Halacha for Sunday 17 Adar II 5779 March 24 2019

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach-5779- Maran zt”l’s Correction

The Essence of Leavening
The Torah (Shemot 13) tells us regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in all of your borders.” The leaven that the Torah prohibits is produced by the combination of grain-flour and water remaining in this state for a long enough period of time; this causes the internal composition of the flour to leaven (rise). From the moment the mixture begins to leaven it is considered “Chametz” which is prohibited for consumption or benefit on Pesach and it is also prohibited for a Jew to retain Chametz in his property on Pesach.

Kitniyot
Rice and all other legumes, including peas and beans, are permitted on Pesach, for the prohibition of Chametz only applies to grains and legumes are not classified as “grains”. One must nevertheless take care to check the grains of rice well to make sure that no kernels of wheat or barley are mixed inside, for it is fairly common that in some places where rice is grown or packaged, other grains are also grown or packaged in close proximity as well and some kernels of these grains can easily become mixed into the rice and indeed make one’s entire dish prohibited for consumption (for even one tiny crumb of Chametz can prohibit a large pot of food). Thus, it is customary to check through rice three times before Pesach with all due concentration and seriousness, at a time when small children are not present to disrupt the individual checking.

The Custom of Ashkenazi Jewry and Some Sephardic Communities
Due to fear that kernels of various grains may have become mixed into the legumes, Ashkenazim customarily prohibit the consumption of legumes on Pesach. Indeed, the greatest Ashkenazi authorities enacted that it is completely prohibited to eat any legumes on Pesach. However, this prohibition was not accepted at all by most Sephardic and Middle Eastern communities. A Sephardic individual should not act stringently regarding this matter for several reasons.

However, there are several G-d-fearing Sephardic communities who are stringent and customarily abstain from eating rice on Pesach. This is especially common among Moroccan and other North African communities. However, even they are customarily stringent only with regards to rice, but they do eat other forms of legumes. Some customarily abstain from eating chick peas on Pesach as well.

Maran zt”l and Harav Unterman zt”l
Before Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l assumed the position of Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, the rabbinate would publish a Pesach Guide for the residents of the city which stated, “Legumes are forbidden for consumption on Pesach; however, Sephardic Jews customarily act leniently in this regard.” In the year 5730 (1970) when Maran zt”l served as the Chief Rabbi of the city, he pointed out to Hagaon Harav Isser Yehuda Unterman zt”l, who served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and later went on to serve as Chief Rabbi of Israel, that this statement in the guide was flawed since legumes are permissible on Pesach! Thus, the statement was changed to read, “Legumes are permissible for consumption on Pesach; however, Ashkenazi Jews customarily act stringently in this regard.” There is a clear halachic ramification regarding this statement as even Ashkenazim may retain possession of legumes on Pesach. For instance, if an Ashkenazi couple has an infant who drinks baby formula which contain legume ingredients or derivatives, it is completely permissible for them to continue using the formula on Pesach, as long as they do so carefully and with specific utensils and bottles designated for the baby. However, there is no room to claim that legumes are completely forbidden on Pesach.

The Issue This Year
This year, 5779, there is an additional question regarding Kitniyot on Pesach and that is because the Seventh Day of Pesach (the last day of Pesach in Israel) falls out on a Friday. The question therefore becomes whether or not Ashkenazim (who customarily do not consume Kitniyot on Pesach) may cook Kitniyot on Chol Hamo’ed Pesach so that they will have what to eat on Shabbat immediately following the conclusion of Pesach. We shall discuss this issue, G-d-willing, at the appropriate time.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Honoring One’s Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law

The Yalkut Shimoni states: “David told Shaul, ‘My father, you shall surely see the corner of your coat in my hand’” (which means that David called Shaul his father). Our Sages derived from here that one is obligated to honor one’s father-in-law just as one is obligated ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Similarly, if one, G-d-forbid, loses a son, daughter, brother, or sister, one should recite Kaddis......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Honoring Parents After Their Passing

Just as one is obligated to honor one’s parents during their lifetime, one is likewise obligated to honor one’s parents after their passing. One may certainly not disrespect one’s parents after their death. The Baraita (Kiddushin 31b) states: “Whenever one mentions a Torah......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Rising Before One’s Father or Rabbi- Maran zt”l’s Response to his Grandson

All of the laws of honoring and revering one’s parents apply equally to both a son and daughter. When we sometimes focus on a father and son or a mother and daughter, this is meant as a mere example and illustration. When one sees one’s parents passing in front of him, one must rise b......

Read Halacha

Who Must Bear the Financial Burden of Caring for One’s Parents?

We have discussed previously that part of the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is serving one’s parents food and drink as they wish. Included in this is that when one’s parents are elderly and can no longer care for themselves, their sons and daughters must care for their physical......

Read Halacha

A Father Who Absolves His Son from Honoring and Revering Him

The following discussion is crucial to understanding important laws regarding honoring one’s parents. In the previous Halachot, we have discussed some laws pertaining to honoring and revering one’s parents. There are certain laws that relate to a child’s obligation to honor his ......

Read Halacha

Calling One’s Father or Mother by Name

Question: May one call one’s father by his first name? Also, may one call a friend with the same name as one’s father by his first name? Answer: A child may not call his father or mother by their first name. For instance, if one’s father’s name is “Shmuel,” the......

Read Halacha