Monthly Archives: February 2017

Rabbinic Judaism and the New Testament parallels

Judaism and Christianity are different religions: They have different concepts of the nature of God, revelation, salvation, and messiah. But Jesus, his family, and first generation of followers were all Jewish. Historians of religion hold that later Christian doctrine, such as the Trinity, were not taught by Jesus, but rather were developed centuries later by the Church Fathers.

People assume that the teachings of Jesus are radically different from Judaism, but that’s not really correct. This belief comes from comparing the words of Jesus to the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament.) But Judaism is not based on a literal reading of the Bible – rather, it understands the Bible through an oral law – Torah she’be’al peh תורה שבעל פה. These teachings are found in Mishnah, מִשְׁנָה, classical Midrash מדרש compilations, Talmud Yerushalmi (תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשָׁלְמִי) and Talmud Bavli ( תַּלְמוּד בבל ) And when we look at this oral law, we find that many of the words Jesus spoke were very similar to Judaism.

Jesus is presented as an opponent of the Pharisees, the largest of the Jewish groups that existed during the time of the Second Temple.Yet Jesus’s words were often in alignment with the Pharisees – as opposed to the other Jewish groups at the time (Sadducees and Essenes.)

After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the basis for Rabbinic Judaism. We can find remarkable lists of parallels between Jesus and rabbinical Judaism

A Rabbi’s Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play, by Joseph Krauskopf

Some Rabbinic Parallels to the New Testament,  Solomon Schechter, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Apr., 1900), pp. 415-433

Rabbi Arthur Segal compiled this set of parallels between the teachings of rabbinical Judaism and Jesus in the New Testament.

The New Testament is a set of various books finalized around 100 CE.
The books of rabbinical Judaism are known as “the oral law”, and include material from a few centuries before Jesus, through the redaction of the Mishnah (200 CE), the various classical Midrash compilations (100 to 600 CE) and the two Talmuds (circa 550 CE)

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
 Talmud: Yoma 85b: Rabbi Jonathan ben Joseph said: It (the Sabbath) is committed to your hands, not you to its hands.  Mark 2:27: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
 Tosefta Shavuot, ch. 3 :One who betrays his fellow, it is as if he has betrayed God.  Matthew 25:45: Then shall he answer them, saying, Truthfully I say to you, in as much as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
 Talmud: Bava Mezia 58b: He who publicly shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood.  Matthew 5:21-22: Insulting someone is like murder.
 Kallah, Ch. 1: One who gazes lustfully upon the small finger of a married woman, it is as if he has committed adultery with her.  Matthew 5:28: But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
 Talmud Taanit 7a : Rabbi Abbahu said: The day when rain fails is greater than [the day of] the Revival of the Dead, for the Revival of the Dead is for the righteous only – whereas rain is both for the righteous and for the wicked  Matthew 5:45: That you may be the children of your Father in heaven: for God makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
 Talmud Berachot 17b: In the case of the recital of the Shema Yisrael [prayer], since everybody else recites, and he also recites, it does not look like showing off on his part; but in the case of the month of Av, since everybody else does work, but he does no work, it looks like showing off.  Matthew 6:1: Take heed that you do not say your prayers before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father in heaven.
 Talmud Bava Batra 10a – 10b: What kind of charity  is that which delivers a man from an unnatural death? When a man gives without knowing to whom he gives. and the beggar receives without knowing from whom he receives.  Matthew 6:3:  But when you do works of charity, let not your left hand know what your right hand does.
 If one draws out his prayer and expects therefore its fulfillment, he will in the end suffer vexation of heart, as it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Talmud, Berachot 55a  But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.- Matthew 6:7
 Rabbi Eliezer the Great declares: Whoever has a piece of bread in his basket and Says. ‘What shall I eat  tomorrow?’ belongs only to them who are little in faith . – Talmud Sotah 48b  Do not worry about where your food will come from tomorrow, or your drink. – Matthew 6:25-31
A parable: [They were] like a man who was kept in prison and people told him: Tomorrow, they will release you from the prison and give you plenty of money. And he answered them: I pray of you, let me go free today and I shall ask nothing more! – Talmud Berachot 9b

Talmud Beracoth 9b – Each day has enough of its own troubles.

 Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. – Matthew 6:34

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
A righteous yes is a Yes; a righteous no is No. – Talmud Bava Batra 49b

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. – R. Abaye, Talmud Baba Metzia 49a

 Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. – Matthew 5:34-37
 Rabbi Johanan said: Since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children. – Talmud Bava Batra 12b  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. – Matthew 11:25
 Even as R. Zera, who, whenever he chanced upon scholars engaged thereon [I.e., in calculating the time of the Mashiach’s  coming], would say to them: I beg of you, do not postpone it, for it has been taught: Three come unawares: Mashiach, a found article and a scorpion. – Talmud Sanhedrin 97a  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Matthew 24:44
 They who are insulted but insult not back; who hear themselves reproached but answer not; who serve out of love and rejoice in their affliction–of them it is written in Scripture: They that love God are as the going forth of the sun in its might. – Talmud: Yoma 23a, Gittin  36b  and  Shabbat  88b  Love your enemy. – Matthew 5:43

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love your neighbor , and hate thine  enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; – Matthew 5:43

 If a man said, “I will sin and repent, and sin again and repent”, he will be given no chance to repent. [If he said,] “I will sin and the Day of Atonement will effect atonement”, then the Day of Atonement effects no atonement. For transgressions that are between man and God the Day of Atonement effects atonement, but for transgressions that are between a man and his fellow the Day of Atonement effects atonement only if he has appeased his fellow – Talmud Yoma 8:9  Therefore if thou bring your gift to the altar, and there rememberest that your brother hath aught against thee; Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
Talmud Rosh Hashanah 17a – Only if you forgive others will God forgive you.

Talmud Shabbat 151b – One who is merciful toward others, God will be merciful toward him

 Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses …

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.—Matthew 5:7

 Jerusalem Talmud  Pe’ah 15b – It happened that Manobaz had squandered his father’s wealth to charity. His brothers admonished him: “Your father gathered treasure and you wasted it all!” He replied: “My father laid up treasure where human hands control it; I laid it up where no hands control it. My father laid up a treasure of money; I laid up a treasure of souls. My father laid up treasure for this world; I laid up treasure for the heavenly world.”  Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth …
Talmud Pirkei Avot 2:14 – Do not judge your fellow until you have been in his place.

Talmud Pirkei Avot 4:10 – Do not be a judge of others, for there is no judge but the one (God).

 Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged …
Talmud Sotah 1:7 – By a person’s standard of measure, is he, too, measured.

Talmud Shabbat 127b – How you judge others, does God judge you.

Talmud Sanhedrin 100a, attributes to Rabbi Meir the saying: “The measure which one measures will be measured out to him.”

 Matthew 7:2 … with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Talmud Arachin 16b – Rabbi Tarfon said, “I wonder if there be anyone in this era who will allow himself to be reproved. If someone says to another, ‘Cast out the speck that is in your eye!’ he will retort, Cast out first the beam that is in your own eye!'”

Do they say, take the splinter out of your eye, he will retort: “Remove the beam out of your own eye.”—R. Johanan, surnamed Bar Napha, 199-279 A.D., Baba Bathra 15b.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam that is in your own eye?—Matthew 7:3

 

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
 The day is short, and the work is much; and the workmen are indolent, but the reward is much; and the Master of the House is insistent.—R. Tarfon, 120 A.D., Aboth 2:15 The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.—Matthew 9.37
He who humbles himself for the Torah in this world is magnified in the next; and he who makes himself a servant to the Torah in this world becomes free in the next.—R. Jeremiah, died 250 A.D., Baba Metzia 85b Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.—Matthew 23:12
Talmud Yoma 85b – Yom Kippur atones for all sins, but first you must reconcile your conflict with others. Matthew 5:23-24… first be reconciled to your brother.
Talmud Rosh Hashanah 17a – Only if you forgive others will God forgive you.

Talmud Shabbat 151b – One who is merciful toward others, God will be merciful toward him

Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses …
 Jerusalem Talmud Pe’ah 15b – It happened that Manobaz had squandered his father’s wealth to charity. His brothers admonished him: “Your father gathered treasure and you wasted it all!” He replied: “My father laid up treasure where human hands control it; I laid it up where no hands control it. My father laid up a treasure of money; I laid up a treasure of souls. My father laid up treasure for this world; I laid up treasure for the heavenly world.” Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth …

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
Talmud Pirkei Avot 2:14 – Do not judge your fellow until you have been in his place.

Talmud Pirkei Avot 4:10 – Do not be a judge of others, for there is no judge but the one (God).

Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged …
Talmud Sotah 1:7 – By a person’s standard of measure, is he, too, measured.

Talmud Shabbat 127b – How you judge others, does God judge you.

Talmud Sanhedrin 100a, attributes to Rabbi Meir the saying: “The measure which one measures will be measured out to him.”

