Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Matos-Maasei

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 Bamidbar 32:1 the Torah tells us that the tribes of Gad and Reuven had "mikneh rav" which is literally translated as much livestock. They then recite the cities in the area of the East Bank of the Jordan and tell Moshe that it is fertile for raising livestock and they have much livestock.

In the middle of the discussion there is a gap which is reflected in the Chumash with a "pay". This appears as a space in the Torah between pasuk 4 and 5 and it makes the first part of the conversation closed or setumah. R' Mansour asked, why would you have a closure in the middle of a conversation?

Moshe then responds to the Bnei Gad and Reuven in pasuk 6 stating - will your brothers fight a war and you will stay here? Why are you doing this, you will break the morale of the Jewish people. This is like what occurred with the meraglim and Hashem was furious with them!

After hearing the rebuke which ran from 32:7-15, the tribes again drew close to Moshe and told him in 32:16, that "we want to build pens for our sheep and cities for our children." Moshe then agrees that they can do so and uses a tinai kaful - a set of two sided conditions which we use to this day in contractual laws.

As part of his response, Moshe underscores that their priorities are out of order, telling them in 32:24 that they should build cities for their children and then pens for their sheep. The meforshim learn from this that parents need to understand that the children come first and that making money is a means to support a family, not a reason to distance oneself from one's family.

R' Mansour added that this incident is an example of ma'asei avos siman l'banim - the actions/stories of the fathers are a lesson for their children. Where do we see this in the history of the Jews? R' Mansour explained that when Ya'akov left Lavan and met Esav, Ya'akov went to Sukkoth and built for himself a house and sukkoth for his livestock, therefore the city was called Sukkoth. (Bereishis 33:17).

This city is also found in Sefer Yehoshua and is found in the land of Gad. R' Mansour stated that this was Yaakov's way of atoning for the act which Gad would do in the future. Why would he name a city after the livestock and not the city he built? This was done because the primary reason that Gad would want to stay on the other side of the Jordan was the sheep, so Yaakov established the city for his family as well as pens for the sheep.

R' Mansour also linked this story to the end of the Chumash, by quoting R' Bunim who stated that Bnei Gad and Reuven loved Moshe and did not want to leave him. They knew that Moshe was banned from entering and they were saying to themselves, how can we leave Moshe behind? 

They decided to try to find a way to lobby Hashem to let Moshe in to Israel. How? By deciding that they were going to stay and settle the other side of the Jordan they would turn it into another part of Israel. They could then turn to Hashem and say --since Moshe is now in Israel, You need to let him lead us the rest of the way.

How do we see the tribe of Gad's love for Moshe? In Devarim 33:20-21, Gad is given a beracha for "broadening." What did Gad do? He chose the first portion and that is where the michokek (the lawgiver---aka Moshe) is hidden. Rashi explains that they wanted to live in this land because they knew that Moshe would be buried there.

We also see their love of Moshe in this week's parsha. Mikneh is usually translated as livestock, but it can also mean an acquisition. R' Bunim explains that they had a kinyan in their Rav and they did not want to leave him. But it would have been disrespectful to tell Moshe that they knew that because of his sin he would be forced to stay there. So they instead made up the story of the livestock.

R' Mansour closed the vort by quoting the sefer VaYavinu B'Mikra who observes that the first part of the discussion before the break is a discussion of the livestock. Then there is a break and only afterwards do they make their pitch to stay in the land. Because they wanted to stay with Moshe but needed to keep their motivation hidden.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Blue Moon Mango Wheat Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Blue Moon's Mango Wheat Ale.

The Mango Wheat Ale is Blue Moon's special limited edition in this summer's Brewer's Select mix box. It is not easy to find as I can't even begin to count the number of beer stores, convenience stores and supermarkets I looked for this in. I even asked the Ferro Bros of Beverage Barn of Garden City (my go to beer store of choice) to try to get me this summer's Brewer's Select mix box and they were incapable. I had given up hope of finding it when I stumbled across it in a Tops Supermarket in Norwich, NY.

Although the Blue Moon Mango Wheat Ale is not the only kosher mango infused beer (see review of  the Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/07/sunday-night-suds-rebel-juiced-ipa.html) it is a superior brew and for my money the best new offering from Blue Moon since the Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout introduced in 2015.

The Mango Wheat Ale has (obviously) mango overtones, but it is the right mix of sweet, reminiscent of their Honey Moon (see this oldie but goody review here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2008/05/sunday-night-suds-blue-moon-honey-moon.html). There is decent carbonation, some hop bite, although not much in the way of pine. But the citrus melds with the mango to create a delicious summer refresher.

Blue Moon Mango Wheat Ale is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, as is every other current variety of beer produced by Blue Moon. For the experts take on this beer, please click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/306/271820.

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, July 13, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Pinchas

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.

Rabbi Frand began the parsha vort by discussing how the introduction to Pinchas and his reward for taking up arms was that he received a "brisi Shalom" literally translated as a covenant of peace, but in reality was that he was given Kehunah.

Rashi points out that when Pinchas is introduced he is called the son of Elazar who was the son of Aharon. Why? Because the people were making fun of him, saying --look at who his grandfather was--it was Yisro who fattened calves to be used to worship idols. Therefore the pasuk connects him to another grandfather - Aharon.

But this really does not solve the problem. We know that he was the grandson of Aharon, but he was also the grandson of Yisro. This act does not come from him being from Aharon, these are the Yisro genes which caused him to act! So what good does the connection to Aharon do for him?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Ksav Sofer, who explains that the action that Pinchas took was an act of Aharon. Aharon was an Ohev Shalom and a Rodef Shalom, but not a Rodef Achar Shalom. There is an intrinsic difference between Rodef Shalom and Rodef Achar Shalom. The latter is one who runs after peace. But a Rodef Shalom means that sometimes he ran and pushed away the peace, because the times required that an act be taken. This was how Pinchas had emulated Aharon.

