Religious : : Thoughts from Our Rabbi

Many of us can use a reminder about the details for Passover preparations. I share for your information a guide prepared by the Rabbinical Assembly. Please ask me any questions you may have about Pesach.

Our Torah prohibits the ownership of hametz (leaven) during Pesach. Therefore, to ease the financial loss of unopened packages of
leavened products, we arrange for the sale of the hametz to a non-Jew. The transfer, mekhirat hametz, is accomplished by appointing an agent, usually the rabbi, to handle the sale. It is valid and legal transfer of ownership. Please fill out the form in the Temple office and give it to me. At the end of the holiday, the agent arranges for the reversion of ownership of the now permitted hametz. If ownership of the hametz was not transferred before the holiday, then the use of this hametz is prohibited after the holiday as well (Hametz she’avar alav ha’pesach).

Since our Torah prohibits the eating of hametz during Pesach, and since many common foods contain some admixture of hametz, guidance is necessary when shopping and preparing for Pesach.

During the eight days of Pesach, hametz cannot lose its identity in an admixture. Therefore, the minutest amount of hametz renders the whole item hametz and its use during Pesach is prohibited. However, during the rest of the year, hametz follows the normal rules of admixture, i.e., it loses its identity in a mixture of one part hametz and sixty parts of non-hametz (batel beshishim). This affords us an opportunity to differentiate between foods purchased before Pesach and foods purchased during Pesach.

What follows is a general guideline. However, I am available to be consulted when any doubt arises. Kosher laPesach labels that do not bear the name of a rabbi or one of the recognized symbols of rabbinic supervision, or which are not integral to the package, should not be used without discussing it with me.

Prohibited Foods:
Prohibited foods include the following: leavened bread, cakes, biscuits, crackers, cereal, coffee with cereal derivatives in it, wheat barley, oats, rye, and all liquids containing ingredients or flavors made from grain alcohol. Most Ashkenazic authorities have added the following to the above list: rice, corn, millet, legumes (beans, peas, peanuts) (however, string beans are permitted.) Some Ashkenazic authorities permit, while others forbid, the use of legumes in a form other than its natural state, for example, corn sweeteners, corn oil, soy oil, peanut oil. Sephardic authorities and our Conservative movement permit the use of rice, corn, millet, legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, string beans) and legumes in forms other than its natural state. If you’d like assistance, consult me for guidance in the use of these products.

Permitted Foods:
A. The following foods require no Kosher lePesach label if purchased prior to Pesach. Unopened packages or containers of natural coffee (without cereal additives), sugar, pure tea, salt, pepper, natural spices, fruit juices with no additives (frozen, canned, or bottled), frozen (uncooked) fruit (with no additives), baking soda.

B. The following foods require no Kosher lePesach label if purchased before or during Pesach. Fresh fruits and vegetables (for legumes see above), eggs, fresh fish, fresh meat.

B’vrachot, Blessings for a healthy & kosher Pesach,

Rabbi Dennis