Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pre-Pesach Observations in Israel

With the Jewish Month of Nissan in full swing, Pesach is less than 2 weeks away.

And how can you tell? Doing our first serious round of Pesach grocery shopping a few nights ago, I found special "Kosher for Pesach" areas in every aisle (in addition to the exclusive "Kosher for Pesach" aisles).

The difficult problem is the "kitniyot" issue. (For info on kitniyot, I suggest you check out Hirhurim or maybe RWAC will have something to say...or perhaps The Orthonomic SephardiLady...the following link is interesting, but I'm not recommending you follow it without consulting your local halachik authority)

As opposed to say, the USA, where "Kosher for Pesach" generally means "kitniyot free", in Israel, products are diverse.

The labels on products range from:

Kosher for Pesach, only for Kitniyot eaters
Kosher for Pesach, also for Non-Kitniyot eaters
Kosher for Pesach, not for those who don't eat Kitniyot
Kosher for Pesach, contains "Mei Kitniyot"
Kosher for Pesach, only for Kitniyot eaters who eat "Lifteet"

Confusing? No Kidding.

Wish we had a real Sanhedrin already to get rid of Kitniyot once and for all!

When my wife reminded me to check every single package, she wasn't kidding. The hamburgers came in 3 different packages, and while 2 out of 3 were ok for non-kitniyot eaters, one was not (you really have read the fine print!)

However, the amount of Kosher for Pesach food is enormous, regardless of whether you are Sefaradi or Ashkenzai, and eat Kitniyot or not. Prebaked cakes from Elite and Osem are simply amazing (fudge chocolate with chocolate chip) and it's a far cry from the Streits cake mixes from 20 years ago.

Barton's chocolate was cool though...and I sold enough one year to be the grand prize winner for the entire school...which won for me a $10 walkie talkie set which didn't work. (They should have offered helicopters instead).

Obligatory Pre-Pesach Joke.

Q: What’s the difference between an Arab terrorist and a woman cleaning for Pesach?
A: With an Arab terrorist you can negotiate...

And last year's Pesach video:

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

Wish we had a real Sanhedrin already to get rid of Kitniyot once and for all!

What are you saying, that you wish the Sanhedrin would eliminate the minhag of not eating kitniot, or that they would eliminate kitniot in pesach food?

Anonymous said...

I asked my Rav about "Lifteet" the first year we were was on a bad phone connection and I had to repeat myself three times. He said no don't eat it.

The following year, I asked again face to face, and he turned to his wife and said "we eat that"... I'm glad I asked again :)

Anonymous said...

What is Lifteet?

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, the "better" hechsheirim, such as badatz, rubin, she'aris, landau, chug, petach tikvah chasam sofer etc dont use any kitniyos and are good for ashkenazim

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

There are "better" hechsheirim which are sefardi as well...and therefore they can include any of the kitniyot warnings I included.

Anonymous said...

Karl- Lifteet is rapeseed oil. (They're all clearly too busy making sexist jokes to answer you.)

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

I thought "lifteet" was lecithin?

the only way i know said...


Jack Steiner said...


Anonymous said...

Jameel, I've been eating kitniyot for a couple of years, doing my part to help correct that "700 year-old mistake." Pesach changed a lot for me (for the better) when I realized it wasn't all about the insanity. True- that moment of divine clarity knocked the wind out of me ("what is it all about then????"). But I'm all better now.

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