Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Balak

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 Bamidbar 22:28 Hashem allows Bilaam's donkey to speak and given this ability, the donkey asks Bilaam - why did you hit me three times. However, the word for times which the donkey uses is "regalim" instead of the more common "pa'amim." Rashi comments that the donkey is saying to Bilaam - how can you hope to curse the Jewish people who keep the mitzva of going up to the Beis Hamikdash three times a year.

R' Frand asked a rhetorical question - if you were to consider the mitzvos which the Jews accomplish and could be a great zchus for them, would you have included aliyah l'regel?

R' Frand next quoted a pasuk in Bamidbar 23:23 where Bilaam praises the Jews for not having sorcerers. Again, Rashi comments that the Jews are worthy of bracha because they dont have sorcerers. This raises two questions; (1) didn't you just say they are praiseworthy for being oleh regel, and (2) what is the significance that they don't practice sorcery?

R' Frand answered by quoting the sefer Ateres Dudaim who quotes a vort from R' Yaakov Yosef (first and only Chief Rabbi of NY) who cites a pasuk in Shir Hashirim which praises the Jews for having beautiful footsteps in their shoes. The gemara interprets the pasuk as saying this refers to the Jews going up to the Beis Hamikdash.

But this gemara creates a problem - how can the Jews be beautiful for going up with their shoes if one does not wear shoes on Har HaBayis?

R' Yaakov Yosef explains that the praise is not for being on Har HaBayis - it was the trip up that was an act of immense faith. Everyone goes up to Jerusalem and the borders are left unguarded. But there are no worries, as the Torah promises that no one will covet your land. 

Still this is a tremendous act of faith to go up to Jerusalem and leave all the possession and home behind. The praiseworthy act is not being at the Beis Hamikdash, because there - the person feels close to Hashem and does not need faith, But the person who is walking miles and miles and leaves everything behind is showing faith and not questioning Hashem.

This is also the reason why the Jews are praised for not following sorcery - because they have faith in Hashem and don't need to look for hints about the future, The person who has true faith in Hashem has no need or desire for sorcery, because he has emunah. And a nation which has faith in Hashem can never be cursed.

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!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Shiner Birthday Beer 107 - Hoppy Pilsner


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Shiner 107 - the Hoppy Pilsner.

Over the last dozen or so years, Shiner has produced a limited edition brew in honor of the number of years that the Spoetzel Brewery has been in existence. Each of these brews is preceded by the number which designates the number of years that Spoetzel has been around, followed by the name of the brew. Last year, they added a new twist by actually calling the beer a "birthday beer" (see link here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2015/03/sunday-night-suds-shiner-birthday-beer.html for my reviews of last year's Birthday Beer - the Chocolate Stout). 

This year's version of the birthday features what Shiner calls a "Hoppy Pilsner." Yes, it does sound like an oxymoron, but don't let the beer's name fool you. The brew poured a rich golden color with more than average carbonation. Even though I consumed this with some deeply charred meat (not burned, just flavorful charred) the beer was not overwhelmed. There was some sweetness which was characteristic of the pilsner, but the back end had some hops as well. The end result is a non-offensive brew which tries to be a little bit of everything, but does not fail miserably.

The Shiner Birthday Beer 107 - Hoppy Pilsner is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit although there is no symbol on the the bottle. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the Shiner Hoppy Pilsner, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/205930.

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).

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!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chukas

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 this week's parsha, the Torah discusses the death of Aharon. In Bamidbar 20:29, the Torah writes that after the Jews saw that Aharon died, "Kol Beis Yisrael" - the entire house of Israel wept for him.

Rashi notes that this stands in contrast to the death of Moshe where the term :Kol" - all - is not used. Rashi explains that the women cried when Aharon died, because he was a Rodef Shalom - he would chase after peace. In so doing, he certainly saved countless marriages.

The Avos D'Rabbi Nassan explains Aharon's qualities by quoting a pasuk in Malachi 2:6, which writes of Aharon that he had "Toras Emes" - the Torah of truth in his mouth, before the pasuk then states that he was a pursuer of peace. The pasuk then writes that he gave rebuke to turn people away from sinning. The Avis D'Rabbi Nassan explains that when Aharon was walking on the road and he encountered a Rasha, he would greet him warmly. The next time that the Rasha thought about sinning he would be reminded of how warmly Aharon greeted him and he would have second thoughts about sinning, so as to not to let Aharon down.

R' Frand next quoted R' Bloch (sp?) from Telshe who observed about people that there are times that you meet someone who warmly inquires about your well being, but you can also tell that he does not really care. However the pasuk in Malachi demonstrates that what set Aharon apart is that he began with truth in his mouth - he was not going to lie when addressing someone. And the end of the pasuk demonstrates that he gave tochacha, but even when he did - it was not sharp, Indeed, his entire essence was about bettering the other person.

R' Frand said a second vort in connection with the poisonous snakes which attacked the Jews. After the Jews repented, Hashem tells Moshe in Bamidbar 21:8 to make a Saraf - a serpent, and put it on a staff. However, the next pasuk states that Moshe made a Nachash - a snake, not a serpent. Why did Moshe do something different that the actual language of the command?

R' Frand quoted the Rabbeinu Ephraim who explains that Moshe believed in his heart that Hashem is telling me this in the language of serpent, because He does not want me to feel bad. Each time that I did wrong in the past, Hashem rebuked me by showing me the sign of a snake, in Shemos 4:3 when I was not quick to accept my mission, so Hashem turned my stick to a snake. Similarly, when I did not give my son a bris - I was swallowed by a snake in Shemos 4:24.

