Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Re'eh

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 Devarim 14:22, the Torah states the mitzva of giving tithes (Ma'aser). R' Mansour mentioned that in an agrarian society, the tithe came from wheat, but in our time it is from money. He also quoted the gemara which makes a play on the words used for the mitzva of ma'aser --aser ti'aser which is literally translated as you shall give tithe. However the gemara in Ta'anis uses the word become wealthy --give ma'aser so that you will become wealthy.

R' Mansour quoted the story in the gemara where a child coming out of school was asked what did you learn today? He said that we learned this pasuk. R' Yochanan then taught him, give ma'aser so that you become wealthy. 

The medrash on this states that the wise man goes to the right, but the imbecile to the left. But what does this mean and how does wisdom connect with charity?

R' Mansour explained that the fool prays, but is looking for how many pages are left in the book (on the left side of the siddur) while the wise man looks at the right to see how much he has accomplished. The same can be said about learning, where the wise man is happy about how much ground he has covered, while the fool says the book is so long...

R' Mansour developed this thought by drawing a parallel between the work of learning and the giving of charity. He quoted the Kedushas Tzion who cites a gemara which states that in divrei Torah a person can be poor in one place but wise in another. There may be scant commentary on a sugya when it is mentioned in one gemara, but the footnote tells you that it is also mentioned in another mesechta where there is more explanation. 

R' Mansour gave another explanation. He said that when one starts learning gemara, it can be very discouraging, quoting a medrash on Bereishis 1:2 where the Torah states that there was darkness on the surface of the deep, that the pasuk refers to the Talmud Bavli which is dark and challenging. But after one gets bearing, the brain clicks in and the gemara can be understood. 

Applying this to the gemara, when a person is a young man the Torah may be very challenging and he feels "poor" in knowledge, but when he has more background in learning and he can pick up more, he feels "wealthy."

There is also a gemara in Megillah which states that a person who states ya'gati u'matzati --I worked and I found, he can be believed. This applies in the case of Torah, a person who toiled in learning Torah and says that he benefited and retained, should be believed. It may be hard in the beginning when you are working hard. But every great Rabbi had a period of toiling before it clicks. And when the person finally does have a retention and deeper understanding, he feels like he has found something.

R' Mansour said that giving charity is the same thing. A person may only feel a loss when he gives the tithe. He may look at the recipient while looking at his own bills and say, I could use that money to pay my bills. In so doing, he only looks to the current state. To this R' Yochanan consoles --you need to see the long term, the giving of the tzedakah will lead to wealth. Don't be the fool that only looks to your own financial needs, realize that giving the money will have a return. In the same way, dont be discouraged that the learning is heavy and that there are so many pages in the book. Do the work and it will come back to benefit you in the long term.
 
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, August 13, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe.

Although this beer is part of the newest fall seasonal mix box from Samuel Adams, I found it in the mix your own six refrigerated section of the Albany Colonie Price Chopper.

[Ed note--an anonymous commenter tipped me that it was not part of the variety pack. After I found it in the mix your six I checked the Sam Adams website and it clicked through the seasonal variety pack link, but its not part of the variety pack. Post a comment if you find it in sixers].

This beer is not your average hefeweizen. It starts with the phenols and then adds some levels of complexity with cinnamon and nutmeg. I'm sure that I must have had cinnamon spiced beer before, but this beer is unusual as it tastes like the offspring of a box of redhots and cloves.

The beer has a lower level of alcohol (5.4% abv) and could probably be used as a session brew. It worked well with chicken marsala and would probably match with other mild chicken dishes.

The Samuel Adams Harvest Hefe is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the bottle. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/294588. (Keep in mind, this beer is so new, there are virtually no reviews as of today).

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.

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, August 10, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Eikev

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.

The Parsha contains a pasuk which states - "lest you eat and be satiated and then build nice homes and live there." (Devarim 8:12). The Torah uses the term homes in plural form and says that they will be nice. The pasuk also states that the person will also have a lot of livestock and gold and silver. This is the epitome of success. However the Torah also warns about the possibility that the person will become conceited and say in his heart - I did this based on my strength and ability which brought me to this level of success.

