The Proof of the Potation Is In The Pyrotechnics

The Dallas Observer reports: Now, I have always been told that liquors burn at 100 proof (50 percent alcohol) or higher. In fact, some sources claim fires only start around the 57 percent range. There are even stories from the past seeming to confirm this. Tavern owners in the 1700 and 1800s would set a […]

Ascetics, Aesthetics, and Cosmetics

My halachah column for this past year’s פרשת נשא: In Parashas Naso (6:11), a Nazarite is commanded to bring a sin-offering. As we have noted in previous years, the Talmud (Bava Kama 91b) cites an explanation that this is to atone for the sin of having (unnecessarily) deprived himself of the enjoyment of wine. Elsewhere […]

The Song of the Warrior-Judge

From this week’s parshah: וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן, אֶת-הַתֹּף–בְּיָדָהּ; וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל-הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ, בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת. וַתַּעַן לָהֶם, מִרְיָם: שִׁירוּ לַיקוָק כִּי-גָאֹה גָּאָה, סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם.1 From the haftarah: וַתָּשַׁר דְּבוֹרָה, וּבָרָק בֶּן-אֲבִינֹעַם, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לֵאמֹר.2 How could Devorah have sung together with Barak, in apparent contravention of the principle of קול באשה ערוה? Rav […]