by Rabbi Mordechai Frankel Director, Institute of Halacha
The following contains halachic guidance concerning some of the common issues that arise when conducting a Seder. In particular, it discusses preparation for the Seder, the four cups of wine, and the obligation to eat matza, marror, korech and afikoman. It is by no means comprehensive. For a more comprehensive guide, see HaSeder HaAruch by Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Weingarten (three volumes, 1431 pages).
As the Yom Tov of Pesach nears, and the diligent balabusta begins to tackle the challenge of preparing the kitchen for Pesach, undoubtedly the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine. Although moving into a separate Pesach home sounds very inviting, such luxuries are often not affordable and definitely not in the Pesach spirit. Among the basic mitzvos of the chag is the mitzva of “Tashbisu Se’or Mibateichem”, ridding one’s home and possessions of chometz. However, if we are to use kitchen equipment, utensils, or articles that can be found in our kitchen year-round, it may be insufficient to just clean them thoroughly. One is forbidden to use these items, unless they have been especially prepared for Pesach. This preparation process is known as kashering.
The Torah instructs us that the proper kashering method used to rid a vessel of chometz is dependent upon the original […]
WHAT IS QUINOA? Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is a species of seeds of the Chenopodium or “goosefoot” family, and is botanically related to spinach. It was first brought to the United States from Chile nineteen years ago. Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains for thousands of years, growing three to six feet tall despite high altitudes, intense heat, freezing temperatures, and as little as four inches of annual rainfall. Peru and Bolivia maintain seed banks with 1,800 types of quinoa.
Quinoa is Kosher L’Pesach and is not related to the five types of chometz grains, millet or rice.
Conscientious observance of kashrus goes beyond the identification of kosher symbols on your supermarket shelf and the separation of meat and dairy foods and utensils in your kitchen. There are many food related halachos, in addition to those involving preparation and serving. Amongst them are the halachos of shiurim, measurements. They encompass a wide range of issues relevant to food consumption, and have important halachic ramifications.
A fundamental difference between Yom Tov observance and Shabbos observance is the allowance of ochel nefesh, food preparation on Yom Tov. “Ach Asher Yei’achel L’Chol Nefesh Hu Levado Yei’aseh Lachem…“1 The Torah permits us to cook, bake, and prepare food on Yom Tov proper, in order to eat the prepared food on that day of Yom Tov. One is not permitted to prepare from one day of Yom Tov for the second day of Yom Tov or for after Yom Tov. This prohibition of hachana, of preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next, presents a problem when the second day of Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos or when Shabbos follows a two day sequence of Yomim Tovim. Can one halachically prepare food on Yom Tov for the Shabbos Yom Tov or for Shabbos?
The production of matzos Kosher for Pesach (KFP) involves a great deal of meticulous work. The process begins with the inspection of wheat kernels to ensure that they have not been adversely affected by moisture in the air and have not prematurely sprouted. Grinding of the grain must be performed according to the dictates of Halacha which preludes any pre-grind soaking of the grain and which requires special preparation of the milling equipment to ensure that no contamination exists from non-Passover flour in the grinders and filters. The KFP flour is then loaded onto trucks either pneumatically or in bags under sheltered conditions and shipped to the bakeries.
For many years, Rabbi Gershon Bess has prepared a Guide for Pesach Medications and Cosmetics. This list has been published and distributed by Kollel Los Angeles. For over a decade, STAR-K Kosher Certification, in conjunction with Kollel Los Angeles has made this list more widely available to the general public. This guide, available in Jewish bookstores nationwide, has served as an important resource to kosher consumers.
Passover, an eight-day springtime festival, commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage. Based on the injunction against eating or possessing leavened bread for eight days, Passover involves a unique set of kosher laws. Kosher consumers are most careful about what they eat on Passover. In fact, many people who do not observe kosher year-round may do so on Passover. According to some accounts, 40% of the kosher market revolves around the Passover holiday.
1. If I have a jar of Kosher for Passover mayonnaise or a plastic soda bottle, do I need to place it in some sort of wrapper in order to put it in a refrigerator (such as in a workplace) which has Chometz in it?
To some people, the concept that there are restrictions regarding what can be fed to animals may seem amusing. They wonder: “Really now, must dogs also eat kosher?” Of course,animals don’t need to eat kosher food. However, Halacha clearly instructs people regarding what, how and when to feed them.