R' Mansour noted that the Torah is not saying that a person should not work. Instead, the Torah is warning about thinking that the success can be attributed to his own actions without the assistance of Hashem.

The Targum explains on the pasuk that Hashem gives you the ability to be successful (Devarim 8:18) that Hashem gives the person the idea which is used to be successful. R' Dessler explains that the thought is like a light bulb, but it only lights because it is connected to the power source -Hashem. After all, why did this person have the idea and not someone else? Because Hashem wanted him to go forward with this plan.

R' Mansour also quoted the Meshech Chachmah who links this concept to Birkas Hamazon - the grace after meals. It is usually thought that the benching is said because a person should thank Hashem after having the food. However, the Meshech Chachmah writes that a person benches because after he eats he may feel satiated and high on himself. The next thought would be, I am feeling great and I alone am responsible for this. Thus the pasuk "lest you eat and be satiated" which is linked to the pasuk about benching - "v'achalta, v'savata u'beirachta" - you should eat and be satiated and then immediately - bench.

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, August 6, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager.

I admit that when I saw this at Oliver's in Albany I had no understanding of which anniversary Leinenkugel was celebrating. So I picked up a bottle and went to their website and read the background to this beer which explained that:
With over 550 years of brewing experience combined, this collaboration between Leinenkugel's and Hofbräu München celebrates Leinenkugel’s 150th anniversary with a blend of German tradition and American ingenuity. Brewed in the spirit of Reinheitsgebot, Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager is a German-style amber lager that incorporates some imported, German malts with unique American hops to create a beer that is flavorful, balanced, and refreshing.
Having iced the beer for a few days in the fridge, I tried it for dinner with Mrs KB's grilled filet and roasted purple potatoes. The beer poured a rich orange and had more body than I was expecting. There was malt, but also some hops and even a bit of nutty flavor. The beer has some creaminess as well, which was surprising for a bottled brew. 

Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, and has an OU on the label. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/710/279990

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.

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, August 3, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Va'eschanan

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.

Last year I posted for this parsha based on a shiur on learntorah.com entitled "Suspended Mountain at Matan Torah." At the time I posted part of the shiur since the shiur was an hour long, but I regretted not giving more of it. To remedy, I have reposted the highlights from last year along with some more of the shiur. [The new portion follows the ----- below].

This week's parsha contain the Torah's second explicit discussion of matan Torah. There is a famous medrash which states that at matan Torah, Hashem held the mountain over the Jews' head and told them - if you accept the Torah then great, if not you will be buried here.

The medrash is difficult to understand and has been the subject of many explanations. In this shiur, R' Mansour offered a novel interpretation in the name of the Chida. 

The Chida began his explanation by noting that the giving of the Torah was the wedding of the Jewish people and Hashem. But this creates a greater question - if this is a wedding then why was there an element of compulsion by having the mountain over their heads?

R' Mansour prefaced the answer by making reference to the concept of the Onnes - one who rapes a single girl. The rule applicable to this situation is that if the girl wishes to marry her attacker - he must marry her and is forbidden from divorcing her for all of his days.

The Chida applies this rule to matan Torah by way of the following scenario - before the Jews married Hashem, they had a concern - what if the Jews committed sins and Hashem wanted to kivyachol divorce them? Hashem solves this problem by making the chuppah "under duress" and that as a result, Hashem must follow the rule of the Torah and cannot send the Jews away.

R' Mansour then digressed to discuss how this week is called Shabbas Nachamu - that the Jews should be consoled. But why should the Jews be consoled - what changed from last week? Last week during Shabbas Chazon we were in galus and there was no Beis Hamikdash. This week too, there is no Beis Hamikdash and we are still in galus!

R' Mansour answered this quandry by discussing what the Beis Hamikdash stood for prior to its destruction. When it was around, the Jews would get kapparah based upon the avodah of the Kohanim. But this also allowed them to be lax, because they knew that the avodah would get them forgiveness.

