Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kitniyot Liberation - Redux

The seasonal battle over kitniyot has already commenced. According to Ynet (,7340,L-3686451,00.html), Rav Ovadia Yosef takes a machmir--though not entirely accurate approach--that the Ashkenazi custom of refraining from kitniyot has been around for 600 years.

As Rav Bar-Hayim pointed out, we are in Eretz Yisrael, not Europe, and we should all be adhering to the local custom. The error of importing this foolish custom only occured 100-150 years ago and has become increasingly popular as it became more profitable for askanim (wheeler-dealers).

And speaking of Europe, a number of years ago, Rav Shaul Yisraeli of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva recounted to Rav Bar-Hayim how peanuts were served during Chol HaMoed in Lithuania since they were considered a luxury.

Maybe we could argue whether peanuts are really kitniyot... or whether they shouldn't be included on the Ever-Growing List of Kitniyot and Things That Make Askanim Rich.

It is interesting why Rav Ovadia Yosef couldn't just take the easy way out and admit it's a foolish Ashkenazi custom and the Sefaradim have been correct all along. IMHO, this would open him up to admitting that we're in Eretz Yisrael and that we need to worry about the "big things, not the little things", like korban pesach, the Temple, etc. etc.

By creating a big deal out of a little deal, we can continue the Purim veil over existence right through Pesah.

What is especially nice about this article is that Ynet has appropriately given credit to Rav Bar-Hayim and Machon Shilo for its revolutionary halachic ruling.

We are looking forward to an official reply from Machon Shilo.


louis3105 said...

Hmm, with Rav Yosef's line of thinking, if we cling to our kitniyot and shelve the Temple idea, then we can give away Judea and Samaria--and even the Temple Mount.

Hey, Am Yisrael, it's time to wake up from your Purim stupor!!

YMedad said...

Kitniyot customs are different even among S'fardi communities in North Africa vs. eastern areas, i.e., Iraq and Yemen, too.

Jeff said...

Re: Peanuts
R' Moshe Feinstein zt"l served roasted peanuts (in the shell) to the kids at his seder. I have this on the authority of his son-in-law. He felt it was the equivalent of the gemora's egozim v'klayot, to keep the kids interested and occupied.

Rachel Inbar said...

I've already talked to a bunch of people who are interested in doing hatarat nedarim and to take on minhag ha'aretz (i.e. eating kitniyot). My understanding is that each person has to do it separately, but that there are Rabbis who permit it. I believe that by getting a lot of people involved, it can be something that will be more acceptable. It seems to me that a good time for this would be before Yom Kippur. I think Facebook is a good way to get a group like this going - and I see you've already got a group... What do you think?

Yonathan Ben Shimshon said...

According to Rav Bar-Hayim , "A custom based on error does not have the legal standing of a valid minhagh, and can therefore be undone. See Yerushalmi P’sahim 4:1 and Rambam, Mishne Tora, Issure Biya 11:13-14 (14-15). As pointed out by the Ya’abess (R. Ya’aqov Emden), a custom based on error can simply be dropped."