Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday's Chanukah Tidbits

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on Chanukah tonight. 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.

Although this was the "derush" section of tonight's shiur, Rabbi Frand started the vort by quoting the Shulchan Aruch (O'H 287) in which it is written that a person who benches and forgets to say Al Hanissim in its proper place can say it in the Harachaman section with the prefatory phrase Harachaman Hu Ya'aseh Nissim...

R' Frand quoted R' Yeruchum Olshan (sp?) who asked two questions about this halacha. The first question was ---don't we have a general principle that we don't ask Hashem to perform a miracle? This is based on a Gemara in Berachos which states that if a man knows his wife is pregnant he should not pray that she have a boy because its already been determined what gender the baby will be. The Gemara then asks, but what about Leah? She knew that she was carrying a boy, but she also had a nevu'ah that Ya'akov would only have 12 sons and if she had this boy, Rachel would only have one boy. So Leah prayed that the child would be a girl and the fetus she was carrying switched with the fetus that Rachel was carrying and became Dina. The Gemara answers this question by saying --we don't daven for miracles.

So with this rather long introduction --how can we say a Harachaman that Hashem should make a miracle?

The second question was based on a Mishna in Pirkei Avos which lists the ten daily mitzvos in the Beis Hamikdash, including such open miracles that the fires on the altar were never extinguished by the rain, even though the area was open to the heavens. R' Olshan asked --with all these great miracles, why is the fact that they found a flask of oil such a major event that we make a holiday out of it?

R' Frand answered the questions by explaining that there are two forms of miracles. There are miracles which have been imprinted into the DNA of the world, such as the splitting of the Yam Suf or the falling of the Manna. These were events that Hashem had designed and it is not for us to pray that Hashem performs the miracle.

But there are also miracles which Hashem performs for people who are Moser Nefesh, people who take exceptional steps and Hashem rewards them by changing something for them. 

The miracles in the Beis Hamikdash were imprinted miracles which Hashem had designed the world to allow. But the miracle of finding the oil came as a result of the incredible acts of the Maccabees who left behind their studies and fearlessly fought the Yevanim. R' Frand quoted the Bach on Hilchos Chanukah who said that the Yevanim knew that if they could interfere with the lighting of the Menorah they could (C'vs) end the Jewish People. The Maccabees who were nor military men, left the beis medrash and went out to fight them, against incredible odds. These same men were the descendants of Aharon and part of the tradition of being moser nefesh to light the Menorah as a personal nedavah.

Since they men were moser nefesh, Hashem made a miracle for them and allowed them to find the oil. This is the message of Chanukah and why we say the Harachaman. If we can be moser nefesh, Hashem can make miracles for us. Understanding the miracle of Chanukah allows us to see that if we can stand up and try do more, Hashem will help us.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Baderbrau Lawnmower Lager IPL


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Baderbrau Brewery's Lawnmower Lager IPL.

This is another of the beers that I picked up at the Binny's in Lincolnwood over Sukkos. Since we finally have snow on the ground in New York, I thought it was high time that I review a lawnmower beer since its unlikely that my lawn will be mowed again anytime soon.

The good folks at Beer Advocate have classified this beer as an American Pale Lager, but I found that the brew had a lot more character than the typical brew of this style. The beer poured a darker yellow which was not entirely transparent in my pint glass. There was quite a bit of hops and some cinnamon notes which I found pleasant and surprising. There was some citrus as well, but the bitter element was prominent, much more than I could have anticipated in a brew of this style.

The Baderbrau Lawnmower Lager IPL is under kosher supervision by the CRC of Chicago and has a CRC logo on the side of the can.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Baderbrau Lawnmower Lager IPL, click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/29318/119018.

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, December 7, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening along with the summary of a Chanukah vort he said last week. 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.

Rabbi Frand's parsha vort was more of a discussion of a Medrash than a traditional parsha vort. The Medrash in Parshas Vayigash asks Mi Haya Michaceh - who would have waited or anticipated and then poses the question about various people. [For purposes of this vort I will just refer to the introductory statement about each person as "Who would have anticipated "].

The first subject was Avraham and Sarah and the Medrash asked, who would have anticipated that they would have a child when Sarah was 90 years old. The next was Ya'akov and the question was, who would have anticipated that he would go from being penniless to having a large family and possessions. The next subject was Yosef and the question was, who would have anticipated that he would have gone from the prison to being Pharaoh's number 2. The next was about Moshe and who would have anticipated that Moshe would have gone from being put in a basket in the river and became the leader that would lead the Jews out of Egypt. Similar discussions were made as to David, Ruth and Chananya, Mishael and Azaryah.

R' Frand remarked that the Medrash is a nechama (consolation) for the Jews that even when it appears that times are bad, there will be an unanticipated positive result. R' Frand remarked that 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and who would have anticipated that Israel would be what it is today. [I kept expecting a Trump/Jerusalem reference, but R' Frand did not make one]. He referenced how the Ottoman Empire which had ruled the land for hundreds of years had an unanticipated rapid collapse which led to the possibility of a Balfour Declaration. He also referenced how small yeshivos in America in the 1930s and 1940s grew into Lakewood and Ner Israel and how that in the shadows of the Holocaust, who could have anticipated this success.

R' Frand then quoted R' Elya Svei (sp?) who had a different explanation of the Medrash. He answered the question as if it was not rhetorical --- Yosef anticipated this result. Yosef knew from his own dreams that he would one day rise to leadership. When Yosef heard the dream of the Sar Hamashkim he heard Hashem speaking to him. The three sarigim were a reference to the three leaders who would take the Jews out of Egypt and through the desert - Moshe, Aharon and Miriam. Yosef knew that the four references to Kos Pharaoh were a message that the Jews would undergo four exiles and Hashem would redeem them from each one.