R' Mansour then gave the following analogy - there was a great artist who painted a painting on site at a mountain. The artist finished the painting and took a few steps back to get perspective. He then took another few steps back. And then another few. Now, the artist was stepping backwards near the edge of a cliff. The bystanders yelled - "look out the edge is near", but the artist was solely focused on the painting and continued to walk closer to the edge. Out of desperation, one of the bystanders ran to the painting and cut it with a knife. The artist exclaimed "what did you do that for?" The man answered - you were so focused on the painting you would have fallen off the cliff.

So too the Jews kept looking at the Beis Hamikdash and thinking - this will cover all our acts. So Hashem  needed to destroy it in order for us to regain perspective. Even though He had to destroy His house and the Shechinah had to go into galus.

-----
At this time the Jews were nervous - will Hashem divorce them and send them away forever? The answer is that since the Jews were the me'anes, Hashem is stuck with them and cannot divorce them for all time.

R' Mansour tied that into the haftorah - Nachamu Nachamu Ami. As discussed above, yes things are the same as last week and the troubles of the week of Chazon are still here in Nachamu.  But Hashem's message is - you are still My nation ("Ami"). Hashem says to the Jews, you are still my nation and  I am not going anywhere. 

R' Mansour also tied this into a story in Parshas Vayishlach. After Ya'akov leaves Lavan he crosses the river and fights the angel of Esav. When he has subdued the angel, the angel gives him the beracha that his name will change from Ya'akov to Yisrael. A number of pesukim later, following the story of Dina, Ya'akov brings sacrifices and then is addressed by Hashem. Hashem then tells him your name is Ya'akov. But that will not be your name anymore, it will be Yisrael.

Why does Hashem repeat the same beracha that Ya'akov had already received from the angel? It would be like going to a Rebbi for a beracha and he says a beracha that the recipient should get married. He protests, I'm already married. He asks, why do I need the beracha if he already has it?

R' Mansour answered that the angel had an ulterior motive. The angel was saying --you were Ya'akov, the heel. But now you are higher --you are Yisrael. But if you sin now you can't slide back and blame your acts on being a heel. You are not just Ya'akov anymore. And while you may not, your children will be susceptible.

So Hashem straightens this out by saying to Ya'akov first --your name is Ya'akov. You will be called Yisrael, but don't worry. You will always be Ya'akov.

The message from Hashem is --you are Ya'akov. Even when Bnei Yisrael are not going to Bnei Yisrael and more like Ya'akov, don't be concerned. Because you will still be Ya'akov and I will tolerate their acts.

R' Mansour compared it to a husband whose wife has a drug problem. The husband says, don't worry, he will stay with her through rehab, even though she has chased illegal drugs. Kv'yachol, Hashem says, even though you are in rehab and have been in rehab for nearly 2,000 years, I will stay with you and stay loyal to you.

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 30, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Uinta West Coast IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Uinta's West Coast Style IPA.

The West Coast Style IPA is one of the latest offerings by this quality brewery. Although the neither the can nor the website explain where the beer derives its name from, the website identifies four hops which give this beer its unique flavor -Denali, Mosaic, El Dorado and Chinook.

The beer is on the higher end of the abv spectrum (for a single IPA) as it is 6.30% abv. There is quite a bit of hop bite in the beer and even though I had a bad cold when I drank it with Mrs KB's awesome salmon dinner (you never know what you can find under hashgacha in the local Walmart) I could taste the pine and even a bit of the alcohol backbone.

The website indicates that the beer has pineapple, mango and pine elements. I tasted the pine (see above) and even a bit of the mango. I did not detect the pineapple but this is not surprising since the beer is unflavored and I had a cold (also see above).

Uinta West Coast Style IPA is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and bears an OU on the can For the experts' take on the Uinta West Coast Style IPA, please click here www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1416/285570.

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.

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 27, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Devarim


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 Devarim 1:17 the Torah states that a Judge should not fear any man who is litigating before him because the judgment is Hashem's.

R' Mansour told a story which tied into this pasuk. There was a young Rabbi named R' Rephael who was named Chief Rabbi of Hamburg. Soon after he was named Chief Rabbi, a man came before him and complained that he was the victim of a fraud which had been perpetrated by the president of the shul.

