Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Re'eh

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim on the Parsha until Elul, I would like to substitute a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on www.learntorah.com. Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the 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 the maggid shiur.

In Devarim 14:22, the Torah states the mitzva of giving tithes (Ma'aser). R' Mansour mentioned that in an agrarian society, the tithe came from wheat, but in our time it is from money. He also quoted the gemara which makes a play on the words used for the mitzva of ma'aser --aser ti'aser which is literally translated as you shall give tithe. However the gemara in Ta'anis uses the word become wealthy --give ma'aser so that you will become wealthy.

R' Mansour quoted the story in the gemara where a child coming out of school was asked what did you learn today? He said that we learned this pasuk. R' Yochanan then taught him, give ma'aser so that you become wealthy. 

The medrash on this states that the wise man goes to the right, but the imbecile to the left. But what does this mean and how does wisdom connect with charity?

R' Mansour explained that the fool prays, but is looking for how many pages are left in the book (on the left side of the siddur) while the wise man looks at the right to see how much he has accomplished. The same can be said about learning, where the wise man is happy about how much ground he has covered, while the fool says the book is so long...

R' Mansour developed this thought by drawing a parallel between the work of learning and the giving of charity. He quoted the Kedushas Tzion who cites a gemara which states that in divrei Torah a person can be poor in one place but wise in another. There may be scant commentary on a sugya when it is mentioned in one gemara, but the footnote tells you that it is also mentioned in another mesechta where there is more explanation. 

R' Mansour gave another explanation. He said that when one starts learning gemara, it can be very discouraging, quoting a medrash on Bereishis 1:2 where the Torah states that there was darkness on the surface of the deep, that the pasuk refers to the Talmud Bavli which is dark and challenging. But after one gets bearing, the brain clicks in and the gemara can be understood. 

Applying this to the gemara, when a person is a young man the Torah may be very challenging and he feels "poor" in knowledge, but when he has more background in learning and he can pick up more, he feels "wealthy."

There is also a gemara in Megillah which states that a person who states ya'gati u'matzati --I worked and I found, he can be believed. This applies in the case of Torah, a person who toiled in learning Torah and says that he benefited and retained, should be believed. It may be hard in the beginning when you are working hard. But every great Rabbi had a period of toiling before it clicks. And when the person finally does have a retention and deeper understanding, he feels like he has found something.

R' Mansour said that giving charity is the same thing. A person may only feel a loss when he gives the tithe. He may look at the recipient while looking at his own bills and say, I could use that money to pay my bills. In so doing, he only looks to the current state. To this R' Yochanan consoles --you need to see the long term, the giving of the tzedakah will lead to wealth. Don't be the fool that only looks to your own financial needs, realize that giving the money will have a return. In the same way, dont be discouraged that the learning is heavy and that there are so many pages in the book. Do the work and it will come back to benefit you in the long term.
 
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, August 13, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe.

Although this beer is part of the newest fall seasonal mix box from Samuel Adams, I found it in the mix your own six refrigerated section of the Albany Colonie Price Chopper.

[Ed note--an anonymous commenter tipped me that it was not part of the variety pack. After I found it in the mix your six I checked the Sam Adams website and it clicked through the seasonal variety pack link, but its not part of the variety pack. Post a comment if you find it in sixers].

This beer is not your average hefeweizen. It starts with the phenols and then adds some levels of complexity with cinnamon and nutmeg. I'm sure that I must have had cinnamon spiced beer before, but this beer is unusual as it tastes like the offspring of a box of redhots and cloves.

The beer has a lower level of alcohol (5.4% abv) and could probably be used as a session brew. It worked well with chicken marsala and would probably match with other mild chicken dishes.

The Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe 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/35/294588. (Keep in mind, this beer is so new, there are virtually no reviews as of today).

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, August 10, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Eikev

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim on the Parsha until Elul, I would like to substitute a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on www.learntorah.com. Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the 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 the maggid shiur.

