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THE RABBINICAL ASSEMBLY PESAH GUIDE1
The Committee on Jewish Law & Standards (CJLS) Kashrut Subcommittee2

Introduction by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Chair, CJLS

Stories play a key role in identifying a religion or nation, especially the ones at the center of a community’s history and ritual, the ones taught to members of the community from an early age and repeated often by adults in rituals and prayers. Such master stories express in easily understandable and emotionally compelling terms a community’s understanding of its origins, its values, and its goals. If one were to compare the view of life and humanity embedded in the master stories of, for example, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism – and the United States, China, and Israel – one would find deep differences in how these various human communities understand who they are as individuals and as a community, what is important in life, and what they should strive for.

Judaism’s master story is the Exodus from Egypt, followed by the trek to Mount Sinai and then to the Promised Land of Israel. We leave Egypt not as individuals but as a nation, and we do so only with the help of God. This is very different from the staunch individualism at the heart of the liberalism that has forged most Western countries. At Mount Sinai we engage in a Covenant with God that establishes the basis of our relationship with God – and the duties of that relationship – for ourselves and all our descendants.

This perception of ourselves, our links to one another and to God, and our mission in life infuses much of our liturgy and many of our holidays, but it is Passover that focuses on this story most graphically. As the Haggadah says, “In every generation we each must see ourselves as if we personally left Egypt.” To enable us to identify with that story once again, we reenact the Exodus through story, discussion, and song at the Seder table, and we restrict our diet to remind ourselves of the slavery of Egypt and the need to redeem ourselves and others again and again. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, means “straits,” probably because the Nile enters the Mediterranean not as one river but through multiple straits. Jewish interpreters, however, have understand the word metaphorically as well, teaching us that in every generation we must seek to redeem ourselves and others from the straits of life – poverty, ignorance, prejudice, illness, meaninglessness, etc. That is our Jewish mission for life, the charge that God has given us and that the Passover story articulates for us anew each and every year.

This Guide, prepared by the Kashrut Subcommittee and approved by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, explains in detail the laws and customs regarding the dietary restrictions of Passover, the rules that remind us each time we eat of Passover’s messages for us. Some of these guidelines are, frankly, quite technical and even complicated; that is the result of the special stringency of the Passover rules in Jewish law and the complex, new ways in which foods are processed in our time. We hope that this Guide will enable Jews to understand what they may eat on Passover and how to prepare their kitchens for the holiday in ways that are clear and understandable. We do not intend this Guide to replace your rabbi’s guidance on these matters; on the contrary, any question you have about what is written here or what is missing you should address to your rabbi.

One last, but important, comment. Because Passover involves more dietary strictures than the rest of the year, many Jews become downright compulsive about the rules of the holiday. We should be careful not to use these rules to assert our superior piety over others, and remember that observance of Passover should not come at the expense of the values of honoring our parents and treating everyone with respect. Passover is really important – a central feature of what it means to live a Jewish life. Its very meaning, though, is completely undermined if the dietary rules of Passover lead people to treat each other with disrespect. So as we explain the dietary rules of Passover below, we fervently hope that they will instead function as they are supposed to – namely, to serve as graphic reminders throughout the holiday of the critical lessons of Passover, of the need to free ourselves and the world around us of all the physical, intellectual, emotional, and communal straits that limit us and others in living a life befitting of people created in the image of God. May we all succeed in making this and every Passover the stimulus for us to fix the world in these ways every day of our lives.

 


Updated February 2016. This Pesah Guide was approved by the CJLS on January 10, 2012 by a vote of fourteen in favor (14-0-0). Those voting in favor were: Rabbis Aaron Alexander, David Booth, Miriam Berkowitz, Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Susan Grossman, Reuven Hammer, Jeremy Kalmanofsky, Gail Labovitz, Jonathan Lubliner, Daniel Nevins, Paul Plotkin, Avram Reisner, Jay Stein and Loel Weiss.

Pesah is the Jewish festival which requires the most preparatory effort and is the most complex. Yet Jews are committed to doing their best to observe the laws of Pesah. This Rabbinical Assembly Pesah guide is a brief outline of the policies and procedures relevant to the preparation of a kosher for Pesah home. Please contact your local Conservative rabbi or local religious authority if you have any questions.3

With significant changes in the nature and manufacture of kitchen products and food stuffs, new policies are required to maintain a kosher for Pesah kitchen. There are also many significant differences of opinion amongst rabbis regarding the laws of Pesah. We cannot present all of the various approaches.

This guide is intended to help families maintain a kosher for Pesah home in accordance with the principles of Conservative Judaism and its understanding of Jewish Law.