After hearing the man's tale of woe, the Rabbi summoned the president to appear for a din Torah. The president did not answer the summons. The Rabbi then sent a second summons and again the man did not show up. The Rabbi next threatened the president with excommunication if he failed to appear on the third court date. However on the third court date, the President did appear...and when he did he told the Rabbi this was all a sham. The president explained that although R' Rephael had been chosen as Chief Rabbi, the people were still concerned about his ability to determine issues. As such, they concocted the fraud story in order to see if the Rabbi was strong enough to threaten the President if he failed to appear at a din Torah.

The president concluded that since the Rabbi made the proper decision to threaten the president if the president failed to appear for the din Torah, the people of the community were certain that the Rabbi was fit to lead.

R' Mansour gave a second explanation of the pasuk. He stated that if a Judge slants his decision because of a personal affinity for one of the litigants, he causes Hashem to work harder. Hashem had made a determination before Rosh Hashanah as to how much money each of the litigants should have for the year. If the Judge slants his decision and causes the transfer of money against the weight of the testimony, Hashem must work harder (kiviyachol) to make sure that the improper winner loses that money in some way and that the improper loser regains the sum of money which was taken from him. Thus when reading the pasuk, we see that Moshe was stating fact - don't fear any man and make an improper decision, because the Judgment is Hashem's and He will then have to fix what you have slanted.

It is "ironic" (or in the words of a former chavrusa Doniel H, the daf is laughing at you) in that this topic was covered in portions of Sanhedrin which we have been learning in Daf Yomi over the last week and a half.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click http://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 23, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Ella Blanc IPL + Bonus Nine Days Havdallah Guide


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Ella Blanc IPL.

If the kangaroo on the label is not enough a giveaway, the name of the beer comes from the Australian Ella hops which are used in the brew process.

The label also indicates that the beer is earthy and unexpected, but I found the beer to be mild and boring. There was little hop bite and some mild citrus, but the beer itself was more lager than "IP" anything. Although the beer indicates that it is 6.0% abv, there was no alcohol bite either.

The Samuel Adams Ella Blanc IPL is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K and has a Star-K certification mark on the bottle. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew, please follow this link - beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/217070.

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.

Bonus section - Nine Days Havdalah Guide.

In years past, I would receive numerous email and cell phone messages prior to Shabbos Chazon (the Saturday within the summer nine days mourning period) with questions as to what would be a good choice to make havdalah on. As the Shabbos of the Nine Days actually falls towards the end of the period, I have presented the annual Nine Days Havdalah guide in this post to allow people to get an early look at alternatives to wine.

By way of introduction, on Saturday nights after the evening prayer is said, Jews have a special set of blessings that are said by which we separate between the holy shabbos and the rest of the week. There is a custom to say this prayer on a cup of wine, however this custom needs modification when the Saturday falls during the nine days of mourning.

As noted by the Orthodox Union on their website:

Meat and wine are prohibited during the Nine Days, except on Shabbat. Meat and wine are associated both with joy AND with Temple service. Both reasons combine to explain this prohibition. Even though havdala is officially after Shabbat, one is permitted to drink wine. It is preferable to give the wine to a child who is old enough to understand brachot but not yet old enough to understand the concept of "mourning for Jerusalem". Alternately, some authorities recommend the use of a substitute beverage for havdala such as fruit juice, beer, etc. Other authorities insist on wine as usual.

Should your local Rabbi direct you to utilize non-wine in your havdalah, there are multiple options to use to fulfill the havdalah requirement. Indeed, my father in law will use diet soda (or as he says "diet pop"). I recall as a child seeing my father on one occasion use hard alcohol for havdalah (and then burn the decorative plate my sibling made when he tried to put out the candle).

To me, the simplest answer to the havdalah dilemma (and one that is widely recommended by rabbinic authorities) is to use beer, which in the time of the talmud was called chamra d'medina - the wine of the masses. This brings us to the reason I get more summer phone calls and email around this time every year - which beer would I recommend?

