Sunday, April 11, 2010

For a Refuah Shelemah

Dear Friends,

Please add Malka bas Beyle in your prayers for a refuah shelemah. She will be having surgery tomorrow (4/12/10).

Thank you,

Paul Radensky

Cholent Review - Parashas Shemini

This past Shabbos Hashem blessed me with success with two cholents. The first cholent was my regular meat cholent, whose recipe I have discussed on this blog before. The second cholent (assembled by my son, Binyamin) was a version of the North African hamin called Dafina. For various reasons that cannot be discussed here, I could not follow the recipe precisely as I found it on the Internet, but I think what I did do was a good approximation and was even acknowledged as such by one the Sephardic members of the congregation. I used our other six-quart Hamilton Beach slow cooker and threw in a large cup of barley (pssst - not traditional - real Sephardim use rice in cheese cloth) and three cups (or so) of chickpeas (after having been soaked overnight), two baking potatoes and a sweet potato. I also added two large teaspoons of black pepper, two large teaspoons of salt, some paprika (maybe a teaspoon), a small amount of cayenne pepper, a quarter cup of olive oil, raw eggs (in the shells) and the coup de grace, two large teaspoons of ground cumin. I did not add any meat since I used the parve slow cooker. I put the pot on the heat at about 7:15pm and took it off at about 12:30pm the next day. It was spicy and delicious, and had an excellent consistency! The eggs, which were boiled in their shells, came out brown! I hope that I will have another opportunity to make this great cholent again soon.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Songs of Songs

Among my fondest memories of Rabbi Kret, z"tzl, was the way he would chant the megilos on the holidays. His chanting of Koheles for Sukkos was so moving and so sad, that it would be hard not to weep. The way he chanted the Song of Songs was also incredibly beautiful. For him, Shir ha-Shirim really was a love song between God and Israel and to hear him leyn with such passion was in itself a deeply religious experience.

This past Shabbos we were treated to another amazing rendition of Shir ha-Shirim. Unfortunately, Rabbi Kret is no longer with us, so Gabriel Wasserman, a rabbinical student from YU walked down from Washington Heights and leyned for us the megilah. Gabriel is a brilliant and talented young man who is an excellent and meduyak (precise) baal koreh and also a trained sofer (he also writes his own blog under the name Mar Gavriel). When I wrote that he leyned the megilah, he really did. He wrote his own Megilas Shir ha-Shirim and after reciting the berakhos, read it beautifully and with passion. He is of course, quite different than Rabbi Kret. Rabbi Kret brought with him the experience of prewar Poland, and to some degree the Holocaust, in all that he did, and Gabriel is a young man who was raised here in America. Nevertheless, despite the differences, the religious fire was similar and it was an awesome experience to hear this amazing book be read.