The Parsha contains a pasuk which states - "lest you eat and be satiated and then build nice homes and live there." (Devarim 8:12). The Torah uses the term homes in plural form and says that they will be nice. The pasuk also states that the person will also have a lot of livestock and gold and silver. This is the epitome of success. However the Torah also warns about the possibility that the person will become conceited and say in his heart - I did this based on my strength and ability which brought me to this level of success.

R' Mansour noted that the Torah is not saying that a person should not work. Instead, the Torah is warning about thinking that the success can be attributed to his own actions without the assistance of Hashem.

The Targum explains on the pasuk that Hashem gives you the ability to be successful (Devarim 8:18) that Hashem gives the person the idea which is used to be successful. R' Dessler explains that the thought is like a light bulb, but it only lights because it is connected to the power source -Hashem. After all, why did this person have the idea and not someone else? Because Hashem wanted him to go forward with this plan.

R' Mansour also quoted the Meshech Chachmah who links this concept to Birkas Hamazon - the grace after meals. It is usually thought that the benching is said because a person should thank Hashem after having the food. However, the Meshech Chachmah writes that a person benches because after he eats he may feel satiated and high on himself. The next thought would be, I am feeling great and I alone am responsible for this. Thus the pasuk "lest you eat and be satiated" which is linked to the pasuk about benching - "v'achalta, v'savata u'beirachta" - you should eat and be satiated and then immediately - bench.

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, August 6, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager.

I admit that when I saw this at Oliver's in Albany I had no understanding of which anniversary Leinenkugel was celebrating. So I picked up a bottle and went to their website and read the background to this beer which explained that:
With over 550 years of brewing experience combined, this collaboration between Leinenkugel's and Hofbräu München celebrates Leinenkugel’s 150th anniversary with a blend of German tradition and American ingenuity. Brewed in the spirit of Reinheitsgebot, Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager is a German-style amber lager that incorporates some imported, German malts with unique American hops to create a beer that is flavorful, balanced, and refreshing.
Having iced the beer for a few days in the fridge, I tried it for dinner with Mrs KB's grilled filet and roasted purple potatoes. The beer poured a rich orange and had more body than I was expecting. There was malt, but also some hops and even a bit of nutty flavor. The beer has some creaminess as well, which was surprising for a bottled brew. 

Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager 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/710/279990

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, August 3, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Va'eschanan

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim on the Parsha until Elul, I would like to substitute a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on www.learntorah.com. Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the 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 the maggid shiur.

Last year I posted for this parsha based on a shiur on learntorah.com entitled "Suspended Mountain at Matan Torah." At the time I posted part of the shiur since the shiur was an hour long, but I regretted not giving more of it. To remedy, I have reposted the highlights from last year along with some more of the shiur. [The new portion follows the ----- below].

This week's parsha contain the Torah's second explicit discussion of matan Torah. There is a famous medrash which states that at matan Torah, Hashem held the mountain over the Jews' head and told them - if you accept the Torah then great, if not you will be buried here.

The medrash is difficult to understand and has been the subject of many explanations. In this shiur, R' Mansour offered a novel interpretation in the name of the Chida. 

The Chida began his explanation by noting that the giving of the Torah was the wedding of the Jewish people and Hashem. But this creates a greater question - if this is a wedding then why was there an element of compulsion by having the mountain over their heads?

R' Mansour prefaced the answer by making reference to the concept of the Onnes - one who rapes a single girl. The rule applicable to this situation is that if the girl wishes to marry her attacker - he must marry her and is forbidden from divorcing her for all of his days.

The Chida applies this rule to matan Torah by way of the following scenario - before the Jews married Hashem, they had a concern - what if the Jews committed sins and Hashem wanted to kivyachol divorce them? Hashem solves this problem by making the chuppah "under duress" and that as a result, Hashem must follow the rule of the Torah and cannot send the Jews away.

R' Mansour then digressed to discuss how this week is called Shabbas Nachamu - that the Jews should be consoled. But why should the Jews be consoled - what changed from last week? Last week during Shabbas Chazon we were in galus and there was no Beis Hamikdash. This week too, there is no Beis Hamikdash and we are still in galus!

