Thursday, August 25, 2016

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. 

Parshas Eikev begins with a list of tremendous berachos that Moshe tells the Jews will come to fruition if they will listen to Hashem's commandments. Among the berachos is the promise that Hashem will remove all illness from the Jews (Devarim 7:15). 

The gemara asks - what kind of sickness is this? The gemara answers in the name of Rav - it is the ayin hara which will be removed. 

R' Mansour asked - what is ayin hara. He answered by making reference to a gemara in Berachos 20 which talked about R' Yochanan who was asked why he was not concerned about ayin hara. R' Yochanan answered that he was from the tribe of Yosef who cannot be touched by ayin hara. But why are they exempt from ayin hara? 

R' Mansour answered by quoting rabbanim who offered the following explanation. If a person sees another person's wealth he should recognize that it is from Hashem. However, if the person is impressed with the object, he detaches the item from Hashem as he gives the recipient the credit for the object instead of recognizing it as from Hashem. At this point, the ayin hara can attach to the object unless the object can be reconnected with Hashem. How is this accomplished? By saying baruch Hashem - by attributing the success or the item to Hashem and not the owner of the object. 

R' Mansour then quoted from Parshas Ekev again where it states that a person may have great wealth and think that he himself is responsible for it (Devarim 8:12-17). The pasuk immediately says thereafter that the man must remember that it all comes from Hashem. 

Yosef had mastered the art of recognizing Hashem and reconnecting items with Hashem. When Pharaoh had Yosef brought down to him to interpret the dream, Pharaoh tested Yosef. He told Yosef (Bereishis 41:15), I had a dream and no one can interpret it, but I heard that you can. While a normal person would accept the praise (especially when seeing the king), Yosef does the opposite - he tells Pharaoh its not from me, its from Hashem (Berishis 41:16). 

Pharaoh then tells the whole dream to Yosef and then tries to test him again by saying that none of his advisers can interpret the dream. Yosef passes the test by responding to Pharaoh in every pasuk that it comes from Hashem. (Bereishis 41:24-25). 

When R' Yochanan responds that he is from Yosef (which he clearly is not since he descends from Yehuda) he is saying -- I learned from Yosef's ways and much like one who teaches Torah to another is like his father, so too I am Yosef's son. 

R' Mansour then asked - where did Yosef learn this from? He answered that it was learned from Yaakov. When Yaakov came to meet Esav, Esav observes Yaakov and asks who are these women and children who are here with you. Yaakov resists the urge to say they are mine, instead he says these are what Hashem has graciously given me (Bereishis 33:5). 

This is the lesson to us, that when someone comes and praises you for your possessions, give credit to Hashem and you will avoid the impact of the ayin hara. 

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vaeschanan

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim for the next month, I have been substituting 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.

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 in the haftorah - Nachamu Nachamu Ami - you are still My nation says Hashem - I am not going anywhere.

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 14, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Fat Sour Apple Ale



This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium's Fat Tire and Friends Fat Sour Apple 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. 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 Tire and Friends mix box contains five beers in addition to Fat Tire itself, including: Fat Funk Ale; Fat Hoppy Ale; Fat Pale Ale; Fat Sour Apple Ale and Fat Wild Ale.

The Fat Sour Apple Ale was produced in collaboration with Hopworks Urban Brewery and is classified as an American Wild Ale. Having reviewed another sour/wild ale in last week's SNS (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/08/sunday-night-suds-boluevard-tell-tale.html) I have a newly found respect for this style of beer.

The Fat Sour Ale poured a dense rich orange. There was moderate to low carbonation, but this did not bother me. The initial sip was all sour, but successive drinks had some sweetness from the apple juice used in the process. I could not see pairing this with any form of main course, but as a one off it is worth trying on its own.

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 Sour Apple Ale, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/217617. 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 11, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Devarim

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim for the next month, I have been substituting 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 1:10 Moshe tells the Jews - Hashem your G-d has multiplied you and today you are like the stars in heaven in abundance (using the word in Hebrew, LaRov). R' Mansour asked, the Jews are less than one half of one percent of the world's population, so what does Moshe mean about being numerous like the stars in heaven? Rabbi Mansour answered --look at a star from afar, it looks very small. However the star in its true size is larger than the planet earth. So too the Jews, they may look small from a distance, but see what they have accomplished and how well represented and renown they are in the prestigious fields, and you will see up close they are much larger than they appear.