Similarly, there was someone who was anticipating Moshe rising to prominence--Miriam. She had a dream that her parents would have a son who would lead the Jews out of Egypt. When Moshe was born and the house filled with light, Amram kissed Miriam on the head and lauded her prophesy...and when Moshe was put in the river, Amram hit her on the head and questioned the prophesy. But Miriam was anticipating Moshe's greatness.

I also wanted to do a brief summary of part of the Chanukah vort said by R' Frand last week. He referenced a Rashi in Behalosecha which mentioned that Aharon was saddened when he saw that every tribe was contributing nedavos and the tribe of Levi was not. Hashem then told Aharon, yours will be greater, because you will have the opportunity to light the menorah every day.

R' Frand quoted the Ramban who said that the lighting of the menorah transcended every generation and did not only refer to the menorah in the Beis HaMikdash. It referred to the mitzva that even to this day we continue to light the candles at Chanukah.

R' Frand then asked -- but how is this an answer to Aharon's concern? He was upset that he was not making a nedava, he was not making a contribution. How is the lighting of the candles an answer to his concerns?

R' Frand answered that Aharon's children and grandchildren saw his devotion to the act of lighting and that this became a part of them and they too would be moser nefesh for this act. There is a famous Rashi that says that he had the same enthusiasm on the first and last day that he lit the menorah.

By seeing his excitement and energy and the way that he gave of himself to light the candles, it insured that his grandchildren and great grandchildren would have this dedication to the mitzva of lighting the candles. This was more than just a one time donation to the Mishkan. Aharon understod this and that is why the answer was accepted by him.

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, December 3, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Lakefront Brewery's Smash Hull Melon Hops Blonde Ale

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Lakefront Brewery's Smash Hull Melon Hops Blonde Ale.

Although Lakefront started their Smash series almost two years, the first beer that I came across in this collection was the Hull Melon Hops which I found at Binny's in Lincolnwood, Illinois. It was sitting among the generous mix your own six pack collection (from which I mixed more than two sixers) in the back of the store.

After keeping this blonde ale in the fridge for about a week, I shared it with some friends at the Shabbos table, including a Milwaukee native. The beer poured a darker yellow than I was expecting with fragrant hops which I could smell the moment that I brought the glass to my face. There was more than ample carbonation and decent lacing on the glass. Successive sips exposed a broader base of flavor as the beer had some pepper along with the pine. I found myself wishing that I had bought more than just one bottle, as the beer was intriguing to me, much more than the average blonde ale. 

Lakefront Brewery's Smash Hull Melon Hops Blonde Ale is under the kosher supervision of the Star-K (there is even a Star-K on the label). For the experts' take on the brew, please click here http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/741/292057.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

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, November 30, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

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 the fifth aliyah of this week's parsha is the troubling story of Dina who was violated by Shechem. R' Frand quoted a vort from R' Elya Svei (sp?) to try to explain how this episode occurred.

There is a Medrash in Parshas Vayeitzei which states that a person should not be praised based on what will happen tomorrow, because it is unknown what will happen tomorrow. When Ya'akov was dealing with Lavan in Vayeitzei, he said to Lavan (Bereishis 30:33) V'ansa Bi Tzidkasi Machar (translated as let my integrity testify for me in the future). In so doing, Ya'akov was saying to Lavan, my righteousness will show that I have worked so hard for you. 

But what was wrong with saying this? Why could he not stand on his integrity?

R' Frand answered that Ya'akov was resting on his deeds, saying that they will insure his success in the future. However, a person needs to know that every day is a present and that each day he needs to have help from above and that he cannot rely on his actions from the day before as insurance that he will be successful today. 

Its not coincidental that the word used for the violation of Dina is "Vay'aneha". The root of inui is similar to the word oneh, which means answer. The Medrash linked the two events to say that a person cannot rely on what happened in the past, he needs to work and daven for the future as well.

R' Frand also said a nice vort about Chanukah which was somewhat linked to this vort. I hope to iyh blog that vort over the weekend.

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, November 26, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Shmaltz Brewing - Brewers Wanted Pale Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Shmaltz Brewery's Brewers Wanted Pale Ale.

I found this beer in the mix your own six section in a Price Chopper in Albany. Its a Pale Ale, which to me is always a reason to buy something to try. But the name intrigued me as well. I checked the website and learned this about the beer:

In 2015, the number of U.S. breweries grew to 4,000 for the first time since the 1870s and New York State now has 238 breweries and counting. Now, more than ever, we need more passionate men and women willing to learn the craft of brewing. Shmaltz Brewing teamed up with Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), the Greater Capital Region Workforce Development Boards and fellow New York State breweries to start our first regional Brewers Training Program. A portion of the proceeds from BREWERS WANTED will help train new brewers through this program and help support SCCC’s efforts to create an Associates Degree in Brewing. 

The beer poured a dark gold and had nice lacing and strong carbonation which lasted for more than an hour after the pour. There is a good amount of citrus and hop bite and the beer is clean and refreshing. I unintentionally had some with my daughter's mocha cake and to my absolute surprise, the flavors worked nicely together. If you find this brew and have a positive pairing experience, post it in the comments below.

Shmaltz Brewers Wanted Pale Ale is under the Kosher Supervision of the KSA, as are many, if not all of the Shmaltz products.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/262/214845.

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!