Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bamidbar

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parshios 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 the beginning of Parshas Bamidbar, the Torah mentions the names of the various Nesi'im. Although I never focused on these names, R' Frand highlighted that the tribes of Asher and Naftali had Nesi'im with "interesting" names. The Nasi for Asher was called Pagi'el Ben Achran and the Nasi for Naftali was called Achira Ben Einan. R' Frand quoted Rabbeinu Ephraim, who explained that these names were actually nicknames which the Nesi'im took on in place of their birth names.

Why did these people take on these other names? Rabbeinu Ephraim explains that they were meant to protect their respective tribes from the influence of the tribe of Dan who had brought an idol called Michah with them from Egypt. For Asher, the name chosen was Pagi'el which loosely means the one who attacked G-d -- a reference to the idol worshipers in Dan Hashem put me in a bad situation. [Kudos to Shlomo Jessel for catching my error]. Similarly the name Achran means that the tribe of Dan were corrupt.

Similarly, the name for Naftali also identified the evil in Dan's midst. The name Achira means my brother is evil. And the name Einan implies that he (Dan) was thrown out by the cloud.

R' Frand identified three lessons which could be learned from these Nesi'im. The first lesson is that bad neighbors can lead to a bad result, even when one lives in a nice town. The second lesson is that one must take action in order to avoid being influenced by the evil neighbor. 

The third lesson was said in the name of R' Chaim Shmulevitz and requires an introduction. The Gemara in Sanhedrin 19 discusses a person who is sometimes called Palti and alternatively Paltiel. This "person" was encouraged by King Saul to marry his daughter, although she had already been betrothed by David. Although he married her, he placed a sword in the ground in between her beds and announced that if she was touched, that person should be felled by the sword.

R' Chaim asked - but what purpose did the sword serve? The same way that it was placed in the ground, it can also be removed from the ground! He answered the Palti knew that she was a married woman from Day One, but was concerned that he would come to rationalize and possibly be with her. So he placed the sword in the ground on Day One to remind himself every time that he looked at the sword, how strongly he felt on Day One that this was wrong.

R' Frand remarked that this same lesson can be seen in the Nesi'im. They realized immediately that Dan was involved with Avodah Zarah and took on changes to their name so that they would always remember the repugnance they felt to Dan's Avodah Zarah.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Hopscape


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Hopscape Ale.

This beer is a relatively new winter seasonal offering from the good folks of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. First introduced in the Fall of 2016, this unflavored beer draws its complex hop flavor and name from the four types of West Coast hops used in the brew process --Zeus, Centennial, Citra, and Chinook.

The beer has some definite citrus notes and has a grapefruit like flavor which rivals the Uinta Wyld, another unflavored beer (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2011/09/sunday-night-suds-uinta-wyld.html) which makes you wonder how they brewed this without any additives.

The Hopscape would go well with most chicken or fish dishes and could easily substitute for a Chardonnay if you were looking to upgrade or downgrade (depending on your perspective on beer) a YT meal.

The Samuel Adams Hopscape Ale is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/244041.

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!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Behar - Bechukosai

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parshios 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 Vayikra 25:19-22, the Torah contemplates an internal conversation that the farmer will have as to what he will eat during the shmitta period in that the crops from the sixth year will have to last through the eighth year. 

The Medrash states that those who keep the shmitta are strong willed. They watch their field lie fallow while they pay taxes without income. And then they watch others harvest the growth of the field in year six. This is great strength.

But the obvious question is, if Hashem has promised the farmer that there will be enough food and the crops from the sixth year will yield triple an ordinary harvest, why are the farmers called strong willed? They already know that they will not starve!

R' Frand gave two answers. The first analyzes the mindset of the farmer. He will have a full silo and will not starve. But he is forced to sit and watch while the growth of the seventh year is taken by anyone who wants it. He is unnerved by the fact that HIS field is deemed hefker or owner less and anyone can reap the crops, without even saying "thank you." While he prides himself on his generosity in that he will give charity to those who need it, this year the farmer does not get to select who will receive the check, nor does he get credit (in his mind) for supporting the less fortunate. The fact that he must sit back and not prevent others from taking from his field makes him "strong willed."

The second answer is also grounded in human nature --- that people quickly forget the good which was previously done for them. Although the farmer did have a yield 3x the norm in year six, he has already forgotten how bountiful it was and it pains him that others are now harvesting from the field which he pays taxes on.

R' Frand finished this vort with a parable. A man experiences severe tooth pain on Shabbos. Immediately after Shabbos, the man calls the dentist who tells him, why not come in tonight. The man comes to the dentist and after about an hour in the chair, he feels relief from the pain. The man then asks the dentist, what do I owe you? The dentist responds -- half of what you were going to pay me before. When you were in pain you would have paid anything to escape it. Now that you are no longer in pain, think back about what you would have been willing to pay and divide it in half. That's all I am asking you to pay.

The farmer says to himself, yes I did have a great harvest in year six. But that was then. What has been done for me lately? He needs to remember what he felt previously and those of great strength and character will do so and allow for their fields to be harvested by 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, May 14, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Dark Matter Black IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at another of the beers I recently brought back from Israel - Dark Matter Black IPA.

