehillim with fervor. He asked what happened? Was there a terrorist attack? He was answered that they are saying Tehillim because there is a tsunami in Texas. The man said, I don't know what a tsunami is and I don't know Texas, but if there is a Jew in trouble I need to pray for him.

There was much more to the shiur and I will iyh try to finish the summary in a Motzei Yom Kippur post.

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