The number one problem with the question is that most people who ask me about it don't generally drink beer. It then becomes difficult to make a recommendation of a beer that they can use for havdalah that won't have them making faces in their attempt to drink the halachic minimum level for the blessing. A second problem is that since the havdalah cup is imbibed on its own (i.e. without the benefit of food) people who might be inclined to have a beer with a meal will still have problems finishing their cup when the beer is consumed on its own.

The easiest solution is not to have beer, but instead to make havdalah on what is commonly called alcopop. These are malt beverage drinks with some similarities to beer and a beer-like 5% alcohol content by volume, but do not have the beer taste. Some examples are the Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) Twisted Teas or the Smirnoff Twisted V/Twisted Ice line. Please be aware that not every flavor of Smirnoff is certified Kosher. There are also a limited number of kosher "hard sodas" such as Henry's Hard Soda (a MillerCoors brand under the OU) and Coney Island (a Samuel Adams brand under the Star-K)..

Another alternative is hard apple cider. Frequent readers of this blog may recall that for a time the Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider was not certified kosher by the Star-K, but they have again been certified kosher. For a current list of Angry Orchard ciders as well as the Coney Island Hard Sodas under hashgacha, please click here https://express.star-k.org/viewer/LOCViewer.aspx?PEFQZ4N3 (this will open a link which allows for a download of the LOC). Additionally, there has been an explosion of other kosher hard apple ciders, including Strongbow out of the UK, JK Scrumpy, Smith & Forge, Henry Hotspurs Hard Cider (a Trader Joe's brand) and Appleation.

There are also a number of fruit flavored beers which bridge the gap between alcopop and true beer. These include the Miller/Coors line of Redd's products, including Apple Ale, Blueberry Ale, Strawberry Ale, Cranberry Ale, Mango Ale and perhaps other (just look for the OU on the label). Earlier this month I reviewed some more mainstream mango beers like the Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/07/sunday-night-suds-rebel-juiced-ipa.html) and the Blue Moon Mango Wheat (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/07/sunday-night-suds-blue-moon-mango-wheat.html). 

If you do like beer, or would like to drink something that is more manly than alcopop, the next step up would be an American wheat beer or some of the better Summer Ales. Many of these beers have been reviewed on the pages of this blog and you can search through prior Sunday Night Suds reviews to find one that might appeal to you. If you are a beer aficionado, you obviously won't need this post to tell you which ale or lager you should crack open for havdalah.

Again, I would stress that you consult your halachic authority before selecting a havdalah alternative. My Rav advises me that beer would be the first choice, followed by malt beverages. I did not ask about how the non alcohol options fit into the list.

May the world have a tikkun from our three weeks/nine days observances and may tisha b'av soon be transformed to the holiday that the gemara tells it will be in the times of moshiach bimheira biyamenu.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click http://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 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.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

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!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Belated Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Cold Brew Coffee Lager


This week's (belated) Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Cold Brew Coffee Lager.

With things starting up for staff at Camp M, this week's Sunday Night Suds is a bit belated due to the move up schedule. So how else can I wake myself up after driving back and forth (and going to work) other than with a coffee lager.

The Cold Brew Coffee Lager is not a typical coffee infused brew as it does not attempt to mimic the earthiness of a stout, nor is it an ale with coffee undertones. Instead, this brew tastes like an iced coffee, sans sweetener. I did not detect hops or even any alcohol bite. Rather this beer is almost like an alcopop, albeit made for coffee drinkers.

Saranac Cold Brew Coffee Lager 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, Saranac brews some of its beers off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/235896.

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 22, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

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 began the vort by quoting the Gemara in Sanhedrin 109 which discusses the role of On Ben Pelet's wife. By way of introduction, the first pasuk of the parsha describes Korach's gang which included the instigators - Dasan and Aviram as well as On Ben Pelet. However, the Torah makes no further reference to On and he does not die in the plague or by being swallowed up by the ground.

The Gemara discusses how On's wife talked him out of participating in Korach's rebellion. She reasoned with him by saying --what is in this for you? You won't become a Kohain as this fight is among the sons of Levi and you are from Reuven. You will always be an On, so why get involved? This argument proved successful and On retreated to the inside of the tent while his wife sat outside and warded off Korach and his men. The Gemara links this to a pasuk in Mishlei in which it is written the Wisdom of a woman builds her house.