Matthew 7:2 … with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Talmud Shabbat 31a – What is hateful to you, do it not unto others — this is the entire Torah, and the rest is commentary. Matthew 7:12 Do to others what you would have them do to you …
He who is merciful to others, shall receive mercy from Heaven. – Talmud Shabbat 151b

Sifri, Ekev No. 49 – As God is, so shall you be: As God is merciful, so shall you too, be merciful.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. –Matthew 5:7
 Just as I teach gratuitously, so you should teach gratuitously. – Talmud Beracoth 29a Freely you receive, freely give. –Matthew 10:8

 Rabbinic Judaism  Christianity
 He who humbles himself for the Torah in this world is magnified in the next; and he who makes himself a servant to the Torah in this world becomes free in the next. – Talmud Baba Metzia 85b Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. –Matthew 23:12
 

Rabbi Arthur Segal analyzes these verses and concludes:

As we can see because Jesus was indeed a Pharisee Talmudic rabbi, from the House of Hillel, from the liberal tradition, as were his followers, he was teaching to those in Judea who were either followers of the more strict school of Rabbi Shammai, or still considered themselves Hebrews, and following the cult of the priests. The priests at the time of Jesus were corrupt, not of the line of Aaron, nor Kohan’s, but were Hasmoneans and Roman puppets. The Talmudic rabbis despised them saying ‘if you meet a priest and his is arrogant, you can be sure of his lineage.” The Talmud states that God’s holy Presence did not reside in the second Temple.

Jesus was preaching to Jews and Hebrews Talmudic spiritual Judaism and in cases were Talmudic law was trumped by Talmudic law, he was quick to tell those who would listen. Unfortunately, in the Christian bible, the words Jew and Hebrews get interchanged, and it sounds as if Talmudic Jews were still mired in the Temple priestly cult which Jesus, as the rabbis too, were against.

 

Whiskey Reviews page 4

Another page of archived reviews! See the newest reviews here at Bob’s whiskey review blog

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Old Weller Antique Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

img_20161120_212713

Today I am pleased to review Old Weller Antique, distilled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, in Kentucky, this is perhaps the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. Owned by the Sazerac Company. Aged for 7 years, sold at 107 proof, this bourbon comes from the same distillery, barrels, warehouse, and mash bill as the famed and elusive Pappy Old Rip Van Winkle, which sells for hundreds of dollars on the secondary market! Thus, Old Weller Antique is a great value as it is commonly sold for under $25. I picked up mine at Kappy’s, in Medford, MA, which was noted as a store chosen, single barrel selection.

Appearance: dark auburn color. Nose – caramel, perhaps a hint of orange?
Palate – this is one full and rich bourbon. Almost fruity, perhaps a hint of vanilla. You can taste the oak. Smooth & easy to drink, with very little burn. And I am sensing a sweetness that I don’t get with a lot of whiskeys, which I am attributing this to being a wheater (a bourbon where wheat is the second largest grain in the mash bill, after corn.) Definitely going to pick up another bottle of this fine product.

The following spirits are produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery. Old Weller Antique – known to bourbon aficionados simply as OWA – is included under W. L. Weller , all of which are wheated Bourbons. The four versions of W. L. Weller are

W. L. Weller Special Reserve, 90 proof.
Old Weller Antique, 107 proof, which is what I am reviewing today.
W. L. Weller 12 Year, 90 proof.
William LaRue Weller (proof varies year-to-year)

buffalo-trace-distilery

“Buffalo Trace Distillery.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Nov. 2016

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Spirit of Boston New World Tripel
Spirit of Boston Thirteenth Hour
Spirit of Boston Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout

I was fortunate to have a tasting at Kappy’s Fine Wine & Spirits – Route 1 (Malden, Mass.) They offered me a chance to sample three new whiskeys… well, whiskey-related spirits, from Boston Harbor Distillery. This is the Spirit of Boston – Limited Release, a set of three whiskey-related spirits based on the mash bill of ” distilled from three distinct Samuel Adams beers – New World Tripel, Thirteenth Hour, and Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout.” This set of three 375 ml whiskies has a list price of $120. To reveal my bias, I’m not a fan of beer – never found one that I enjoyed. A bit ironic, since I am a whiskey drinker, and whiskey may be considered a highly distilled (and then aged) beer. So although none of these three whiskies struck me as terrific, a fan of these styles of beer may enjoy them very much.

“It’s not whiskey because it’s flavored, but it’s not a flavored whiskey…we don’t even know what to call it,” says Couchot of the holiday spirits that have been distilled from three Sam Adams craft brews. Hence the name “whiskies” in quotation marks.”Bevspot: Holiday Gift Spotlight: Boston Harbor Distillery

13th Hour Stout, the one that tasted most like a traditional whiskey, has a wheat, beer-like finish. Based on the mashbill of Samuel Adams’s “Latitude 48 Deconstructed IPA – Hallertau Mittelfrueh” You can read here more about Hallertauer Mittelfrüh Hops.

New World Belgian Tripel, too spicy for my tastes, perhaps from the hops. The mash bill includes what Samuel Adams calls “Kosmic Mother Funk”, which means that it is “fermented with multiple micro-organisms including Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and other wild critters found in the environment of our Barrel Room.” Samuel Adams: Kosmic Mother Funk, Grand Cru.