Rabbi Mansour then quoted a vort from the Ben Ish Chai on the use of the word LaRov. The word itself is spelled chaser - without a cholam between the reish and vet. As such, the word can read LaRav. The significance of this relates to a machlokes between Rav and Shmuel, but requires an introduction.

When a person is sleeping, his soul goes up to shamayim and admits the sins the body did during the day. There is a punishment and a penalty which comes from doing sins. The punishment comes from doing the sin against Hashem. The penalty is for damaging the soul, a piece of Hashem which does not belong to the person and to which he commits me'ilah by sinning.

When the soul goes up to testify, it is not the only entity that wishes to speak about the sin, as the act of sinning has created an angel which too desires to attest to the act. However, the soul and the angel have different rules of procedure. The angel wants to appear at the heavenly bet din to testify, but cannot do so at night because the bet din does not sit in judgment at night. However, the soul can testify at night and manages to get its testimony in first.

The soul's ability to testify first is highly significant. The gemara brings a machlokes about a person who admits an act which is punishable by a fine before the witnesses come. Rav teaches that a person who admits an act which is punishable by a fine and then witnesses come, the person is exempt from paying the fine. Shmuel disputes this as he says that the person's testimony before the witnesses appear does not exempt him from payment of the fine.

Boruch Hashem, the halacha is like Rav and our soul's testimony exempts us from the penalty which accompanies the punishment. The Ben Ish Chai explains that Bilaam when he blessed the Jews in Bamidbar 24:23 states Oy Mi Yichyeh Mi Sumo Kel. However it can be read as MiShmuel, by which Bilaam states - who could live if Shmuel is right and the soul's advanced confession is incapable of deflecting the penalty.

The Ben Ish Chai also supports this with a sentence from Tehillim in which it states "v'salachta l'avonee ki rav who" which can be explained as Hashem will forgive our sins because the halacha is like Rav.

This is what the meaning of the pasuk that Hashem makes up great that our neshama can testify at night and that way tomorrow during the day we will succeed, because the halacha is like Rav.

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 7, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Boluevard Tell Tale Tart Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Boulevard Brewery's Tell Tale Tart Ale.

The Tell Tale Tart Ale is the most recent addition to the Boulevard Brewery's "Smokestack Series" which are sold in 4 packs wherein the bottles are taller and skinnier than traditional 12 oz bottles (hence the name "Smokestack").

The gurus at BA classify the Tell Tale Tart Ale as an American Wild Ale, which they describe as:

Sometimes Belgian influenced, American Wild Ales are beers that are introduced to "wild" yeast or bacteria, such as: Brettanomyces (Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Brettanomyces Lambicus or Brettanomyces Anomolus), Pediococcus or Lactobacillus. This introduction may occur from oak barrels that have been previously inoculated, pitched into the beer, or gained from various "sour mash" techniques. Regardless of which and how, these little creatures often leave a funky calling card that can be quite strange, interesting, pleasing to many, but also often deemed as undesirable by many.

Mrs KB and I sampled this beer a little over a week ago with a friend who is a Belgian aficionado (by that I mean he likes and knows Belgian beers, but he's actually from Jersey). Unfortunately, none of us were taken by this brew.

The beer poured a murky orange with little carbonation. The first sip was sour, not really tart. It reminded me of the time I tried to mix lemon juice with bourbon. Yep, neither that combo or this beer's combo of yeast and hops was a very good idea. After a few sips I could taste a little strawberry type sweetness, but I could not get much beyond my first glass of this and I was glad that I had other people to pass this around for sampling.

Boulevard Tell Tale Tart Ale 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. If you would like the LOC from the Va'ad, please let me know and I will email it to you.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link -http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/423/168726.

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, August 4, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Matos-Masei

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.

