Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beha'aloscha

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 Bamidbar 8:3, the Torah writes that Aharon kindled the lamps of the Menorah as Hashem  had commanded Moshe. Rashi explains that this was written as praise to Aharon in that he was not "Shina" from what Moshe commanded. [Yes, I did not translate that word on purpose].

The basic explanation of Rashi's p'shat is that Aharon was praised for not changing what Moshe commanded. But the meforshim are bothered by Rashi's explanation. Why should Aharon be praised for not disobeying Moshe's command? Was there a thought that Aharon would not follow the command?

The Sfas Emes explains Rashi, stating that if a person does something 1,000 times he could and usually would lose enthusiasm for his acts. However, for Aharon, each and every time he had the same energy and enthusiasm as the day that he was commanded to light for the first time. Thus he did not "change" from the first lighting.

R' Frand also quoted the Izbizur Rebbi [sp?] who explains the word "Shina" as "repeat". He clarified that Aharon lit the lamps every day, but each time he had a different set of kavanos, and did not repeat the act with the same rote thoughts. R' Frand tied this into the famous question as to why the Torah repeats the sacrifices of each nasi in Parshas Nasso. He explained that the Torah did not just write "ibid" because each nasi had his own set of kavanos when he brought his sacrifice - thus each one needed to be mentioned separately. 

R' Frand next spoke on Bamidbar 9:1-5 which discusses the Pesach sacrifice brought in the second year that the Jews were travelling in the desert. The Torah writes in Bamidbar 9:1 that the sacrifice was brought in the first month of the second year after the Jews left Egypt. 

R' Frand observed that this was in contrast to Bamidbar 1:1 which took place in the second month of the second year after the Jews left Egypt. Thus the sefer Bamidbar actually began with an event which was later in time. Rashi comments that this an example of the concept of Ein Mukdam - there is no specific chronological order. Rashi further states that this is mentioned later in Bamidbar (as opposed to being the beginning of the sefer) because it is a g'nai to the Jews - it casts them in a negative light because this Pesach in year 2 was the last time a Korban Pesach was brought by the Jews before they entered Israel.

The Maharal asks on this Rashi - but why is that a negative statement about the Jews? They did not bring the sacrifice because Hashem told them not to bring it again until they were in the land of Israel!

The Maharal first answered by citing Tosafos who explain that it is a g'nai for the Jewish people because it was their sinning by crying out for the meraglim which caused the Jews to be unable to enter Israel until year 40. Had they not sinned, they would have not missed a year of sacrifice. The Maharal comments on Tosafos' answer that if a person is patur - relieved from an obligation to do a mitzva, it is still a negative that he cannot fulfill it.

The Chiddushei HaRim has a slightly different answer to the same question. He first observed that in the same perek is the story of the people who were tamei because they were carrying Joseph's bier, but still wanted to bring a Karban Pesach (Bamidbar 9:6-13). They complained that they had not done anything wrong, but could not bring the sacrifice, using the language "Lama N'gara" - why should we be diminished? 

The Chiddushei HaRim explains that the Jews had a similar potential complaint - they could have asked for a "work around" or another exception which would allow them to bring the sacrifice. But they did not complain or seek another way to bring the Karban Pesach. Instead, they were satisfied with living without the Karban Pesach, and this was a g'nai for them.

R' Frand gave the example of a person who comes home from shul on the second day of Sukkos and sees its raining. He could jump and say "OK, I am relieved from eating in the Sukkah" and then eat in the house. Or he could wait to see if the rain will break because he would rather be in the Sukkah.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Belgium - Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale.

I first saw this beer at Target but could not bring myself to buy a six pack of a beer which billed itself as containing watermelon and lime. I am generally not a fan of shandys and the thought of a beer which had this much sweetness did scare me. But when I saw it a week later at my favorite beer store (which allows you to mix six packs!) I took the plunge and bought a couple to try over Shavuous.

The beer poured a light copper with noticeable foam which lasted for quite some time. There is a strong odor of watermelon which Mrs KB felt was a little too artificial, but I did not find unpleasant. I did not detect any lime, but the ale worked better with watermelon than the lager backbone does with a shandy. The resulting beer was refreshing and light, but not something that I would attempt to pair with anything more substantive than a salad.

New Belgium Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale is under the Kosher Supervision of the Scroll-K of Colorado. Although the beer does not bear the kosher symbol on the label, the Scroll-K kosher symbol can be found on the bottom of the six pack holder.

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 Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/207483. 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.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Nasso

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.

Parshas Nasso includes the language of Birkas Kohanim which can be found in Bamidbar 6:23-26. The third pasuk of the blessing ends with the words V'Yasem Lecha Shalom- that Hashem should establish peace for you.