Merrymaker Gingerbread Stout, floral, gingerbread notes. Interesting, and I would like to try this again. The mash bill includes oats, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger, and East Kent Golding Hops.

Chilledmagazine article on this product
Boston Harbor Distillery: Spirit of Boston
You Can Now Drink Whiskey at the Boston Harbor Distillery – BostInno Streetwise

boston-harbor-distillery

The backs of the bottles provide details.

boston-harbor-distillery-b

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

What is Scotch whisky?

By law, any whiskey made in Scotland – usually spelled whiksy– must follow certain rules; these rules demand that the product be labeled as “Scotch”; it is illegal to produce whiskey made in Scotland that doesn’t conform to the definition of Scotch. Scotch must be made and labelled according to the rules stated below. It must be aged in oak casks for no less than three years, and have an ABV less than 94.8%. No whiskey may be labeled Scotch unless it was completely made in Scotland.

Scotch Whisky Association: Scotch Whisky Categories

Single, Malt Scotch Whisky
A Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery (i) from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and (ii) by batch distillation in pot stills. From 23 November 2012, Single Malt Scotch Whisky must be bottled in Scotland.
100% malted barley only. Many people think of this as the classic Scotch.

Single, Grain Scotch Whisky
A Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery (i) from water and malted barley with or without whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals, and (ii) which does not comply with the definition of Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
So this is not just malted barley! The mash bill may include any of the following: un-malted barley, wheat (this is the most common non-barley grain used in Scotch), and it could even include corn, rye, triticale or spelt. However, this would generally contain at least 5% malted barley, to begin the chemical process of saccharification [producing fermentable sugars.] One could also use malted corn or rye, but process is more complicated.

Blended Scotch Whisky
A blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies WITH one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies.
So this would have to include a whiskey with a mash bill of something other than malted barley.

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
A blend of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.
The mash bill thus would consist of malted barley only.

Blended Grain Scotch Whisky
A blend of Single Grain Scotch Whiskies, which have been distilled at more than one distillery.
In this case, all of the source scotches had ingredients other than just barley. In fact, the sources could contain almost no barley, and be an almost pure rye, corn or wheat base scotch, although that would be rare indeed to find.

Definitions from http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/understanding-scotch/scotch-whisky-categories/

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

New Year’s eve 2016/17

Macallan 12, Double Cask
Dewar’s White Label, Blended Scotch Whisky
Bushmill’s Black Bush Irish Whisky

black-bush-dewars-macallan

Dewar’s: Pale yellow color. 80 proof. I have no idea how this has become the number one selling Scotch in the USA. This is the third time I’ve tried Dewar’s blended Scotch whiskey, White Label. Just doesn’t appeal to my tastes. I’m not getting much in the way of pleasant flavor. It’s just shockingly sweet. Whatever complexity others may taste, I’m not getting it after this acrid sugary blast.

Black Bush, a blend of whiskies from 7 to 11 years old. 80 proof. Aged in Oloroso Sherry casks, and in ex-bourbon casks. Distilled in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Old Bushmills Distillery is now owned by Jose Cuervo. A far better drink that Dewar’s, and it has an audience, but I’m not a fan. Gentle sherry nose. A thin palette, although you can definitely taste the sherry influence.

The Macallan 12 Year. 86 proof. Mash bill 100% malted barley. The distillery is in Craigellachie, Moray, northeast Scotland. Macallan Distillers L is owned by the Edrington Group. Aged in oak sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. Color: Copper/Amber. Nose: Sherry, amaretto. Palate: Sweet, sherry, plums, has a round mouthfeel. Definitely some smokiness, although this isn’t a peated whiskey. By far, my favorite of the three whiskies that I tried this evening.

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Blanton’s single barrel bourbon whiskey

From the Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Kentucky. Launched in 1984 by distiller Elmer T. Lee. Perhaps the first single barrel bourbon product. Thanks for introducing me to this, Albert. This is the real deal!

Color: Reddish amber.
Palate: Full and smooth, sweet, with tones of caramel and orange.
Mash bill: Corn, rye and malted barley.
Aged approximately 9 years, no age statement, in American white oak barrels, #4 char.

