Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mishpatim

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.

R' Frand observed that there are three times in which the Torah mentions the laws of Eved Ivri - in Mishpatim (Shemos 21:2); Behar (Vayikra 25:29) and Re'eh (Devarim 15:12).

R' Frand noted that there is a fundamental difference between the way that the Torah refers to the Eved Ivri in this week's parsha and in Behar and Re'eh. In this week's parsha he is referred to as an Eved - a slave. However in Behar he is referred to as a brother and in Re'eh he is obliquely referenced as one who is sold. Why is there a difference?

R' Frand quoted the Malbim who explains that in Mishpatim he is referred to as slave since he needs to be defined. But once he has been identified as a slave, the Torah does not need to refer to him as a slave ever again, as it is a derogatory term and we need to protect his honor.

R' Frand observed that this respect is shown to a man who is a thief and among the dregs of society. Still, the Torah makes sure not to label him as a slave again, in order to protect his honor.

The second vort that R' Frand said involved the death punishments which are mentioned in Shemos 21:15-17. In these three pesukim the Torah mentions the death penalty for one who hits his parent (21:15), one who kidnaps (21:16) and one who curses his parent (21:17).

R' Frand quoted R' Schwalb who asked why the law of kidnapping comes in between the two laws dealing with offenses against a parent? He answered that it is teaching that a parent should not be a helicopter parent - one who hovers over and stifles his child -dictating terms for the child.

R' Frand observed that when a child is young, the parent needs to look out for the child. But as a chid gets older, the parent needs to back off and not control the child or attempt to live vicariously through the child.

R' Frand quoted R' Yochanan Zweig who observed that the Aramaic word for son is "Bar". Bar also means outside - that when the child grows up, the parent needs to be on the outside.

R' Frand then returned to the vort on why the kidnapping rule is in the middle. A parent who hovers over and dictates to the child, could G-d forbid evoke a reaction in the child which could lead to striking or cursing the parent. Yes, the parent needs to guide the child and be a source, but he can't dictate the child's life as he runs the risk of alienating the child and causing a negative reaction.

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, February 19, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds turns Sundae Night with a look at New Belgium's second collaboration with Ben & Jerry's - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale.

Last year, Ben & Jerry's and New Belgium did a dual cross-over in which New Belgium produced an ice cream influenced beer (Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale) and Ben & Jerry's manufactured a corresponding product (Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale). I did not get a chance to try the New Belgium product, but I did find the Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the supermarket (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/04/sundae-night-suds-ben-jerrys-salted.html).

This year, Ben & Jerry's is not producing an ice cream product, but New Belgium did brew the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale. And unlike last fall when their North Carolina brewery was not yet on-line, this year's product is available on the East Coast, thanks to the new brewery location.

The beer poured a dark gold with some carbonation. But as I lifted the glass to my nose, the first thing that hit me was the vanilla. The first few sips were similarly influenced, although I did begin to taste the chocolate and a little bit of the ale backbone. The New Belgium website indicates that they used a Blonde Ale as the base for this beer, but this Blonde Ale is very, very mild.

I would not recommend having this beer with any kind of meat or poultry dish. No, the beer is not made with ice cream and unlike the Samuel Adams Dark Chocolate Bock it is not dairy. Having said that, the brew is light and sweet and while it went well with our Melaveh Malka pizza meal, it would not pair with main meat courses.

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 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/236603. 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!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Yisro

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 Shemos 19:18 the Torah gives a glimpse of the imagery of matan Torah where it states that Har Sinai was full of smoke because Hashem descended on it in fire. There is another discussion of the way that Har Sinai appeared in Gemara Shabbos where R' Dimi teaches that Hashem turned Har Sinai upside down in the air over the Jewish people and offered them a choice - accept the Torah, or here will be your burial.
Tosafos asks the obvious question - since the Jews already had said Na'aseh V'Nishma -- "we will do and we will hear", why was there a need to hold the mountain over their heads? Tosafos answers that this "threat" was there in case the Jews upon seeing the fire and smoke of Har Sinai, decided that they did not want to accept the Torah.