R' Mansour answered this quandry by discussing what the Beis Hamikdash stood for prior to its destruction. When it was around, the Jews would get kapparah based upon the avodah of the Kohanim. But this also allowed them to be lax, because they knew that the avodah would get them forgiveness.

R' Mansour then gave the following analogy - there was a great artist who painted a painting on site at a mountain. The artist finished the painting and took a few steps back to get perspective. He then took another few steps back. And then another few. Now, the artist was stepping backwards near the edge of a cliff. The bystanders yelled - "look out the edge is near", but the artist was solely focused on the painting and continued to walk closer to the edge. Out of desperation, one of the bystanders ran to the painting and cut it with a knife. The artist exclaimed "what did you do that for?" The man answered - you were so focused on the painting you would have fallen off the cliff.

So too the Jews kept looking at the Beis Hamikdash and thinking - this will cover all our acts. So Hashem  needed to destroy it in order for us to regain perspective. Even though He had to destroy His house and the Shechinah had to go into galus.

-----
At this time the Jews were nervous - will Hashem divorce them and send them away forever? The answer is that since the Jews were the me'anes, Hashem is stuck with them and cannot divorce them for all time.

R' Mansour tied that into the haftorah - Nachamu Nachamu Ami. As discussed above, yes things are the same as last week and the troubles of the week of Chazon are still here in Nachamu.  But Hashem's message is - you are still My nation ("Ami"). Hashem says to the Jews, you are still my nation and  I am not going anywhere. 

R' Mansour also tied this into a story in Parshas Vayishlach. After Ya'akov leaves Lavan he crosses the river and fights the angel of Esav. When he has subdued the angel, the angel gives him the beracha that his name will change from Ya'akov to Yisrael. A number of pesukim later, following the story of Dina, Ya'akov brings sacrifices and then is addressed by Hashem. Hashem then tells him your name is Ya'akov. But that will not be your name anymore, it will be Yisrael.

Why does Hashem repeat the same beracha that Ya'akov had already received from the angel? It would be like going to a Rebbi for a beracha and he says a beracha that the recipient should get married. He protests, I'm already married. He asks, why do I need the beracha if he already has it?

R' Mansour answered that the angel had an ulterior motive. The angel was saying --you were Ya'akov, the heel. But now you are higher --you are Yisrael. But if you sin now you can't slide back and blame your acts on being a heel. You are not just Ya'akov anymore. And while you may not, your children will be susceptible.

So Hashem straightens this out by saying to Ya'akov first --your name is Ya'akov. You will be called Yisrael, but don't worry. You will always be Ya'akov.

The message from Hashem is --you are Ya'akov. Even when Bnei Yisrael are not going to Bnei Yisrael and more like Ya'akov, don't be concerned. Because you will still be Ya'akov and I will tolerate their acts.

R' Mansour compared it to a husband whose wife has a drug problem. The husband says, don't worry, he will stay with her through rehab, even though she has chased illegal drugs. Kv'yachol, Hashem says, even though you are in rehab and have been in rehab for nearly 2,000 years, I will stay with you and stay loyal to you.

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 30, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Uinta West Coast IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Uinta's West Coast Style IPA.

The West Coast Style IPA is one of the latest offerings by this quality brewery. Although the neither the can nor the website explain where the beer derives its name from, the website identifies four hops which give this beer its unique flavor -Denali, Mosaic, El Dorado and Chinook.

The beer is on the higher end of the abv spectrum (for a single IPA) as it is 6.30% abv. There is quite a bit of hop bite in the beer and even though I had a bad cold when I drank it with Mrs KB's awesome salmon dinner (you never know what you can find under hashgacha in the local Walmart) I could taste the pine and even a bit of the alcohol backbone.

The website indicates that the beer has pineapple, mango and pine elements. I tasted the pine (see above) and even a bit of the mango. I did not detect the pineapple but this is not surprising since the beer is unflavored and I had a cold (also see above).

Uinta West Coast Style IPA is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and bears an OU on the can For the experts' take on the Uinta West Coast Style IPA, please click here www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1416/285570.

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!