This brew is another of the fine beers carried at the Beer Bazaar in the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. (Click here https://beerbazaar.co.il for a link to their beer menu). Although the bottle did not give an indication as to who brews this beer, by clicking through their website I learned that it is brewed by the HaShakhen brewery (literally the neighbor brewery). Apparently Beer Bazaar also carries other beers by this brewery and the website allows you to sort by producer.

The Dark Matter Black IPA is somewhat light for a Black IPA and it is not like any other Black IPA that I tried before. The hops in the Dark Matter are somewhat muted, but at least they are present. The "dark" in the Dark Matter leans towards a lighter version of a stout as well. Still, the combination is quite enjoyable and went well with hamburgers made on a charcoal grill.

The Dark Matter Black IPA is certified kosher, but I have been unable to locate it since I took the picture. If you have a bottle handy please post the kosher certification in the comments below. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew (yes its on BA), please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/41096/265207.

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 check the label on the bottle you are purchasing (since the the kosher beers list link does not include beer brewed in Israel).

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, May 11, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

The following is a brief summary of some of the 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 the first pasuk of Parshas Emor it says both the words Emor and V'Amarta. Rashi says that this teaches that adults must teach the children and the Tur says that this is the source of Chinuch in the Torah.The sefer Divrei Yisrael states that if it states Daber and V'Amarta it also could be taught as an instruction to teach since the word Daber is a strong statement --meant for adults and Amar is soft. But R' Frand stated that the lesson is that when you teach children you need to be soft with them. In fact, this is the only time in the Torah that it uses Emor V'Amarta because this must be the approach to dealing with youth.

R' Frand remarked that he does not know how things were in the times of the Torah, but now a parent must be soft and mikarev with one's children. There must be the soft language to not push them away.

R' Frand next quoted a medrash which discussed a will which provided that the money from the estate would only go to the son if he became a shoteh - a fool. The son went and asked R' Yossi B'Rebbe Yehuda and asked --what can I do, I'm not a shoteh and I wont become one. R' Yossi did not have an answer and instead he went to R' Yehoshua Ben Karcha. When he got there, he looked in the window and saw that R' Yehoshua was crawling on his hands and knees and had a pacifier in his mouth and he was crawling after his child. He did not know what to do, he was embarrassed to see this. But R' Yehoshua saw him and said come in. When he brought up the will, R' Yehoshua explained that the son did not want to get married and did not want to act with a child like a parent and be silly. But a parent needs to crawl with his child and stoop to underhand a ball or play in the sandbox. The instruction was --you need to get married and act like a shoteh and do silly things, because that is what being a parent is. You need to do things that get your child laughing and motivated, even if you feel its below your dignity.

R' Frand said a second vort from Vayikra 23:2 which states Aleh Hem Moadai --- these are My Holidays. Hashem gave us a gift of His holidays. But the Jews abused the holidays as it states in the Haftorah of Shabbas Chazon - I hate my holidays with you. 

R' Frand quoted the Dubno Maggid who gave a mashal to a person who had several children who became ill. He went and found the best doctor and paid to move him near his house. The doctor came up with a medication and the kids were all healed. There was a recurrence and the doctor was brought back and he made more medicine, but the kids refused to take it because it was too bitter. As time went by, he would see the doctor and scowl at him. The doctor said, what can I do -- I made the medicine and it worked the first time, but the children wont take it again. Its not my fault. The man responded, I know that its not your fault, but every time I see you I am reminded that there is an opportunity for them to get better if they only took the medicine, but they wont. And the fact that they wont take the medicine just kills me and I am remembering this when I see you.

The Dubno Maggid said --these are the holidays when you can come close to me. You are off from work and can come to shul and be enhanced in the yom tov and you wont take advantage of them. They are like the doctor which reminds me of what you could be.

R' Frand quoted the Seforno who notes that the pasuk states Mikraei Kodesh --there are things you can do to make the holidays Kodesh. But if you don't do these things to make yourself and the yom tov elevated and instead its just a feeding frenzy, it wont be Moadai. It would just be Moadechem and these are what the Navi states are despised.

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, May 7, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Shiner Homespun Cream Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Shiner Homespun Cream Ale.

As explained by the gurus at BA:

Cream Ales, spawned from the American light lager style, are brewed as an ale though are sometimes finished with a lager yeast or lager beer mixed in. Adjuncts such as corn or rice are used to lighten the body. It is not uncommon for smaller craft brewers to brew all malt Cream Ales. Pale straw to pale gold color. Low hop bittering and some hop aroma though some micros have given the style more of a hop character. Well carbonated and well attenuated.

The Shiner Homespun Cream Ale poured a golden yellow, almost like a pilsner. There was little to no hops or bitterness but still a little floral element. The Homespun Cream Ale is 5% abv, but again the alcoholic taste was not present. There was a little foam and lacing which lasted for about half an hour. The beer did have a rich and creamy element and would go well with burgers, hot dogs or other BBQ fare.

The Shiner Homespun Cream Ale 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 Shiner Homespun Cream Ale click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/250044.

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!