R' Frand also quoted R' Bukspan who derived from the Sfas Emes that the Ohev Shalom and Rodef Shalom is like a question --who is not for peace? Of course people want peace, but its not always easy to do an act which promotes peace. Everyone is for peace and want peace, but not everyone (when the situation demands it) will take an act which will promote the greater peace. And here, when people were crying on the outside of the Ohel Moed because of what they saw, they needed someone to act in order to restore the peace. And he got that from his grandfather who did whatever was necessary to promote peace.

The Sfas Emes says this is why he got the Kehuna. Because a Kohain actualizes the thoughts of teshuva and makes them reality. The person feels like he wants to repent, and the Kohain can take that thought and turn it into an action.

R' Frand also said a second vort which is based on the Gemara in Bava Basra which states that when it was announced the Yehoshua would succeed Moshe, it was because he put in the hours and time. He never left Moshe's side. He cleaned up the Beis Medrash and sweated and toiled. Yet when the transition occurred, people said that Moshe's face was like a sun and Yehoshua was like the moon and this is an embarrassment.

R' Frand asked --have you ever been to a funeral where they say --this man who died was great, what an embarrassment of who will replace him?

R' Frand quoted R' Bissele M'Volozhin who explained that Moshe was great from birth and was a different kind of person. He was a miraculous child who was once in humanity, not just once in a lifetime.

But Yehoshua was an average guy. I went to school with him and he was not top of the class. But something happened which changed him. Not because he was born with superhuman abilities, but because he put in his time and effort when everyone else was hanging out. Moshe was Moshe, but Yehoshua was just a reflection and anyone else could have been the reflection if they put in the time. What an embarrassment to us that we did not put in the effort and become him.

[This reminded me of the way that the Heienken Man describes a classmate of his in high school who became ... R' Nosson Tzvi Finkel].

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 9, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA.

Over the past week I have tried two mango influenced beers and I hope to review them iyh in successive Sunday Night Suds posts. The "older" mango infused beer (introduced in and around November 2016) is the Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA.

This is another offering in the wildly successful Samuel Adams "Rebel" series. To date, I have not had a bad experience with any of the beers in this series and they keep pumping out new varieties.

The Rebel Juiced IPA takes a hoppy IPA and adds mango to the underlying grapefruit and citrus from the hops. Although it is obvious that the sweet mango juice has been added to the brew process, it does not mask the underlying hops and actually compliments it quite nicely. 

Although this beer is 6.2% abv by volume you would not know it. I would recommend this beer with sweet chicken dishes (Mrs KB and I had it with rotisserie from the kosher Price Chopper in Albany).

The Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the can. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/255872.

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!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Lake Placid Big Slide IPA



This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Lake Placid Big Slide IPA.

The Lake Placid brewery is an interesting story as they have a brew pub in the Olympic area where they offer draft beer and live events. None of the food sold in the brewpub is kosher and the beer they sell there is not under kosher supervision. But about seven years ago they decided to shift production of all of their bottled beer to the FX Matt Brewery in Utica, NY.

But enough about the brewery, lets talk about the beer. The Big Slide IPA was introduced in 2014, but I did not come across this until I saw it in a Price Chopper in Norwich, NY in the mix your own six section. After sufficient chilling, I opened this and enjoyed it with Mrs KB at the close of a rainy weekend in Camp M. The beer poured a rich orange/copper with about an inch of fragrant foam. The hops were present but not overpowering and there was some decent bite in every sip from the beginning through my last gulp. There is some pine as well. 

Lake Placid Big Slide IPA is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, not all Lake Placid is brewed in Utica, so check the bottle for the Va'ad of Detroit kosher symbol or the kosher beer list on my page.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1888/130926/.

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, June 29, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chukas

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.

Rashi quotes the Medrash Tanchuma who compares the Parah Adumah with the following parable. A child, the son of the king's cleaning lady, had soiled the palace and the mother came and cleaned up after her child. Rashi explains that the Parah Adumah is coming to be m'chaper and atone for the Cheit HaEgel.

But the obvious questions is, other than the two being cows, what does the Parah Adumah have to do with the Egel?

R' Frand first quoted the Klei Yakar who explains that when the Jews received the Torah at Har Sinai they were on a high spiritual level and had been cleansed of their tumah. However, when they sinned with the Egel, the tumah returned.

R' Frand clarified that this was not to say that if the Jews had not sinned there would not have been any death. People still would have died, but their death would not have been at the hands of the Malach HaMaves, they would have died by Neshikah. But because they sinned with the Egel, tumah came back through the death at the hands of the Malach HaMaves. So the Parah Adumah functions to be m'chaper for the Egel, because it cleanses us from the tumah.

R' Frand quoted another answer from the Meorei Ohr. He first quoted Rashi who states that prior to the Egel the Jews were called Temimim. But as a result of the Egel, they had blemishes and needed to be purified. 

The Meorei Ohr explained that Rashi's use of the word Tamim means that a person should just accept what Hashem does. But when the Jews made the Egel they were trying to outsmart Hashem. They were desperate without Moshe, so they took things into their own hands and made the Egel so that Hashem could speak with them through the Egel.

But the Jews should have accepted what Hashem had set as the path and been Tamim in this regard. Instead they tried to figure a work around.

The Parah Adumah is the antithesis or perhaps the antidote for the Egel. The Parah Adumah is beyond our understanding as it is a Chok. By following the rules of Parah Adumah, we say to Hashem ,we don't get it and we are not going to try figure it out. Instead, we are putting our trust in You that this the path that we should follow. 

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!