Halacha for Thursday 18 Adar 5777 March 16 2017

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim customarily banned eating Kitniyot on Pesach because it used to be common for grains of Chametz to become mixed with Kitniyot. They therefore customarily abstain from eating them.

“Annulment of Vows” in Order to Eat Kitniyot
Ashkenazi communities who customarily prohibit Kitniyot have no recourse to permit consuming Kitniyot on Pesach. Even if they perform the order of “Annulment of Vows,” this does not make it permissible; they are still bound by the custom of their community and they may not discard their custom by eating Kitniyot on Pesach.

Included in this prohibition is the use of soy sauce, eating rice, and the like.

However, Sephardic communities who have acted stringently until this point and abstained from eating rice and now have a certain need to eat rice, such as due to illness and the like, may be permitted to eat it as long as they perform the “Annulment of Vows” as prescribed by Halacha for the custom they have followed thus far. This is because the level of the prohibition that these Sephardic communities accepted upon themselves is not on the same level as the prohibition which the Ashkenazim accepted upon themselves. The Sephardim never accepted an actual “decree” upon themselves banning Kitniyot; rather, they customarily abstained from eating them as a precaution because Chametz would sometimes mix into the Kitniyot. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise in his Responsa Chazon Ovadia, Volume 2, page 55.

Vessels which have Absorbed Kitniyot
We have already explained that vessels which have absorbed actual Chametz may not be used on Pesach. This is because when vessels contain boiling hot Chametz foods, the walls of the vessel absorb some of the Chametz in them. Afterwards, when Pesach foods are cooked in the same vessel, the walls of the vessel release Chametz flavor into the food. For the same reason, we are always meticulous to separate meat and dairy dishes in order to avoid vessels absorbing from one another.

However, the prohibition of Kitniyot on Pesach is not as stringent as actual Chametz, for it is only an enactment which some customarily accepted due to Chametz concerns. Based on this, Hagaon Harav Yishmael HaKohen writes in his Responsa Zera Emet (Volume 3, Orach Chaim, Chapter 48) that if an Ashkenazi individual is being hosted by a Sephardic individual and the host prepares foods for the guest that are Kitniyot-free, the Ashkenazi may eat in his home without hindrance.

Although the Sephardic host’s vessels have absorbed some flavor from his own Kitniyot foods, this poses no issue, for this custom is only as an extra precaution and they never accepted it upon themselves as an actual prohibition. (This is especially true if we can assume that Kitniyot were not cooked in this vessel within the past twenty-four hours. Additionally, the Ashkenazi need not ask the Sephardi if Kitniyot were cooked in this vessel within twenty-four hours.)

Summary: Ashkenazim customarily prohibit consuming Kitniyot on Pesach. They cannot be lenient regarding this custom even if they have performed the order of “Annulment of Vows.” Sephardim who have thus far customarily abstained from this as well but now have some special need to eat Kitniyot, such as due to illness and the like, may indeed be lenient in this matter by performing an “Annulment of Vows."

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Megillah Reading-The Proper Procedure for One Who Has Missed Hearing a Portion of the Megillah

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor

On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Tetzaveh this year, 5777) and in the second one we read the portion of &ld......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

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......

Read Halacha

The Custom of the “Commemoration of the Half-Shekel”-5777

It is customary to donate money before Purim as “a commemoration of the Half-Shekel” which was donated by the entire Jewish nation when the Bet Hamikdash stood. This money is customarily collected on the eve of Purim before reading the Megillah, as our Sages tell us (Megilla 13b) that &l......

Read Halacha


Question: Regarding answering “Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba Mevarach” during Kaddish, some only answer until “Le’alam Ul’almeh Almaya,” while others include the word “Yitbarach” as well, and yet others answer until “Da’amiran Be’alma”. Which custom is the correct one to follow?

Answer: Firstly, we must point out that those who answer only “Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba Mevarach Le’alam Ul’almeh Almaya” and do not proceed to recite the word “Yitbarach” are doing so incorrectly, for Maran Ha’Bet Yosef (Chapter 56) quotes the Midrash, &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha

The Proper Time to Light Chanukah Candles

One should preferably light Chanukah candles immediately when the stars appear in the sky, which is approximately fifteen minutes after sunset during this time of year. Some Ashkenazim, however, customarily light at sunset. The Earliest Possible Time to Light Chanukah Candles Chanukah candles sh......

Read Halacha

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha