Pharoah’s Cupbearer and Baker as Cultural Conflict of Wine vs. Beer, featuring Dr. Jon Greenberg [The Jewish Drinking Show Episode #116]

A story we encounter in the book of Genesis that, at first glance, may seem to have something to do with drinking could also be seen as having a lot to do with drinking. I am speaking about that concerning Pharoah’s cupbearer (drinks-master) and his baker, whom Joseph meets in jail and interprets their dreams. Of course, the cupbearer/drinks-master clearly is a man of wine and drinks, in general, our guest for the 116th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show argues that these two figures represent a cultural conflict of wine versus beer.

Dr. Jon Greenberg, our guest, runs Torah Flora, which is devoted to the study of plants and nature in Torah and Jewish tradition. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools, and botanical gardens. Since 1989, he has been a science teacher and educational consultant. Dr. Greenberg was Senior Editor of science textbooks at Prentice Hall Publishing Co. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef, the School of Education at Indiana University, and the University of Phoenix, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his Masters and Doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel’s Yeshivat Hamivtar and conducted research on corn, alfalfa, and soybeans at Cornell, the US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cancer Research.  In 2021, he published Fruits of Freedom, a Passover Hagadah with a commentary from the perspective of the history of Jewish food and agriculture.  Dr. Greenberg can be contacted at Jon [at]

In addition to being available below in video format, the episode is also available in podcast format on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you prefer listening to podcasts:

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