Saturday, April 9, 2011

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 cottonseed oils.

2. Some of the products that are labeled "for those who eat kitniot only" are permissible according to all opinions, since the ratio of kitniot ingredients is less than 50%, and they are therefore annulled in the majority of non-kitniot ingredients. Additionally the kitniot ingredients are often oils such as soybean, that were never included in the prohibition, or derivatives of these oils. Only those foods in which the kitniot ingredients constitute the majority are prohibited. Therefore, many dairy products, "kosher for Pesach" cookies, chocolates and more, which are labeled "kitniot" or "only for those who eat kitniot" or "for those who eat liftit" (liftit and lecithin are both types of canola) are completely permissible for Ashkenazim.

3.Quinoa, which is a very new food (other than for native South Americans), is permissible.

4. There is no problem for an Ashkenazi to be a guest of a Sephardi on Pesach and to eat food prepared in vessels that were used to cook kitniot, even within 24 hours of the meal. This is true since if the kitniot themselves can be annulled in a mixture of a majority of other ingredients, their taste is certainly annulled. Moreover, even if the food contains a kitniot ingredient, as long as it is not the majority and is not recognizable as a separate element of the dish, it is also permitted.

5. Those people who have thus far been careful not to purchase any food item labeled "for those who eat kitniot only", because they believed that this was in fact the Halacha, are not considered to have accepted this as their custom; it is at best a "mistaken custom" and they are not required to perform "vow annulment" in order to eat such items.

6. It is a mitzva to publicize this decision, which is based upon the traditional Halachic methodology of the great authorities throughout the generations, and not upon looking for unnecessary stringencies.

(Contact for the full PDF with sources or call HaRav Leshem at 02-9309133.)


yitzy said...

while I agree with your assertion about almonds not being kitniot. Please be advised while legumes are presumed to be kitniot, there are other items deemed kitniot -which are not legumes - like rice and corn for example.

So not all kitniot are lgumes.


Louis said...

Yes. But my point is that the concept that "when in doubt, it must be kitniyot" is a deeply flawed halachic practice. As a nation, we have bigger fish to fry. What about Talmud Yerushalmi? What about the Mesora of Eretz Yisrael? What about Har HaBayit?

OTOH, I checked the almonds at SuperSol two days ago and they are "only" labeled "Kosher LePesah"... so even card-carrying Ashkenazim can enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

Kol Hakavod to Machon Shilo and Rabbi David Bar-Hayim on their efforts to publicize how kitniyot are permitted for consumption on Pesach.

Ben said...

What is this incredible feeling of oppression that this custom, which is for all of 7 days, generates? incredible, so much energy applied to it.

Guest said...

Ben, it's the principle of the matter. Also, in many areas of Israel it is very difficult for people to find products without kitniyot. I have had neighbors who had to spend needless time searching for products without kitniyot because they cling to a custom that has no place in the Land of Israel.