R' Frand quoted R' Shmuel R. (I did not catch his last name) who asked a deep question - if the reason that Hashem held the mountain over the Jews' heads was to counteract their potential second thoughts after seeing the smoke and fire on Har Sinai, then why did He not simply avoid the issue by not appearing in smoke and fire? He answered that this is an indicia that the Torah needed to be given in fire.

R' Frand next quoted the Chafetz Chaim, who stated that in this world there are many groups of Jews - there are those who are ashkenaz and those who are sefard. There are Jews who are modern and Jews who are charedi. There are black hats, knitted yarmlukes and leather yarmulka wearers. However, in the next world the classifications have to do with warmth (quoting Yiddish terms which he translated into English) which run from boiling to warm to luke warm to cold to frozen. The purpose in this world is to be passionate about Judaism, which is learned from the fact that Har Sinai was covered in smoke and flames. The same way that the Torah was given in this environment, we must be passionate and fiery in learning and keeping it.

R' Frand next quoted the pasuk in Shemos 19:12 wherein the Jews are told to make borders around Har Sinai. These borders were based upon classifications as there were areas for Moshe, Aharon and the elders. Rashi explains that these borders existed as a warning to the Jews that they should not move beyond those points. Even though the Jews had the fiery motivation, they also needed to know that there must be limits to their passion.

R' Frand next quoted the Clei Chemdah who asked question on the famous gemara which tells that Hashem went to all the nations and offered them the Torah. Each nation asked - what does it say and then refused to accept the Torah based on certain commandments. The Clei Chemdah asked what was the commandment which Hashem told the Jews that they needed to be aware of? He answered that it was the pasuk in Shemos 19:12 that there should be borders - that even when passionate, a Jew must need to know his place.

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, February 12, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Beer Bazaar Fat Cat Pale Ale (aka Chatul Shamen)


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Beer Bazaar's Fat Cat Pale Ale (aka Chatul Shamen).

Prior to our trip to Israel in January, many friends had told me that I needed to make a visit to the Beer Bazaar in the Shuk Machane Yehuda. After arriving in Israel, our surrogate daughter Nomi reinforced this by telling us about her visit to Beer Bazaar and the amazing selection they have. Well, Mrs KB and I made two trips to Machane Yehuda but each time the Beer Bazaar was not yet open. But on our last night in Israel I made a stop in and they were open!

The Beer Bazaar had numerous shelves of Israeli Craft Brew sorted by styles. I made a beeline for the IPA's but was also drawn by the cute logo on this bottle. They let you mix a six for 79 shekel (about $21). Its a little on the expensive side, but hey, what else do you do on vacation but splurge a little.

So what does the Chatul Shamen taste like? Its hard to really pin it down as the beer is no IPA and even a bit light for an American Pale Ale. There is a little bit of pine, but almost no citrus to speak of. The beer has a relatively low alcohol content (5.2% abv) and that also may be a contributing factor. I had the beer with Mrs KB's homemade chili and unfortunately the beer did not stand up to the rich flavors of the chili. When I had some by itself, there was a semblance of hops, but really you can't judge (or purchase a beer) based on a label.

The Fat Cat Pale Ale is certified kosher by the Rav Ha'ir of Kiryat Gat and there is a certification mark on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew (yes its on BA), please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/34175/177719/. 

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, February 9, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beshalach

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 Shemos 14:3, the Torah states that Pharaoh told the Jews that they are confused and the desert has locked them in. The obvious question is - who did Pharaoh tell this to? The Jews had already left Egypt with Moshe! 

The pashut pshat as said by many meforshim (including Rashi) is that Pharaoh said this about the Jews and not to them. But the Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel explains that Pharaoh said this to Dasan and Aviram, who had not left yet.

R' Frand asked - if Dasan and Aviram were such evil people that they did not leave with Moshe, how were they still around? These were Moshe's historical antagonists, yet we read about them later in the Torah so they obviously got out. Why did they merit to get out of Egypt, when 80% of the Jews did not make it out of Egypt (and died in Choshech) because of their evil nature?