Blanton’s is a single barrel bourbon, which means each bottle has spirit from only one particular aging barrel – no mixing. Update December 2016 – I just tried Blanton’s again for the first time in almost a year. I was impressed at how much more I liked it this time. I did enjoy it last time, but this time it almost seemed to have a series of honey-like notes. It wasn’t the gold, or the straight from the barrel, or anything special. Just your standard Blanton’s. Amazed at how smooth it was. I guess that’s what a year of tasting various types of whiskeys can do to you. Really open your palate to the amazing array of flavors that can be discovered within.

blantons-bourbon

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Chanukah Sameakh! חנוכה שמח

I built a whiskey-bottle-menorah 🙂

Chanukah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is observed by the kindling of a nine-branched menorah (called a Chanukiah), one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The extra light, with which the others are lit, is called a shamash (שמש‎‎, “attendant”). The ancient menorahs were made with wicks in olive oil; today some menorahs are still oil based, but most use candles. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes. (- adapted from the Wikipedia article.)

whiskey-bottle-menorah-2

whiskey-bottle-menorah-1

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Old Forester Signature 100

This is a hell of a good straight bourbon whiskey- and a steal at just $22. Old Forester Signature 100 was recommended to me by one of the guys who works at one of the New Hampshire state liquor stores. Some history:

It is officially the longest running Bourbon on the market today (approximately 144 years as of 2015), and was the first bourbon sold exclusively in sealed bottles. It was first bottled and marketed in 1870 by the former pharmaceutical salesman turned bourbon-merchant George Garvin Brown – the founder of the Brown-Forman Corporation (whose descendants still manage the company). During the Prohibition period from 1920 to 1933, it was one of only 10 brands authorized for lawful production (for medicinal purposes).
Old Forester. (2016, November 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Mash Bill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Barley Malt. No age statement; as a straight bourbon it’s been aged at least 2 years in new charred oak barrels, but likely four or more years older. Warm, powerful, at 100 proof it packs a wallop, so I prefer to have it with a few ice cubes. After it sits for a minute, the ice melts, the proof lowers, and then the flavors come out. Has some decadent chocolate or coffee notes, oak and vanilla notes to it.

Would be great to get a chance to compare this with the recent special release, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, 2015 – but that runs well over $200, and the reviews for it don’t appear spectacularly better than this $22 bottle. I wonder if bourbons that cost ten times as much are truly three times better? Or perhaps they are just slightly different, and I’m quite happy with this one!

old-forester-signature-100

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

My bar this December 2016

my-whiskey-bar-dec-2016

Winchester bourbon whiskey
Winchester rye whiskey
Black Powder Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Jim Beam Black Extra Aged

Sitting down to compare these samples I picked up at Total Wine. Two come from Terressentia Corporation, a distillery in North Charleston, South Carolina. They have created a buzz with their so-called TerrePURE technology. According to their website they specialize “in contract production of distilled spirits. We produce spirits for large retail chains, individual brand owners, and other distilleries or exporters.” Instead of aging whiskey, they use chemistry to accelerate chemical reactions, would normally would in whiskey over a period of years.

The Winchester bourbon whiskey tastes young, but not terrible. The label says aged a minimum of 6 months in New Oak. Produced and bottled by TerrePURE Spirits. For something so young it’s surprisingly not terrible. The Winchester rye whiskey has the same description, and a completely different flavor. It tastes young, thin, and is markedly inferior to its bourbon whiskey cousin. Compared to a good rye whiskey like Pendleton 1910 or Knob Creek Rye, I’m afraid that the Winchester Rye isn’t very good. In fact, if I may be so blunt, it’s absolutely terrible.

Black Powder Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – There were some decent reviews of this on the TotalWines website, and often I agree with crowd-sourced reviews more than professional ones, so I took a chance on this. But who makes it? The bottle says LeVecke, but their website vaguely says that it “develops, bottles and markets products in each spirit segment for any corporate brand product line-up.” Translation: They buy generic whiskey, and bottle it under other names. The result, for this label? No great nose, no great impression on the front or rear palette. Utterly forgettable. I sipped it slowly over ten minutes, and dumped the other half of the 50 ml bottle down the drain.

Jim Beam Black Extra Aged – 86 proof, aged in white oak charred barrels. A step-up in product from Jim Beam base product, white label. No age statement. I believe that their original black label was aged 8 years, but this product has since dropped it’s age statement. Chuck Cowdery estimates that the product, which has now lost its age statement, is still likely to be between 4 to 9 years old.