In the 1920’s, the Jewish community in Germany numbered close to half a million people, who were mostly professionals, in finance, and retail trade. German Jewry thrived within the general culture of the Weimar Republic. As an influx of approximately 70,000 East European Jews flocked to Germany to escape political oppression and violent anti-Semitism, Berlin soon became the center for Hebrew culture, reaching its peak from 1920 to 1924. It had become a safe haven for Hebrew and Yiddish speaking intellectuals, mostly Russian Hebrew writers. Although some Jews emigrated during this time, mostly to America or Palestine, many more did so after the rise of Nazism in 1933. Unfortunately, the majority of Jews remained in Germany, with catastrophic results.
I. Thou Shalt Read Product Labels Carefully – Make sure a reliable Kosher for Passover certification appears on the package. Don’t assume the product is kosher for Passover just because it is in the Passover section of the supermarket.
Tired of potatoes, potatoes, potatoes for Pesach? Try quinoa (“Keen-Wa”), a sesame-seed-sized kernel first brought to the United States from Chile nineteen years ago, according to Rebecca Theurer Wood. Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains for thousands of years, growing three to six feet tall despite high altitudes, intense heat, freezing temperatures, and as little as four inches of annual rainfall. Peru and Bolivia maintain seed banks with 1,800 types of quinoa.
As Pesach nears, the grocery bills mount and the bank account dwindles, the Jewish housewife courageously attempts to hold the household budget intact without compromising her strict standard of Pesach Kashrus. She asks: Are there products in the marketplace that live up to their claims of fresh, pure, natural, or additive-free that can be purchased worry-free without special Passover certification, or are there legitimate kashrus concerns that would require the product to carry reliable Kosher for Passover certification? Let us take a behind-the-scenes look at some of these potential products.
Erev Pesach is one of the busiest and most unique days of the year. With every hour comes another set of halachos. Many halachic times, including the time for searching for chometz and the latest time for eating chometz, are well known. However, many halachos of Erev Pesach are often confusing and not commonly understood. The purpose of this article is to elucidate some of the lesser known laws of Erev Pesach.
No other Jewish holiday that dots the calendar is replete with more laws and customs than Pesach. These dinim and minhagim shape the dimensions of the chag into its own unique personality. Pesach offers a wide spectrum of laws and customs that extend beyond chometz and matza. One excellent example of this is the minhag of kitniyos.
Ezra Hasofer established ten takanos (laws) covering a wide spectrum of Jewish life.1 The purpose of these takanos was to enhance Torah study, Shabbos, the Jewish communal court system, and the sanctity of the Jewish home and marriage. One of the takanos was that salesmen should travel from town to town to supply perfume and fragrances to the women of each community.2 It is clear that these items were important in Jewish life since ancient times.
After Pesach, there is a Rabbinic injunction of not eating or deriving benefit from Chometz SHeAvar Alav HaPesach (henceforth abbreviated Chometz SHAAHP), chometz that was in the possession of a Jew on Pesach. Therefore, after Pesach, consumers must ascertain that the chometz they purchase was not in the possession of a Jew on Pesach. Chometz may be purchased from a store owned by a gentile. In Hilchos Pesach, a store is considered owned by a gentile if the gentile owns more than half of the store. In a corporation, at least 51% of the voting stock must be owned by gentiles, otherwise, the chometz becomes Chometz SHAAHP.
Adapted from Jewish Diabetes Association article by Nechama Cohen
The challenge of diabetes seems ten-fold when it comes to Pesach. There are a whole new set of considerations — four cups of wine at each Seder; a many-hour wait until Shulchan Aruch; knowing the carb content of a single hand matza.
Although, l’halacha, any chometz may be sold before Pesach, there are pious individuals who do not sell “real” chometz, but rather give it away, burn it, or eat it before Pesach. How does one define “real” chometz? A food for which there is an issur of bal ya’raeh u’bal yimatze (there is a Torah prohibition of ownership on Pesach), is “real chometz”. This includes all items that are chometz gamur, real chometz (bread, cake, pretzels, pasta, etc.).
There are thirteen days of Yom Tov listed on the Jewish calendar. However, the impact of each holiday is often felt long before and after the thirteen actual days. The entire month of Elul is spent preparing for Rosh Hashana. Hopefully, the commitments of Yom Kippur last long after the final shofar blowing following neilah. The banging of nails can be heard throughout Jewish neighborhoods weeks before Succos. The excitement of Purim often lasts until the next Purim.
MACHINE MATZOHS: TIMING IS EVERYTHING! Meticulous, scrupulous and passionate are terms that describe the fervor, zeal and seriousness displayed by the kosher consumer regarding Pesach kashrus in general, and Pesach matzohs in particular. The kosher consumer has become more sophisticated and savvy with each passing year. Kosher consumers are willing to pay top dollar for a quality kosher product. Pesach matzohs are no exception. Machine matzohs with fine mehadrin hechsherim are readily available on the supermarket shelf. Are all machine matzohs created equal?