R' Frand then asked on this Gemara --why was On's wife effective? Korach's complaint was not only about the role that Moshe assigned to his brother Aharon. He also made fun of the shaving of the Levi'im and the fact that Moshe picked them up and waved them like lulavim. He also circulated a story about an indigent widow who Moshe supposedly required to give leket, shichicha, peah and ma'aser from her field. And when she had animals which gave birth, Moshe required her to give the first animal as a bechor and the Kohanim took their priestly gifts. As a result, she and her daughters died of famine. So why was On's wife able to convince him not to join the revolt?

R' Frand answered that On's wife was able to convince On that the revolt was not about the nepotism or the way that the Levi'im were treated. And the story about the woman was "fake news" invented thousands of years before the combover. She convinced him that the machlokes was entirely based on Korach's jealousy and his desire for power. Being a wise observer, she recognized that these other issues were merely devices to garner support, but at its core, a machlokes is never about the ancillary issues. It revolves around jealousy and a desire for money, or in this case, power. And since On was not in line to accede to any of the lofty roles that Korach sought, there was simply no reason for him to get involved.

R' Frand also said a second vort on the complaint by Korach that Moshe was "haughty". R' Frand quoted R' Bunim M'Parshizcha who R' Frand applied in a 20-21st century manner. He theorized that a person could not logically state that Einstein was a genius, but did not have a grasp of physics. You could perhaps say that he did not know how to balance a checkbook, but anyone who knew Einstein would reject the claim that he did not know physics.

R' Frand gave another example of a person saying that Warren Buffet was brilliant but did not know how to pick stocks. Again, anyone who knew him would reject this statement out of hand.

But since Hashem had said that Moshe was an anav and everyone knew him to be that way, what gave Korach the legs to make this argument?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Sfas Emes who stated that there are two kinds of anav. The first kind is a person who knows that he has talents and works hard at trying not to be arrogant or to give the impression that he is important. This person is always worried that people will think him haughty and he thinks about what others may perceive before he acts.

The second kind of anav is someone who has a close relationship with Hashem and by way of the connection, he is an anav. This person does not worry about others' impressions of him and he is naturally humble. 

Moshe was this second kind of anav and this freed him to occasionally take positions which to an outsider might appear to be hubris, but which was really just standing up for what was right.

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, June 18, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Negev Oasis Beer

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Negev Oasis Blonde Ale.

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 much of an indication about the style of the beer, I thought that it was cool that there was a beer brewed in the Negev, so I added it to my six pack at the store.

The Oasis poured a darker orange than I expected, but the flavor was pretty close to American Blonde Ales. There was a bit of malt and some citrus, but the overall hop flavor was pretty subdued. I In some ways this beer reminded me of the Layla brew which was produced by a defunct brewery in Ashkelon. I would not mind trying this again if it ever makes it to the US.

The Negev Oasis Blonde Ale is certified kosher by Rabbi Weiss of Kfar HaRo'eh,. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this brew (yes its on BA), please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/29093/247241.

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, June 15, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shelach

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.

There are two stories of meraglim (spies) which will be read on Shabbos. There is the story in Parshas Shelach wherein Hashem told Moshe to send the spies, making the task a mitzva and there is the story in the Haftorah from the book of Joshua which discusses the spies sent to Jericho.

R' Frand first asked about the spies sent in Parshas Shelach ---If Hashem knew that the task was fraught with danger, why did He order that they be sent in the first place ("Shelach Lecha")? 

R' Frand then quoted the Medrash on the spies sent in the book of Joshua wherein they are referred to as being unparalleled in their endearment to Hashem because they were Sheluchei Mitzva --messengers tasked to perform a mitzva, who risked their lives to do His will. And who were these praiseworthy men who risked their lives - Kalev and Pinchas. And they went forth and were moser nefesh and succeeded.

The Medrash notes that when Kalev and Pinchas entered the city of Jericho, they were pottery  (Klei Cheres) salesman. They simply set up shop out in the open and anyone who wanted to buy pottery would come and buy from them. It was a simple way not to be called spies, since they were out in the open as "salesmen."

R' Frand quoted the Sfas Emes who addressed the first question by stating that Hashem knew that the spies in Parshas Shelach were in a dangerous position. It was for this specific reason that he made the sending of the spies a mitzva ---because if Hashem endorsed the desire to send the spies and made it a mitzva instead of a voluntary act, the mitzva will protect them. However, the spies did not take on this task as a mitzva. Instead they viewed it as a task for personal gain. In contrast, Joshua sent the spies as a mitzva and they viewed it as such and succeeded.

The Sfas Emes then asked ---why did they specifically choose to be pottery salesmen? He answered that pottery is not intrinsically valuable, it is utilitarian and serves a specific purpose to hold or store things. It is for this reason that a kli cheres is not mitamei from the outside and only becomes tamei when something tamei comes into (or in contact with) the inside of the vessel.

R' Frand closed this part of the vort by noting that a person who goes to work needs to realize that he is serving as a "butcher, baker or candlestick maker" because he needs to earn a living in order to support a family and give tzedakah and not to simply amass personal fortune. We are vessels which hold our souls and we need to realize that the jobs we perform are a mechanism to fulfill a task, not an end of itself. This is not an easy mindset to have as there are many distractions which may cause us to feel a need to work in order to earn prestige or build our bank accounts. But if a person who works realizes that this is simply a means to support his family and to use the earned funds to perform mitzvos, he can succeed like Joshua's men.

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, June 11, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Citradelic Exotic Lime Ale

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium Citradelic (the other one).

Last year New Belgium introduced the first Citradelice (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/05/new-belgium-citradelic-tangerine-ipa.html) a fantastic tangerine flavored beer which drew accolades wherever I brought it. For reasons I can't fathom, this year New Belgium created another beer which it also calls Citradelic, although with the extension of "exotic lime ale." But other the name, these two brews have very little in common.

The beer has a hazy pale straw color with a hint of citrus emanating from the glass, but the sips are all artificial lime, almost like someone poured lime juice into a bottle of blonde ale and mildly shook it up.

If you are into sweet lime flavor, this beer might be for you. If you are looking for a beer light on hops but calling itself an ale, this beer might be for you. But if you are looking for an ale with a little hint of fruit, just keep walking down the beer aisle.

The New Belgium Citradelic Exotic Lime Ale is under kosher supervision by the Scroll-K/Va'ad of Denver, but 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 Citradelic Exotic Lime Ale click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/262267.

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, June 8, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beha'alosecha

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 Bamidbar 11:1, the Torah states that the Jews were "K'Misonninen Ra" in the ears of Hashem. R' Frand opened the parsha portion of the shiur by exploring what the word Misonninen meant. He first quoted the Ibn Ezra as cited in the Ramban which states that the Jews says words of sinning. But how do we see that from the pasuk and what was their sin? 

The Ramban rejects this interpretation and instead states translates the word as complaining. He notes that the Jews had just left Har Sinai which was close to civilization. They were now travelling in real desert and were wondering what they would eat and drink. But the language that they used was indicative that they were complaining about their own lot, akin to the pasuk in Eicha (3:39) which states "Mah Yisonnen Gever"  --of what shall a living man complain? 

The Ramban explains that Hashem's problem was that the Jews made themselves out as if they had real problems and it appeared as if they were rejecting the good that Hashem had done for them. The Jews should have been happy and joyous that Hashem had taken them out of Egypt with many great miracles and then given them the Torah. But instead they expressed a "woe is me" attitude which showed no regard for all the good they had received. R' Frand remarked that Hashem does not tolerate those who do not show thanks for what they received.

R' Frand quoted the Brisker Rav who said that a man who has a penchant for jealousy or anger is a deficient person. However, one who does not recognize the good that another person has done for him is not even a person.

R' Frand also quoted a Rashi on Devarim 32:6 wherein the Torah states "Ha L'Hashem Tigmilu Zos Am Naval V'Lo Chacham" -- Is this to Hashem that you do this, you vile and unwise people? Moshe is chiding the Jews for complaining about the good they received. Rashi compares them to a carcass of a dead animal - a neveilah.

