Pro­duc­ing con­tent on the Web since 1995.

some say­ings of ר‘משבצונה“ל

For many years I have worked hard, and strug­gled with mas­ter­ing virtuous. Now, in addi­tion, I’m work­ing on becom­ing more virtual.
This is an expres­sion of that effort.
* * * * * * *

השיבנו ה‘ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו
כעוד לא היו
* * * * * * *
ומביא גאלה…

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All pho­tographs are by Mark Hurvitz unless they are obvi­ously not (or credit oth­er­wise is given).

The pho­tos in the ban­ner at the top (only a shal­low sliver of a much larger photo) are either from our home or our trav­els and are offered for their beauty alone (though a brain-teaser for me: “Where was that?”).

what do you put in your coffee?

[cross posted at The Jew and the Car­rot]

Phar­isees of course

A Tiny Vial of Pharisäer

A Tiny Vial of Pharisäer

Ever-sensitive to appear­ances of Jew­ish ref­er­ences in pop­u­lar cul­ture, I was a bit sur­prised to read Mau­reen Dowd’s head­line in The New York Times on Sun­day, July 19, 2009: “Phar­isees on the Potomac

I did not see any men­tion of late antiq­uity in her col­umn and it was not until a num­ber of hours later that I real­ized she had used the Chris­t­ian allu­sion to Phar­isees as hyp­ocrites! Shame on her and shame on her edi­tors (I won­der if William Safire saw the col­umn). As the Wikipedia makes quite clear:

Because of the New Testament’s fre­quent depic­tions of Phar­isees as self-righteous rule-followers, the word “phar­isee” (and its deriv­a­tives: “phar­i­saical”, etc.) has changed in mean­ing and has come into semi-common usage in Eng­lish to describe a hyp­o­crit­i­cal and arro­gant per­son who places the let­ter of the law above its spirit. Jews today (who sub­scribe to Phar­i­saic Judaism) typ­i­cally find this insult­ing if not anti-Semitic.

but what does this have to do with coffee?

When Deb­bie and I trav­eled in Europe in the spring of 2006 our route took us from Mainz to Hameln. We climbed out of the Rhine val­ley and spent the night at a lovely camp­site out­side of Als­feld.

camping near Alsfeld

camp­ing near Alsfeld

The fol­low­ing day, we had the entire day to accom­plish a two and a half-hour drive. So when we found our­selves in down­town Als­feld we took advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion. We had a cou­ple of errands to accom­plish and needed to pur­chase some food for lunch so we stopped and explored the mar­ket square, the old wood-beamed build­ings and a cou­ple of the small shops along the main mar­ket street.

In one of the tiny shops we found a small bot­tle of Heimbs Kaf­fee labeled PHARISÄER. It turned out to be a bit of coffee-flavored rum (or per­haps rum-flavored coffee).

Need­less to say, I bought a cou­ple of bot­tles as sou­venirs. I have added a drop or three to my own cof­fee peri­od­i­cally. I could not find any other ref­er­ences to it at the time, but Mau­reen had me think­ing more about the Phar­isees, so I began a search. The story is told by Christina Geyer, an Amer­i­can expa­tri­ate in Ger­many on her blog which I repro­duce here:

The weather-beaten coastal res­i­dents of the North Sea have always had a pas­sion for freshly-brewed, strong cof­fee — as opposed to their tea-drinking cousins from the beaches of the Baltic Sea. Espe­cially appre­ci­ated was the black brew with a rich ingre­di­ent that was a hall­mark of Flens­burg: Rum! Noth­ing weighed on the brave peo­ple more though, than to bother their watch­ful preacher with this small vice. And so they cam­ou­flaged the feel-good cup — in the form of an airy dol­lop of cream. Nat­u­rally, it didn’t take long for the man of God to dis­cover their tac­tic and in his out­rage he cried: Oh, you pharisees!

I’m fas­ci­nated by the ety­mol­ogy of the name for this drink and would like to learn more about it. I’ve yet to find a more author­i­ta­tive source.

no more “Pharisees”

My bot­tle is nearly empty. I have not found any source for import­ing more Heimbs Kaf­fee PHARISÄER to New York to stock on my shelf. How­ever, even if I can replen­ish my sup­ply, I hope that Mau­reen Dowd removes the word from her shelf of avail­able pejoratives.

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