R' Frand observed that the verbiage of establish peace is curious, as a more common expression for the granting of peace would be one V'Yitain - that Hashem should give peace.  However, even in the blessing of peace which concludes Shemoneh Esreh, the language of the beracha begins "Sim Shalom."

R' Frand quoted R' Chaim Kanievsky, who explains that there are two ways to make peace. There can be peace when two feuding friends or business partners shake hands and make up. There is also peace when the business amicably dissolves and the parties go their separate ways. 

R' Kanievsky explains that the use of the word "Sim" demonstrates a peace where the parties do continue to coexist. He demonstrates it from the pasuk in Vayikra 6:3, which discusses the Terumas Hadeshen, the removal of the ash from the altar. The Torah writes of the Kohain - "V'Samo" that he should place the ashes by the altar. The Gemara in Temurah explains that this placement was to be peaceful, with the ashes all together in one place and not scattered. 

This is the blessing of peace.

R' Frand closed the vort by discussing the minhag of wishing Yasher Koach to the Kohain after he completes the priestly blessing. [My father has always been a strong observer of this minhag and he has it on to me as well]. 

R' Frand quoted the Rashash who explains that the minhag of the kohanim is to remain by the aron until the completion of shemoneh esreh, so that when they come down the congregation can wish them yasher koach without violating the proscription against speaking during chazars hashatz. 

R' Frand asked - why is this a mitzva to wish them yasher koach for fulfilling the obligation to bless the Jews? This is a relatively easy mitzva to perfom. Besides, no one wishes you a yasher koach when you take a lulav, or sit in the sukkah or put on tefillin. So why is this different?

R' Frand answered that birkas kohanim is different because the kohanim are commanded to bless the Jews "B'ahava" - with love. This commandment requires the kohain to bless with a full heart, even if the kohain himself is having problems which are weighing on his mind. So this yasher koach is coming to thank the kohain for putting aside the personal troubles on his mind, so that he blesses the Jews with a full heart.

R' Frand illustrated this by giving the example of going to a wedding. One can congratulate the new couple by wishing them a monotone mazel tov, or by being laudatory and praising them. A person attending the wedding might feel jealous because his life is not perfect and the new couple has everything set for them. However, the correct way to congratulate is to do it with a full heart and be happy for others despite not having a perfect life of his own.

This is the challenge to the kohain - to look beyond his personal troubles and with full mouth bless the Jews. One who can do so is certainly deserved of a yasher koach.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bamidbar

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.

After the counting of the Jewish people, Moshe is instructed not to count the Levi'im and then Moshe is told briefly about the specific job of the Levi'im to carry the Mishkan. The parsha then discusses the flags and marching configuration for each of the cluster of three tribes. The Torah then counts the Levi'im. Next, the Torah gives a detailed explanation of the jobs of the Lev'vim.

R' Frand opined that if one were to be asked to edit or organize the parsha it would not be with bits and pieces interspersed - it would be a discussion of each individual topic and then moving on to the next topic. But since we are merely mortal and Hashem had a plan for the way that the parsha is organized, we need to try to understand why the parsha is sequenced in this fashion.

R' Frand quoted the sefer Shemen HaTov which quotes R' Yaakov Kaminetsky, who notes that this parsha takes place in the second year of the Jews' journey in the midbar. Why did Hashem wait until now? And did everyone just wander without direction for the first year?

R' Yaakov explained that flags are wonderful things, but they also serve as a separation. A flag can lead to competition and factionalism. R' Frand analogized this to the four branches of the American armed forces which have rivalry between the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The only way that the four forces can coexist and work together is if there is a unifying force - the ideal of service and defense of the country. 

R' Yaakov said that the reason that there were no flags during the first year in the desert was because there was not a centralizing force to bring everyone together. This did not come until the Jews' built the mishkan. Once there was a mishkan which traveled in the center of the camp, there was glue to hold the Jews together and everyone could have jobs and flags.

The Shemen HaTov takes the next step and explains that this is why the concept of the Levi'im not being counted and the brief discussion of their job in carrying the mishkan is mentioned before the degalim - in order to introduce the concept of the unifying force before there is a discussion of the separate degalim.
R' Frand next quoted a medrash in Medrash Rabba on Bamidbar which states that when Hashem came down on Har Sinai to give the Torah, there were 22 units of 10 angels, each with a flag. The Jews saw this and they became passionate for flags of their own. The Jews asked Hashem for flags at that time. Hashem observed that the Jews had a passion for the flags and he told them that because they wanted the flags, He was giving them to the Jews.