R' Frand then connected this with Bamidbar 11:4-6 wherein the "asafsuf" complained about not having meat to eat and how they longingly remembered the gourds and watermelons they ate in Egypt. In the next pasuk the Torah describes the Manna as like coriander seed and the color like the bedloach. Rashi explains that the one who made the complaints in 11:4-6 was not the same as the One who described the Manna. The Jews complained --we only have the Manna to eat and Hashem spoke in praise of the qualities of the Manna and said look at this miracle which you are rejecting.

R' Frand also quoted a story from R' Pa'am who said that a man once came to him and said that he was having shalom bayis issues. Why? Because every day when he came home from work the house was a mess and strewn with toys and this was impacting his relationship with his wife as he constantly complained about the state of the home. R' Pa'am commented that how many families would give anything to have a home full of messy children instead of childless marriages.

R' Frand also talked about how the greater the person, the greater their sense of recognizing the good that Hashem has done for them. He quoted a Medrash on Parshas Shemos that when Hashem told Moshe to leave Yisro and go down to Egypt, Moshe said to Hashem --first I need to ask Yisro's permission because he has hosted me these years in Midyan. R' Frand commented that Moshe did more good for Yisro than Yisro did for Moshe, since Moshe saved Yisro's daughters at the well and married one of them. Yet in Moshe's eyes it was important to recognize the good that Yisro did for him.

R' Frand quoted the Baalei Mussar who say that a person has a natural inclination not to thank someone who helped him, if the doer gets paid to do that job. But we see from Moshe that there is a need to thank everyone who helps you.

R' Frand had a few more stories to illustrate this point, but I may save them for a future blog post.

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, June 4, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Nitro White Ale


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

I remember going on a tour of the FX Matt Brewery not long after I started writing this blog and being amazed that craft brewers were actually canning beer. It seemed to me at the time that the only beer that came in cans was Bud or other macro lagers and I could not remember trying a beer from a can which did not taste like metal. The tour guide explained that they had engineered cans which did not react with the beer and that (then) beer could be canned without a reduction in flavor.

Fast forward to 2016 (yes I know its 2017) and I caught my first glimpse of the Samuel Adams nitro cans. Much like the concept behind the rocket widget in the Guinness bottles, these nitro cans are manufactured in a way that the beer which is poured is creamy and tastes almost like it came from tap. And yes, the Samuel Adams Nitro White Ale is creamy. The pour gave foam which was reminiscent of having beer straight from the tap at the brewery with reach cream at the top of the glass.

Although the good folks at BA call this is a witbier, it really is light on the phenols and there is little to no clove taste in the brew. But it is rich and creamy with a little of complex flavor towards the end of the swallow.

The Samuel Adams Nitro White Ale 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/35/197070.

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, May 28, 2017

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Strawberry Tart Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Strawberry Tart Ale, yet another of the proliferation of tart ales which is sweeping breweries across the nation.

As I noted in my post for the New Belgium Tartastic (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/04/sunday-night-suds-new-belgium-tartastic.html) I have been trying to like Tart Ales and have tried quite a few over the last  year, including the Leinenkugel BeerGarten Tart  (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/08/sunday-night-suds-leinenkugel-beer.html); the Boulevard Tell Tale Tart (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/08/sunday-night-suds-boluevard-tell-tale.html) and the New Belgium Fat Sour Apple Ale (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2016/08/sunday-night-suds-new-belgium-fat-sour.html). 

Unlike many of the tart ales that I have tried, the tart flavor derived from the yeast is not the most prominent note in the beer. Instead, this beer has the distinct flavor of strawberry with a slight tang. You have read that correctly, if you were to take strawberry jam and and bottle it in thin liquid form, it would be this Strawberry Tart Ale.

If you are looking for something different with some fruit to try at your Shavuous table...I still would not recommend this beer in six pack form. But if you are patronizing a beer store that lets you buy singles, then you should pick up a bottle of this brew and share it with others as it probably goes well in shot glasses with (sweet, not savory) blintzes.

Saranac Strawberry Tart 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, Saranac has begun to brew some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/269740.

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, 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 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 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.

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!