When tasting this, I compared it to Knob Creek, aged 9 years, and Weller Special Reserve. This Jim Beam Black Extra Aged had far less of a nose than the other two bourbons, and it wasn’t especially appealing. Nothing wrong, just not much there. The taste was thin and easy on the front palette, but on the back palette it was rougher, less pleasant. In contrast, Knob Creek (also a Jim Beam product) was a completely different animal! A full, rich sweet nose, fuller on the front palette, and far more pleasantly flavorful on the back palette. Better than both was Weller Special Reserve (reviewed earlier in this blog.)

winchester-terrepure

Is it even possible to make good whiskey quickly, without aging, though chemistry? The idea is anathema to most of the whiskey-drinking world, but I did find some good articles on the topic:

https://bottomofthebarrelbourbon.com/2015/04/10/better-aging-through-chemistry/

Rapid-Aging Whiskey Technology: GAME CHANGER OR GIMMICK? by Jake Emen –

https://redwhiteandbourbon.com/2015/06/23/the-fallacy-of-instant-bourbon-part-i-the-claims/

https://redwhiteandbourbon.com/2015/07/03/the-fallacy-of-instant-bourbon-part-ii-the-science/

Long Term Changes In Whiskey Maturation

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses Yellow Label

A friend and I traveled to Codex, a 1920’s style speakeasy in Nashua, NH, to enjoy the city’s annual Winter Holiday Stroll and cocktails in style. Here I tried Four Roses Small batch. The origin of Four Roses is unclear. Some accounts credit Rufus Mathewson Rose, post Civil War, but the Four Roses web

site now credits a Paul Jones, Jr, who trademarked the name in 1888. In 1910 Four Roses was produced at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Seagram purchased this brand in 1943. The brand went through a period of highs and lows, with dramatically changing mash bills and recipes. A series of ownership changes in the 2000’s led to the distillery being purchased by the Kirin Brewery Company of Japan. Under their leadership, Four Roses began producing a variety of highly regarded, straight bourbon whiskeys, one of which we’re reviewing today.

So what is in Four Roses Small Batch? The mashbill is a mix of four recipes used by Four Roses: OBSO, OBSK, OESK, OESO. The OB batches have 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley, and the OE batches have 75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley. They’re aged in new charred oak casks. 90 proof. No age statement – I looked at other reviews, and some stated that Four Roses Small Batch is about 8 years old. Details on the Four Roses recipes may be found here.

Nose: A light fruit sensation, almost flowery. Palate: Much greater than one might expect from the nose! Light the front palette, a hint of citrus, an almost apple-like tartness. Refreshing. A bit of caramel and oak develops on the back palette. A delicious, lingering finish. Now I definitely want to compare this to the “bottom shelf” version, Four Roses Yellow Label Straight Bourbon, as well as to the more upscale single barrel selections.

Here’s another informative review on this fine whiskey (sure, I link to other blogs, why not?) The Casks.com Four-roses-yellow-label

Four Roses Yellow Label

Much more affordable than the Small Batch, Yellow Label is the base version of the Four Roses bourbon family, and it’s surprisingly excellent. My 750 ml bottle was just $15! It’s not quite as refined as the small batch, perhaps a tad less smooth, and a bit lower in proof – but this is a fine drink that I have shared with friends, all of whom enjoyed it very much. Very glad I purchased this bottle. I enjoyed this even more than other somewhat more expensive whiskeys, like Knob Creek (which in of itself is a good product.)

Age: No age statement, but other reviewers, based on their research peg it as being around 6 years old. The mashbill is a mix of 8 to 10 recipes used by Four Roses, with corn, rye, and malted barley. They’re aged in new charred oak casks. 80 proof.

four-roses-bourbon
photo from http://www.facebook.com/pg/fourrosesbourbon/photos/

So where did we do this evening’s tasting? At the Codex BAR, a 1920s-Inspired Speakeasy Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire.

[During the Prohibition] Speakeasies popped up in every city across America…. Codex isn’t an ordinary bar, it’s a speakeasy. Inspired by the Prohibition Era, this bar is hidden. And by hidden I mean it’s disguised as a used bookstore on Elm Street… This storefront, however, is not the actual entrance… To get in, you’ll have to go down the side alley and find the unmarked door… Once you enter the “bookstore” you’re presented with a large bookcase and an apparent dead end…. take another look at the books. One of them is actually a secret lever! Pull the right book on the shelf, and you’ll be granted entrance through a secret door into the bar…. Read on: New England Today: Codex speakeasy

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery is Austin-Niochols in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Age: A blend of 6 to 8 year old bourbons. I’ve read that the mash bill is 75/13/12 corn/rye/barley. 50 Proof. Appearance – Light maple syrup color. Palate: Much better than the Canadian Club that I had previously; this bourbon has a toasty kind of quality, black peppery and rye spices. Rougher around the edges than the Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve. A bit strong for me to drink straight, I’d use this as a mixer or in cooking (heresy, I know!)

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Contents

Whiskey blog: Main page and new reviews

Page 5, Irish whiskey special

Page 3: Blended and flavored whiskies, other spirits, and even wine.

Page 2, 2016

Page 1, 2016.

Useful articles on whiskey

Is all whiskey and Scotch kosher?

