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…and prepare for the inevitable rival organization, The Liberation Front for Kitniyot.

When my Aba told me about the Kitniyot Liberation Front this morning, I thought it was all a joke, which seemed funny to him at the time of his cleaning the house for Pesach with my Ema. Blame the cleaning fumes and Monty Python movies, I thought–there was no way there was a KLF, which advocated Ashkenazic consumption of beans, rice, corn and other items that were previously only permitted for Sephardic use.

But a simple Google search revealed that it was no joke. At Torahlight.org, you can listen to an MP3 shiur on “Why Ashkenazim Can Eat Kitniyot” or download one of two PDF documents (in Hebrew that I don’t have time to read right now because I’m cleaning my refrigerator and doing writing work at the same time and can’t handle the multitasking of a third task) that explore either “The Roadmap from Qitniyoth to Qorban Pesah” or “Geula or Qitniyoth.” Notably absent from the site is is the much-sought document “Using Qs to Indicate a Hard K Sound.”

Of course, no MP3 shiur is going to make arroz con habichuelos kosher for Passover in my parents’ house, at least not this year. But once Michael’s international Sephardic-Ashkenazi intermarriage “Don’t Inbreed: Interbreed” initiative is officially launched, I think they’ll be into it…

Although the linguist in me has to wonder if this organization might not have been better named “the Ashkenazim Liberation Front,” as the mass Passover consumption of kitniyot by descendants of Eastern European Jews frees said Ashkenazim, and enslaves the kitniyot. But maybe that’s just me.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

23 Comments

  • This is one of those issues that a lot of people want to tackle and don’t know how… Thing about what it does as far a Jewish Unity when an Askinazic person can’t eat at a seder with a sphardic person, and what could be if that were changed. Poskim have not been relenting on the issues, but have commented that they wish they could. I’m left feeling the same way.

  • I eat kitniyot. Why? Because not eating kitniyot is not only baseless, but really inconvenient. Hell, being a kitniyot eater means I essentially don’t have to change my diet over Passover at all.

    God wants us to eat hummus. He doesn’t want us to be emaciated, pale, bad-toothed Charedim who shun his legumic creations and suffer minor strokes when cooked matzah godforbid touches water.

  • oddly enough, we don’t eat kitnyot at my house – Brakha would have a shit fit – and I’m the token full blooded Moroccan Sephardic dude at Jewlicious.

  • Maimonides writes that “there is no hametz in kitniyot” and “even if rice were ground into flour, and it were to rise like leavened dough, it is permissible to eat it as it is not hametz.” The Talmud does include a minority opinion that hametz can also occur in rice, but the Halacha does not follow this opinion. However, Moroccan Jews do not eat rice on Pessah.

    Source.

  • Yeah, we’re kinda machmir on that rice thing. Not so machmir on defiling impressionable blonde haired blue eyed fair skinned ashkenazic women though. No one’s perfect …

  • While I eat kitniyot too (and grew up eating rice at my Iraqi and Tunisian cousin (cousin-in-law)’s seders (in galut)), remember, you CAN eat food that isn’t kitniyot even if the pots are used for kitniyot and even if kitniyot is being served (although, obviously, if you don’t eat kitniyot you can’t eat the actual kitniyot). But a certain Rav I know said vegetarians in Israel can eat kitniyot. The Masorti movement also said you can eat it in Israel. But, part of the kitniyot meshuga is people won’t even eat in a kitchen in which kitniyot is served even if they don’t eat the kitniyot itself and that’s beyond shtut.

  • Oh well… in other sad news… Quinoa (a grain like plant that Mayan Indians used to grow that is high in protien and amino acids and commonly hearalded as nature perfect food and the solution for world hunger,) while ruled Kasher L’Pesach a number of years ago by a number of poskim in Israel and in Chutz La’Aretz is now facing the threat of being relegated to Kitniyot. Aparently there is growing concern that it too would have been ruled Kitniyot at the time of the Gemara if they’d know about it, and therefore should be ruled as such now… Sad Indeed…

  • If potatoes were known, so too would they be ruled kitniyot. It’s shtut. I may get some quinoa and eat it in Meah Shearim during Chol HaMoed. Any Jewlicious Jerusalemites want to join me?