But what is special about flags that Hashem would speak to the Jews that way?

R' Frand answered that a flag designates a special or specific task. An angel has a specific unique task and that is its role. The Jews saw the flags and wanted them - not because they wanted a flag, but because they wanted specific roles and they wanted to know what those roles would be. This is why Yaakov gave "blessings" to his children in Parshas Vayechi which do not appear to be blessings - but they were - because Yaakov was telling his sons about their specific characteristics and personalities. 

When the Jews saw the flags they saw every angel with its mission. Hashem heard their prayer and said - yes I will give each of you your own flag/task.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Night Suds - Shiner Haymaker Extra Pale Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Shiner Haymaker Extra Pale Ale.

I found this beer in the mix your own six aisle in the local Stop & Shop. I later learned that this brew was being reintroduced as part of the Shiner variety pack for 2016. But since Stop & Shop had this out in the mix section I did not need to buy the variety pack in order to score one of these.

But to the beer - they may call this an extra pale ale, but there is almost no ale in this beer (at least as far as I can tell). The beer poured a golden yellow with nice foam which coated the glass. There was some hops in each sip, but this beer has more lager in it than Pale Ale. There was no pine or citrus and no bitter whatsoever. The beer was mildly carbonated and within half an hour of the pour, the carbonation in the glass was negligible.

The Shiner Haymaker Extra Pale 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 the Shiner Haymaker Extra Pale Ale, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/150607.

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 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 2, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bechukosai

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.

The parsha begins with the words Im Bechukosai Teleichu - which is translated as "If you will walk after My laws." R' Frand asked - why does the Torah use the word Teleichu - to walk or follow after the laws? 

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Meir Shapiro who explained a different pasuk - L'chu Banim Shimu Li which is translated as "go my children, listen to Me." R' Shapiro asked - why does it say go instead of come? R' Shapiro answered that the term "go" is used, is because the proof of whether someone succeeded in yeshiva is how someone acts after they leave the yeshiva. The person is directed - go out and now we will see how you listen to Hashem, whether you continue to keep up with your learning and your middos after you have left the yeshiva.

The Tolner Rebbi explains that this is why the Torah uses the words Im Bechukosai Teleichu - which the mefarshim explain means that a person should work hard in his Torah learning. The test is how a person acts when he is in the business world and not in the yeshiva - will that person continue to act with middos.

The Tolner Rebbi tied this into a story about the Pnei Menachem who was the son of the Imrei Emes - one of the Gerrer Rebbeim. His father taught him the siddur when he was a little boy. When they began learning Kriyas Shema She Al HaMitah, the Pnei Menachem asked his father - why is this called the Shema She Al HaMitah if it is read before the person gets into bed? The Imrei Emes answered that this is Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim and we cannot accept Hashem when we are sprawled on our beds. The child then asked - so why is it not called the Shema which is read before we get into bed or near the bed? The Imrei Emes answered - because this is when we see what effect the person's learning of the day had on them. If the learning was real - then even the sleeping is kedusha. 

R' Frand closed by saying lets see when a person is driving (L'chu) whether they have middos and how they are acting.

R' Frand next asked why the mefarshim explain that Becukosai - the Chukim - the laws we do but we don't understand - are the examples of how we should be working hard in Torah? The concept of working hard in limud hatorah is rational or intellectual. The term chok is not associated with limud hatorah.

R' Frand answered by quoting the Beis HaLevi on Mishpatim who explained the concept of Na'aseh V'Nishma. Included in the Na'aseh is the concept of limud - you need to learn what to do in order to keep Shabbos or Kashrus. But then what is the Nishma? The Beis HaLevi explains that this is that we will learn anyway - even though we already know what to do.

R' Frand then asked -but if you know how to do something why do you need to learn about it. If someone has been driving for 50 years, do they need to read the driving manual? When you pick up your cellphone do you look for instructions before you use it? 

This is the chok of limud hatorah - you need to review and learn it again,even if you know it already. 

R' Frand quoted the sefer Abir Ya'akov who told a story about a man who was walking and his friend drove up and asked if he wanted a ride. The man responded "no, thank you." I am walking because I need the exercise, because the doctor told me its good for me to do so. I am not walking to get somewhere, I am walking because I need to walk.

R' Frand explained that this is the Im Bechkosai Teleichu - that a person should work hard in learning - not because you don't know what to do, but because you need to learn.

R' Frand told a story about his first year in Ner Yisrael and he went in to see the Rosh Yeshiva and saw that the Rosh Yeshiva was shuckling while intensively learning Meseches Gittin. He did not need to learn it, but he was working hard in his learning.

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