Mamzer

A mamzer (ממזר‎‎) is a person born from certain relationships forbidden by Jewish law. The common English translation is “bastard”, which has some similarities to a mamzer, but it is not the same as “illegitimacy.” Jewish law does not consider a child illegitimate if the mother happens to have been unmarried. As such, to avoid confusion we do not use “bastard” as a translation. We simply use the Hebrew word.

A mamzer is a person born out of adultery by a married Jewish woman and a Jewish man who is not her husband, or a person born out of incest.

Mamzer status is not synonymous with illegitimacy, since it does not include children whose mothers were unmarried.

Biblical origin

A mamzer (ממזר‎‎) shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
— Deuteronomy 23:2

Understanding of this term in rabbinical Judaism

A mamzer is the offspring of a biblically forbidden union (Yevamot 4, Mishnah 13: “כל שחיבין עליו כרת בידי שמים”. – Circa 200 CE

According to the Shulchan Aruch, a mamzer can only be produced by two Jews (Shulchan Aruch, “Even haEzer” 4:19). Circa 1560’s CE

A child born of a married woman’s adultery is a mamzer. The child of a single woman and a man she could lawfully have married is not a mamzer (Shulchan Aruch E. H. 4.) It is irrelevant if the man is married or not.

If one of the parents is not Jewish then the child can’t be a mamzer.

In order to make certain that almost no child would have the status of mamzer, the rabbis canonized legal fictions that prevented the term from being used in many cases, for instance:

A child born within 12 months of a woman’s most recent meeting with her husband is presumed to be legitimate (Shulkhan Arukh 4:14)

Any child born to a married woman, even if she is known to have been unfaithful, is nonetheless halakhically presumed to be her husband’s (Shulchan Aruch, “Even haEzer” 4:15)

In the last century, much of the Orthodox Jewish community has made significant, and some would say harmful, changes to Jewish law on this issue. People being educated in Orthodox yeshivas are no longer even taught the wide array of traditional views on the subject, and students graduating even as rabbis are unaware that halakha has a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy on this subject: It is literally forbidden to ask if someone is a mamzer.

The concept of mamzerim was discussed in the Rabin Mishna Study Group: Daily Mishnah Study in the climate of Masorti (Conservative) Judaism. Rabin Mishnah Study Group, by Rabbi Simchah Roth.

****************************************************

Mamzer: A person who was born of parents who were prohibited from marrying each other by Torah law. For this reason translations such as “bastard” and “illegitimate” are misleading. In western law a bastard is a person whose parents did not happen to be married at the time of his birth. A Mamzer [or Mamzeret] is a person whose parents were prohibited by Torah law from marrying at the time of her conception; the parents could not have married even if they had wanted to. The main cause of mamzerut is adultery by the woman.

The non-adulterous union of a Kohen with a woman otherwise prohibited to him, does not cause mamzerut. (Many Conservative rabbis today consider the restrictions on the marriageability of a Kohen to be obsolete, and they have substantial halakhic reasons to support their opinion. In any case, this has nothing to do with mamzerut.)

Halakhically speaking, the ‘mamzer’ suffers no disabilities except one: a ‘mamzer’ can only marry a ‘mamzeret’ (and vice-versa) and their descendents will be ‘mamzerim’ in perpetuum! This is such a terrible situation for a human being to find himself in that not only Conservative rabbis, but all decent-minded rabbis, make every effort to obviate the situation. This cannot be done, halakhically, by erasing the status as if it did not exist; the best approach has always been to find some valid reason why the person is not, in fact, a ‘mamzer’ as at first thought.

Halakhic solutions which get rid of the problem:

Solution #1

Rabbi Tarfon says that Mamzerim can become rehabilitated. How? If a Mamzer marries a Canaanite servant-woman [shifchah kena’anit] the offspring will be a Canaanite servant [Eved kena’ani]. If he grants the servant manumission his son has become a free man. Rabbi Eliezer says that he is but a Canaanite servant who is also a mamzer! (His suggestion was feasible only in his time.
Rabbi Tarfon says that a mamzer can become rehabilitated. The Hebrew word that I have translated thus is “litaher”, which really means “can become purified” or “purged” – of
the taint of mamzerut. We learned at the end of the previous mishnah that the offspring of both the Canaanite servant and the mamzer take their status from the mother.
[Unlike Jewish servants, under Torah law non-Jews held in service to Jews are partially “Jewish” and can regain their freedom only by manumission. The status of the Eved Kena’ani and the Shifchah Kena’anit was amply discussed on RMSG between 16th November and 5th December.]

