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Showing posts from April, 2011

Don't Go Nuts Over Peanuts

Rav David Bar-Hayim responded to a question about eating kitniyot and quinoa:
It is tragic that so many Jews have been bamboozled into avoiding foods that are both permissible and healthy. The good news is that it is simple to set yourself free. All that is required is a healthy determination not to be hoodwinked, a refusal to allow persons driven by commercial interest, fanaticism or a misconceived piety to distort Tora Judaism and recreate it in their own image.More from his tshuva:
Peanuts may be consumed during Pesah even by those who choose to refrain from qittniyoth (or are still working up the courage…). At some point in the 1960’s, a campaign was launched by certain individuals to ban peanut oil so that they could sell their four-times-the-price substitute. Rav Bar-Hayim was informed of this by a Rabbi from NYC who served his community for over 40 years. It was a scam for profit.
Exactly 29 years ago Rav Bar-Hayim heard the very same opinion expressed by HaGaon HaRav Shaul Yisrae…

Chag Sameach | חג שמח

I just returned from another memorable trip to Har HaBayit b'kedushah. So many people were on Har HaBayit that we waited nearly an hour to go up. We had a group of more than 30 people with about 20 from a yeshiva in the holy city of Shechem.

Many of the students were not so knowledgeable about the Temple Mount so I was honored with leading part of the tour. Their Rav added several drashot and explained how the Cohanim performed the priestly blessing (he was a Cohen... if you get my drift).

In other news, this blog has had 3,000 page views in the last two weeks, clearly showing an increase in the quest for the "real deal" about kitniyot. The KLF really doesn't care whether you eat or don't eat kitniyot. Rather that you should realize that there simply a minhag from Galut that you should--or can leave behind in Galut--so that we can face the bigger issues that are ahead of us on the way to a complete Geula.

May this be the last Pesah without Korban Pesah.

KLF Makes the News (Again)

The Kitniyot Liberation Front was featured in today's online edition of the Ha'aretz "newspaper" (and I use that term generously).
While I make it a practice not to visit the website due to its severely anti-Israel slant, the article is worth a read. The author is a recent immigrant from Germany and his frustration with kitniyot custom in Israel--and his own questions about the minhag lead him to write the article.
Efrat rabbi tilts against Passover food restrictions for Ashkenazi JewsOthers, unhappy with holiday legume laws, launch Kitniyot Liberation Front.... A few week's ago, Rabbi Zvi Leshem, of Efrat, issued a ruling that it is permissible to consume products and dishes containing kitniyot, as long as they do not constitute the main ingredient and are not directly recognizable. His decision will help those who do not want to entirely abandon the tradition of avoiding kitniyot but have difficulties finding certain items - such as oil, mayonnaise or chocolate …

Are we bound to Ashkenazi custom concerning Kitniyot?

Question:
My family made Aliyah from the States in August 2006. We are Ashkenazim. The following Pesach I asked the Rav of our Yishuv if we could eat Kitniyot as taking on the custom of Eretz Yisrael etc. and he said no. Are we bound by this answer and is there a way to change our minhag? I feel strongly about this issue.

Answer:
The system whereby Rabbanim become the Rav of a Yishuv/town/city in Israel is a political and bureaucratic process which, in my view, is neither Halakhically valid nor binding. See Rambam, Mishne Tora, Sanhedrin 2:11 (Vilna edition: 8). Even if this were not the case, a Rav is appointed Rav of the Yishuv and communal issues fall within his purview; one is not required to accept the Yishuv's Rav as one's personal Rav.

The Mishna (Avoth 1:6, 1:15) states: "'Asse l'kha Rav", i.e. choose a Rav and follow him. Similarly, the Talmudh ('Eruvin 6b) states that one should not always seek out the lenient opinion, and one who does so is deem…

Some Sanity for Ashkenazim

One of the biggest "pieces of shtuth" is the additions to the whole kitniyot craziness. For many years, raw shelled almonds from Supersol were labeled "Kosher for Passover for Eaters of Kitniyot Only".
This was pure craziness. Almonds grow on trees and can't become legumes. They were uncooked. The presence of legumes in the factory did not change them into legumes. It was simply an error due to misplaced zealousness. Fortunate this year, the label has been corrected.
It is also fortunate that even for those who cling to kitniyot, there is light to disperse the darkness of shtuth.
Rabbi Zvi Anshel HaLevi Leshem of Efrat (02-9309133) has written a psak about the halachoth of kitniyot for those who still cling to this custom of the galuth:
1. Some of the oils designated as "kitniot" or "only for those who eat kitniot" are permissible also to Ashkenazim (even according to the position which prohibits kitniot oil), such as peanut, soy, canola and co…