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Showing posts from March, 2010

It's official: Jews in the UK can eat kitniyot

In an interview with the UK's Jewish Chronicle, Rav Bar-Hayim explains that it's permissible for Jews in the UK to eat kitniyot:His reasoning is that the tradition of avoiding kitniyot emerged at precisely the time that Jews were expelled from England - 1290 to 1656. This means that, just as the kitniyot custom cannot be considered native to Israel, it cannot be considered native to England.

The tradition became established in England, he believes, by Jews who moved from Europe continuing to observe it out of habit after they immigrated. But he argues that according to halachah, when arriving in the "halachic virgin territory" of England they were free to either retain or discard the tradition. He believes that immigrants to England were unaware of this choice and therefore their descendants are free to either retain or discard the kitniyot custom.

Lost segment of Jerusalem Talmud unearthed in Geneva

Good news for fans of the Talmud HaYerushalmi. May it soon be returned to its rightful place in the eyes of the Torah world:
Manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah, a collection of ancient Jewish writings stored in an Egyptian synagogue, which were recently examined reveal new segments of the Talmud, Mishnah (oral Jewish laws) and rabbinic literature.

Among the scriptures was a whole sentence off the Jerusalem Talmud's Tractate Bikkurim which had been missing until now. The incorporation of the phrase in the Gemara renders the tractate chapter intelligible.

Machon Shilo Notes Increase in “Ashkenazi” Kitniyot Eaters

Machon Shilo Notes Increase in “Ashkenazi” Kitniyot Eaters
Compares Mistaken Kitniyot Ban with Controversy Over Ancient Ashkelon Graves of Pagans
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, March 24, 2010 — Machon Shilo has announced that the kitniyot rebellion continues as more Orthodox Jews are abandoning the mistaken practice of abstaining from eating kitniyot during the Passover holiday. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim, head of the institute notes with satisfaction that Machon Shilo is frequently cited as having an impact on people’s decisions.
“Each year I am contacted by an increasing number of people who inform me that they are no longer adhering to the ban on eating kitniyot,” says Rabbi Bar-Hayim. “They thank me for the “heter” of eating kitniyot and providing clear halachic insight that makes Torah Judaism relevant for thinking people.”
Rabbi Bar-Hayim uses sources in the Mishnah and Gemara to demonstrate that customs are connected to the place where one resides and are not simply packed up like household items …

Rav Tal & Yeshivat Torat HaHayim: Yes to Kitniyot!

A friend of a friend learns with an avrech from Yeshivat Torat Hayyim, the yeshiva that was expelled from Neve Dekelim and found a warm home in Yad Binyamin. He no longer abstains from kitniyot, having adopted the minhag of the yeshiva.
Apparently the students of the yeshiva, following Rav Shmuel Tal, eat some kitniyot and kitniyot derivatives, including humous.
Rav Tal is definitely Ashkenazi in origin. Apparently, part of his reasoning for dispensing with the minhag has to do with observing minhag hamakom. And of course, the minhag of Erets Yisrael was--and is--to eat kitniyot.
It is interesting to note that Rav Tal and the yeshiva also share another less-than-common practice: wearing tefillin during Chol HaMoed.
In short, the good news is that more and more people think that the time has come to dispense with this minhag shtuth and are voting with their wallets and their mouths. They are buying kitniyot and even eating them on Pesah. Not just because it's easier, not just because…