Rabbi Tarfon’s idea is that if a free Jewish man who is also a mamzer takes a gentile woman as his Canaanite servant and has a child by her, the child is automatically also a Canaanite servant. The father, who is also the master, has the right to grant his slave-son his freedom at any time. The son, upon being manumitted, becomes a fully-fledged Jew and can marry any Jewish woman he chooses! I suppose that in Rabbi Tarfon’s time this was ‘neat’. I wonder whether anyone noticed that it only solved half the problem: a mamzeret could not ‘pull the same stunt’ by marrying an Eved Kena’ani, since her offspring would take her status. Rabbi Tarfon’s elder contemporary, Rabbi Eliezer, denies the feasibility of the halakhic ‘trick’.

The Gemara [Kiddushin 69a] discusses whether Rabbi Tarfon’s proposal is acceptable ‘a priori’ – as a valid halakhic procedure in all cases. The final conclusion is that this is the case and that the halakhah is according to Rabbi Tarfon (and not according to Rabbi Eliezer).

Something to think about: All lines of descent from antiquity are suspect…Given the long tumultuous history of the Jews, there were many periods when records of personal status were not kept accurately, and certainly not universally from community to community. People of mamzer ancestry definitely married within the general Jewish community without the community realizing it.

In fact, in Temple times no Kohen was permitted to officiate in the Bet Mikdash unless he had a certified pedigree lodged in the Temple secretariat. All others who claimed to be kohanim (let’s say because their father told them so) but could not bring authorized proof of their status, were still considered to be priests, but could not officiate as such. This is the status of ALL kohanim today.

Question: Hmm, might this not this mean that we are all mamzerim?

No! In Western jurisprudence there is a basic ‘presumption’ – that all people are innocent of wrongdoing, and even those accused of a crime benefit from this presumption until it has been conclusively proven to be untenable in a duly constituted court of law. This is what we call the ‘presumption of innocence’.

In halakhah there is a similar presumption as regards personal status: “kol Yehudi be-chezkat kasher” – every Jew is presumed to be of unblemished pedigree unless there are solid and factual reasons for denying him or her the benefit of that presumption.

Cf. Rambam Issurei Biah 19:17; Tur Even ha-Ezer 2, Bet Yossef Even ha-Eezer 2:2:a, Shulchan Aruk ibid.

Solution #2

Another “cure” for mamzerut is “assimilation” – and it is the obvious solution for our own times. This matter is deliberated in the Gemara, Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 71a, as part of the discussion on the first mishnah of Chapter Four. The Jews of Babylon were of the opinion that the Jews in Eretz-Israel were not as meticulous as they should have been concerning the ‘kashrut’ of families suspected of not having a pure Jewish pedigree. Rabbi Yochanan, probably the most influential and most prestigious of the Amoraim of Eretz-Israel (he died around the end of the third century C.E.) virtually admits the accusation … “but what can I do about such a family, seeing that some of the most illustrious people of our age have assimilated into it?” The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yochanan is of the opinion that “once a family [of impure pedigree] has become assimilated [into the fabric of Jewish society] – it is assimilated [and accepted]”.

This opinion became accepted halakhah! Rambam [Maimonides] codifies as follows:

“If an impure element mixes in the pedigree of a family, and this fact is not generally known, ‘once it has assimilated, it has assimilated. Anyone who knows of this is *forbidden* to publish the information, but must let the family continue in its presumption of unblemished pedigree.”

Solution #3

We must also recall the famous dictum of Rabbi Yehoshu’a ben Levi [Kiddushin 71a, top] that “money purifies mamzerim” [“kessef metaher mamzerim”].

Rashi interprets this extraordinary statement as follows: when mamzerim become affluent, other people cease to be concerned with the blemish on their pedigree! Another interpretation from the Middle Ages links the Hebrew word “kessef” with the same root in Aramaic which also means “to blanch with shame”: if mamzerim are ashamed of their status and ‘keep it quiet’ they will soon assimilate and the status will disappear.

Solution #4

Most rabbis would keep no records of presumed mamzerut, would do their best to prove that the person was not a mamzer (as did Goren), and the mamzer would do well to move to an area where he/she was not known, so that they could eventually assimilate into the general community, as we have previously discussed. If the matter is not known it will not be a problem.

The possibilities that exist for modern mamzerim who are _aware_ of their halakhic status are:

(1) to refrain from procreation altogether so as to prevent this “curse” falling upon a new generation;

(2) to brazenly ignore the halakhah altogether;

(3) to procreate with a life-partner “without benefit of clergy” (i.e. without Chuppah and Kiddushin);

(4) to reside in an area where their relative anonymity can be maintained and their halakhic status is unknown, to choose a life-partner and to procreate with that life-partner after Chuppah and Kiddushin have been performed.

I do not believe that as Conservative rabbis we have the power to demand option #(1), so I do not see the point in discussing its ethical aspects. We cannot condone option #(2). So we have to choose between options (3) and (4). I know which option I would prefer. [ #4 ]

Related articles

Morality, Halakha and the Jewish Tradition