Moshe then concludes - Hashem wants me to make a snake, but he does not want to use that word so that I will not feel bad and think that I am the cause of the Jews' trouble. On that basis, Moshe changes the directive and make a snake instead of a serpent.

R' Frand closed the vort by stating that there is a mitzva to be like Hashem. If Hashem shows such sensitivity in dealing with Moshe, how much more so should we be sensitive to the feelings of others.

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, July 10, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Bavarian Pils


Live from Camp M, this week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Bavarian Pils.

After reviewing the Blue Moon Belgian Pils last week (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/07/sunday-night-suds-blue-moon-table-pils.html), I decided to continue the theme of sampling Pilsners, by including a Saranac Bavarian Pils in the six pack that I mixed at the local supermarket not far from Camp M.

The Bavarian Pils is one of the more recent Saranac products and was first included in the 12 Beers A Springing Mixed Pack. The Saranac website indicates that "[t]his hoppy pilsener is brewed with the unique Mandarina Bavaria German hop, which showcases a citrusy-earthy character. A traditional German lager yeast provides a crisp finish."

Much like the Blue Moon Belgian Pils that I reviewed last week, the Saranac Bavarian Pils was not a typical Pilsner and perhaps it is one of the reasons that I appreciated this brew. Although there were abundant malts, there was also a little taste of hop in the finish which was not completely drowned out by the delicious bready malts. Taking into account the trademark Saranac medium to strong carbonation, this beer seemed to pack quite a kick for a beer which is 5.50% abv.

Saranac Bavarian Pils is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac has begun to brew some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/212125.

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!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

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 his parsha vort by noting that there is a machlokes among the rishonim as to when the Korach story takes place. In the order of the Torah it follows the story of the meraglim. However the Ibn Ezra states that it happens earlier.

R' Frand stated that there is strength to the Ibn Ezra's position, since Rashi notes that Korach was jealous that Elitzafan became the Nasi as he was the son of Yitzhar. Korach saw that Amram as the oldest of K'has' sons had two of his own sons become - the leader of the Jews (Moshe) and the Kohain Gadol (Aharon). As the son of Yitzhar (the second born son of K'has), Korach expected that the position of Nasi would come to him. Instead, the son of the fourth brother became the Nasi. Since the story of appointing the Nasi took place in the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar, the Ibn Ezra's position that the Korach story was earlier makes sense.

R' Frand next quoted the Ramban who explains that the story is in its correct place. He explains that Korach was a bright man and knew when he could challenge Moshe. Earlier in the Torah, Moshe was very popular and Korach would not have been able to challenge him. Indeed, had Korach spoken out against Moshe he would have been stoned. However, after the story of the slav and the sin of the spies in which Moshe did not pray for the Jewish people and cause the Heavenly decree to be changed, the view of the populace had turned and now Korach could speak against him.

However, the language of the Ramban is curious - what does it mean that Moshe did not daven for them? In Bamidbar 14:13- 20 Moshe prays to Hashem to forgive the Jewish people. In response Hashem stated in Bamidbar 14:21 - Salachti K'dvarecha - I have forgiven because of your words. So why does the Ramban state that Moshe did not daven for them?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Ramban himself, as the Ramban explains that at the time of the Egel, Moshe was able to convince Hashem not to wipe out the Jewish people. However as to the Meraglim, Moshe knew that there was no way that he could convince Hashem not to wipe out the Jews. Instead, Moshe davened to Hashem and as a result the Jews died out over the forty years in the desert, instead of immediately.

However, the people looked at Moshe and saw that the decree had not been revoked. They thought that he was able to pray successfully for anything and that if the decree was not rescinded, it must be because he did not daven for them. Therefore, they turned on him.

R' Frand asked - but what happened to hakaras hatov? Moshe had done so much for them - from the time that he came down to Egypt until this very day. Why was there no recognition of all that he had accomplished?

R' Frand then commented on an old GM commercial in which the announcer voiced - it is uniquely American to ask - what have you done for me lately? R' Frand stated that he was always bothered by this commercial - it may be uniquely American, but that is not the way of the Jewish people. Because he was unsuccessful once, he should be cast aside?

R' Frand also observed that they concluded that Moshe did not pray --this must be because he does not care. And for a leader not to care is a cardinal sin. R' Frand quoted who he believed was Teddy Roosevelt who stated - "people don't care what you know, they want to know that you care." And the leader who does not care will lose his following.

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, July 3, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Blue Moon Table Pils



This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Blue Moon Table Pils.

If you were to just look at the name of the brew, you would think that this is a ho hum Pilsner. After all, calling this beer a Table Pils implies that it is a Pilsner. It would be a little bit odd for Blue Moon to produce a Pilsner since every Blue Moon product that I have seen has been an Ale. But regardless of the rationale behind the name of the beer, it is NOT a Pilsner.

The label of the beer indicates that it is a Belgian Style Pilsner. The Blue Moon website explains that the beer is "a sessionable Belgian Style Pilsner brewed with mandarin orange peel and two row Moravian barley." However, the experts at BA do not call this a Pilsner and instead they have classified it as an American Pale Lager.  Me, personally - I see this as a mutt -  a bizarre cross between a fruit infused lager and some earthy other brew that I can't put my finger on.

Although this review may seem to be negative, I did thoroughly enjoy this concoction. The beer has an interesting tartness to it which may be a result of the mandarin orange peel, but it also has some nice malt from the lager backbone. The resulting beer is lower in alcohol (4.2%) but refreshing and eminently drinkable. This is the kind of beer that you can drink in a Sukkah or maybe on a hot day after spending some time in the yard.

Blue Moon Belgian Table Pils is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, as is every other current variety of beer produced by Blue Moon. For the experts take on this beer, please click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/306/221564.

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.

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!