  • Ah, the rabbis. Always count on them to keep adding to the spike pit around the moat around the mighty battlements around the fence around the Torah. You know, somebody should tell them concrete looks kind of like flour, so we should all knock down our houses during Passover just to make sure nobody starts snacking on the walls.

    amechad, if it involves potentially getting stoned by Charedim, I am SO there!

  • It’s a crazy chumra (stringency) thing around Passover time – not rational.

    We used to use kitniyot derivates like oil – like many Ashkenazim. Now it’s verboten.

    This year my mother insisted on buying only disposable plates with a “kosher for passover” label on them – because apparently there may be kitniyot oil used as a release agent during molding.

    Wha-a-a-t?!?!?!

    It’s just a craziness – every year something new.

  • Whole Quinoa, from places that only produce quinoa (like the glendale farms based company) are fine for Pesach. Ground or processed can be a problem of chometz.

  • But, part of the kitniyot meshuga is people won’t even eat in a kitchen in which kitniyot is served even if they don’t eat the kitniyot itself and that’s beyond shtut.

    100% correct. Only those ignorant of the halakha of batel b’rov, which applies to qitniyoth, are concerned. Even those who avoid qitniyoth because of minhag can eat food cooked with qitniyoth in the same container at the same time. You could pick out or eat around the visible pieces of corn/beans/etc and still be within the letter of the law.

    Better still to let this madness die out all together. Just say no, as they say.

  • I was raised in an Ashkenazi environment, and refrained from eating rice because that was how the “rabbanim” pounded their propaganda into us. Then I did some research and found that the Rabbis in the Talmud had no problem with rice and that even Ashkenazi Rabbis of today think it to be a stupid (or silly) custom not to eat it on Passover. Over the years, I have eaten rice at Mizrahi people’s seders. This might sound like a stupid question but if I bought a package of rice from the supermarket would that be 0.K. to eat on Pesah? I never bothered to ask the people what kind (or brand) of rice they bought.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  • Rabbi Yaakov Emden, a very prominent halakhist, said that by being so strict about the custom of kitniyot people become more lenient about the torah prohibition on eating chametz. Producing matza en masse and eating lots of matza products makes it more likely that some of that matza became chametz. His solution? Stick to eating matza at the seders and eat beans the rest of the time.

    also- for all you fellow ashkenazi kitniyot eaters, not everything is kitniyot. Some rabbis say soy isnt. peanuts shouldnt be. A good rule of thumb: If it was introduced to europe after the 12th century, you can make a great case for why its not kitniyot.

  • Steven, I have no idea. And M, that’s all fine and logical, which I totally support. But prepare for people to not eat in your house anymore during Passover, a condition that might stretch into the year, since you “don’t care about halakhah.” End the madness, someone…

  • Hi M, Esther,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with you M, regarding anything introduced into Europe after the 12th century should be ignored. And Esther, I really couldn’t care less if people don’t eat in my house. My *soul* is more kosher than alot of the rabbinic ritualistic hypocrites with their man made law – excuse me – lore. I think the more restrictions they put on us, the more they think that they are better than the rest of us. My brother says that it’s not a fence around the Torah that they have constructed, but a JAIL!!! What we need is for some brave Ashkenazi Rabbis to sit down at a Sephardi/Mizrahi Seder and partake of the rice and beans and say enough of this insane “minhag” which elevates kitniyot to the level of hametz. If it was good enough for the Rabbis in the Talmudic era to partake of rice, then it’s good enough for me!

    Shalom.

  • Esther, you can find a good description of the various wacky transliteration rules in your handy-dandy copy of “Guide for Jewish Religious Practice”. Mind your K’s and Q’s. 🙂

  • The madness is that some folks – usually Orthodox affiliated – are finding more and more reasons to not eat at each others’ houses. Esther, the halakha you or M need to know in this case is batel b’rov, as I previously wrote. Not eating qitniyoth is a custom, and being in a house where qitniyoth is stored, cooked, and served is not – repeat, not – an issue for those who prefer to avoid qitniyoth during Pesach. Pick out those chick peas from the soup and then enjoy!

  • You can repeat it all you want. But I know people who consider Ashkenazi Jews who have any form of kitniyot in their homes during Pesah as treyf. Kitniyot was never a choice. But maybe someday we’ll all live together in peaceful beany harmony. Hag sameah…

  • Again, I could not care less what any Ashkenazi thinks about having kitniyot in my house. It is a made up ridiculous custom. Those who consider it trefah are themselves trefah!

    Isaiah 1:1

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