The Maharal Diskin explains that Dasan and Aviram's merit was that they were among the nogsim - the taskmaster/enforcers who were in charge of the Jews in Egypt. But these were not like the Kapos in the concentration camps. In Egypt, these people were beaten by the Egyptians when the Jews did not meet their quotas. In that zechus and because of their empathy for their fellow Jews because they got hit to prevent people from being beaten, they merited getting out of Egypt.

R' Frand next told a story which was a favorite of R' Shlomo Zalman Oyerbach and was said at his funeral. The story involved the author of the Boruch Tam whose son had gotten engaged. When he came to his son's vort, he appeared distracted and was approached as to whether he was unhappy with the shidduch. He responded - no, its because the town's water carrier was sick and its weighing on my mind. The mother of the girl who had become engaged said to the Boruch Tam --because the water carrier is sick its impacting your mood? There can be another water drawer. The Boruch Tam got up from the table and said --the shidduch is off! I will not allow my son to marry into a family which is so callous and does not care about other people.

This was the zechus that Dasan and Aviram had, because they cared about all the Jews and took blows meant for them, they were rewarded.

R' Frand next quoted a sefer Be'er Mayim Chayim who asked - how did Dasan and Aviram make it out of Egypt? When could they have left, if Pharaoh was talking to them and the Jews are already gone?

He answered by analyzing Shemos 15:19 which states that Pharaoh's horse came into the sea and the Jews walked on dry land. This seems to be out of order. First the Jews went into dry land in the sea and then Pharaoh's horse followed them in!

The Be'er Mayim Chayim explains that there was a second Krias Yamsuf. When Dasan and Aviram got there, the sea had already closed up after Pharaoh and his horse went in. But because they had a great zechus, Hashem made a second Krias Yamsuf and they walked into the sea on dry land.

He then ties this incident into the Korach story. Why is it that Dasan and Aviram got involved in that fight with Moshe, especially when they had nothing to gain and were never on Moshe's level? The answer is that because they had experienced a personal Krias Yamsuf, they thought that they were on a high level and were equal to Moshe.

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, February 5, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Bazelet Wheat and Bazelet Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Bazelet Brewery's Wheat and Ale.

Towards the end of our week+ in Israel, we took a trip up north which included a day trip to the Gamla Natural Preserve and a tour of the Golan Heights Winery. After we finished the winery tour, I was perusing the shop and came across four beers made by the local Bazelet Brewery. Although I came to the winery with the intention of buying wine (which we did in fact buy), I could not pass up the opportunity to purchase singles of the four Bazelet products, including the two reviewed tonight - Bazelet Wheat and Bazelet Ale.

The Bazelet Wheat was interesting take on a wheat beer as it had some of the flavor profile, but almost none of the looks. Unlike a traditional wheat beer, the Bazelet wheat was not unfiltered and there was no cloudiness or "floaters" in this light brown brew. There was decent carbonation and some phenols, but the banana like flavor was mild. According to their website, the Bazelet Wheat has a 5.1% abv, but there was not a significant alcohol taste. 

If I had the option, I might have bought more of this brew as Mrs KB found it quite tasty. However, the beer itself was not true to the style and is not for those looking for a Hefeweizen or even an American Wheat Beer.

Unlike the Bazelet Wheat, the Bazelet Ale is much heavier beer, both in terms of flavor profile and alcohol content. This beer has a 6.4% abv and is reminiscent of a barley wine, both in terms of the warmth of brew, the richness of the hops and the alcohol backbone. I very much enjoyed this beer and would recommend it to those looking for a barleywine without the 10% abv.

The good folks at BA have not reviewed the Bazelet Wheat, but there is a review of Bazelet Ale which can be found here http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/18537/66566.

Both Bazelet beers are certified kosher by the Rabbanut of Katzrin and there are certification marks on the back of each label. Please note that although the beers are certified kosher, the Bazlet brewhouse restaurant (which is located in the same industrial complex in Katzrin as the Golan Heights Winery) is not certified kosher.

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!