R' Mansour began the vort by referring to the dialogue between the tribes of Gad & Reuven and Moshe in Bamidbar 32:1-33 as to their request to live on the other side of the Jordan River. The Torah makes numerous reference to the livestock that these tribes had (Mikneh Rav) and that the area they wanted to settle in had lush pastures.

R' Mansour noted that in the Torah there is a gap between Bamidbar 32:4-5 which creates a parsha setumah - a closed topic. But why should there be a setumah in the middle of the conversation between Moshe and the tribes, since the gap is in the middle of the tribes' request to Moshe?

R' Mansour observed that Moshe was unhappy with the request and he expressed it in Bamidbar 32:7 when he asked why they were trying to dissuade people from entering Israel and fighting for their land? To their credit, they approached Moshe in 32:16 and offered to fight with the other tribes and not to return until all the land was divided.

Moshe then responds to them in Bamidbar 32:20 that if they do what they have pledged to do, they will be clean with Hashem. This continues in a protracted conversation which covers another dozen or so pesukim which discuss both sides of the conditions. [From this we learn the laws of conditions].

R' Mansour observed that Ma'asei Avos Siman L'Banim - what the fathers did is a sign to their children. So what occurred previously in the Torah which signaled to the tribes of Gad & Reuven to make this request?

R' Mansour answered by making reference to Ya'akov who after leaving Lavan and then fighting with Esav's angel and then meeting with Esav, the Torah writes that Ya'akov traveled to Sukkoth and built a house for himself and sukkos for his animals - this is why they call the place Sukkoth. (Bereishis 33:17).

The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh notes that this is the only time that the Torah discusses that someone built a home for their animals. R' Mansour added that the location of the city was in the future land of the tribe of Gad. R' Mansour theorized that Ya'akov knew that the tribes would be there one day and would commit a sin by prioritizing the animals over the children, so Ya'akov corrected/instructed that first you build for the family and then for the animals.

R' Mansour next quoted R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld who explains that the language of the conversation between Moshe and tribes repeats many times with Moshe changing or tweaking their language. When the Bnei Gad and Reuven came to Moshe in Bamidbar 32:17, they said "we will come and we will fight." This language was not acceptable to Moshe and he needed to instruct them that it all comes from Hashem. Moshe then responds to them in Bamidbar 32:20, 21 and 22 that all of these things are with the help of Hashem. Moshe peppers the sentences with five references to Hashem as assisting in the battle, although he never actually says "you must realize that it is all from Hashem."

The Bnei Gad and Reuven respond to Moshe in Bamdibar 32:25-26, we will do what you command and we will go to battle before Hashem, as you have commanded. This is the basis of our ability to succeed in battle, we recognize that it all comes from Hashem.

R' Mansour next quoted R' Bunim who explains that Bnei Gad and Reuven loved Moshe and knew that he was banned from entering Israel. The tribes did not want to leave Moshe behind and not show him respect. As such, the tribes asked to stay on the other side of the Jordan River to stay with Moshe. In fact, they attempted to "backdoor" [my term] Moshe into the land of Israel. The tribes reasoned with Hashem -  because we will settle on that side it will become part of Israel. So now Moshe will wind up being in Israel - so why not let him enter all of the land?

This limud can be seen in the first words of the perek - it begins with Mikne Rav. This can be learned as they had a lot of animals. Or it can be learned that they had a great kinyan in their rav. 

Having said that, the tribes could not say this directly to Moshe because he would not want them to stay on his behalf. As such, they needed to phrase it this way as to not signal to Moshe. 

Moshe does eventually figure this out, as can be seen in Devarim 33:20-21 where Moshe gives Gad a blessing and then states in the next pasuk - Vayare Reishis Lo, Ki Sham Chekas Michokeik Safoon. Rashi explains that the pasuk is teaching that the tribes of Gad chose this land which was the first conquests, because they knew that Moshe who was the Michokeik would be buried there. 

This attempt to hide their intentions from Moshe can be seen in how the parsha setuma is set forth. Quoting the Sefer Vayvinu B'Mikra that in the first pasuk they tell Moshe about their abundance of livestock and in 32;6 they tell Moshe that the land is a land for livestock and they have livestock. The parsha closes there and is satum - hidden, because they did not want to tell Moshe their real intention.

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!