 

KASHERING THE KITCHEN

It is customary (and easiest) to remove the utensils and dishes that are used during the year, replacing them with either new utensils or utensils used year to year only for Pesah. This is clearly not possible for major appliances and may not even be possible for dishes and utensils.

There is a process for kashering many, but not all, kitchen items thus making them kosher for Pesah:

The general principle used in kashering is that the way the utensil absorbs food is the way it can be purged of that food, כבולעו כך פולטו (Ke-volo kach pol’to). This principle operates on the basis of the quality or intensity of how the items absorb food. Things used for cold food can be kashered by rinsing since no substance has been absorbed by the dish or glass. Items used on a stove absorb the food and thus need a stronger level of action namely expelling the food into boiling water, called הגעלה (hag’alah). The most intense form of usage is directly on a fire or in an oven and these utensils require the most intense method of kashering, namely ליבון (libbun), which burns away absorbed food.

 

Kashering Specific Appliances and Utensils

METALS

To kasher pots, silverware, and utensils wholly of metal not used for baking, thoroughly clean the item with soap and water, then, following a strict 24 hour waiting period during which they are not used, immerse the item in water that is at a rolling boil (הגעלה – hag’alah). For pots and pans, clean handles thoroughly. If the handle can be removed, do so for an even more thorough cleaning. To effect הגעלה (hag’alah), the item must be completely exposed to the boiling water. Pots and pans are either immersed in a larger pot of boiling water (may be done one section at a time) or filled with water brought to a rolling boil and then a heated stone is dropped into the pot such that the boiling water overflows to cover the sides of the pot. A safer alternative might be let the water boil over the sides of the pot. In the case of silverware every part of each piece must be exposed to the water at a rolling boil. Following this הגעלה (hag’alah) process, each utensil is rinsed in cold water.


Metal bakeware used in a fire or in an oven must first be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned and then must be subjected to direct fire or an oven at its maximum setting. Thus using a blow torch or putting it in an oven during self-cleaning are two ways to accomplish this purging (ליבון – libbun). This is a complicated and a potentially dangerous procedure and may result in discoloration or warping of the metal being purged. Exercise caution when performing ליבון (libbun). Metal baking pans and sheets require ליבון (libbun) at very high temperatures which may warp the vessel. This may result in a reluctance to submit the vessel to the required temperature.4

A metal kitchen sink can be kashered by thoroughly cleaning and scrubbing the sink (especially the garbage catch), letting 24 hours pass during which only cold water is used, and then carefully pouring boiling water over all the surfaces of the sink starting with the bottom first and working up towards the top including the lip.5 A porcelain sink cannot be kashered, but should be thoroughly cleaned, then Pesah dish basins and dish racks must be used, one each for dairy and meat.

 

GLASS

Glass dishes used for eating and serving hot foods are to be treated like any dish used for eating and serving hot food. Kashering is effected by cleaning and immersing in boiling water (הגעלה hag’alah).6

Glass cookware is treated like a metal pot for kashering (see paragraph on metal, above). The issues regarding glass bakeware are complex. Some authorities allow it to be kashered and others do not.7

Drinking glasses or glass dishes used only for cold foods may be kashered by a simple rinsing. Some follow the custom of soaking them for three days.8

 

PLASTICS


Heavy duty plastics including dishes, cutlery or serving items, providing they can withstand very hot water and do not permanently stain, may be kashered by הגעלה (hag’alah). If there is some doubt as to whether particular items can be kashered, consult your rabbi.9

 

CERAMIC DISHES


Ceramic dishes (earthenware, stoneware, china, pottery, etc) cannot be kashered. However fine china that was put away clean and that has not been used for over one Jewish calendar year may be used after thorough detergent and hot water washing. The china is then considered pareve and may be designated for meat or dairy use.

 

COOKING APPLIANCES

For ovens and ranges, every part that comes in contact with food must be thoroughly cleaned. This includes the walls and the top and bottom of the oven. Then the oven or range should be heated as hot as possible. The oven should be heated at maximum heat for an hour; the range top until the elements turn red and glow. Then parts of the range top around the elements that can be covered should be covered, (usually with aluminum foil). After a general and careful cleaning, self cleaning ovens are put through the full cleaning cycle while empty.10 Following this process, the oven should be again cleaned to remove any ash. If the oven was very dirty to start, two cycles may be needed to assure a thorough cleaning.

Smooth, glass top electric ranges require kashering by ליבון (libbun) and ערוי (iruy – pouring boiling water over the surface of the range top). First, clean the top thoroughly, then turn the coils on maximum heat until they are red hot. Then carefully pour boiling water on the surface area over and around the burners. The range top may now be used for cooking.

Microwave ovens that have no convection option should be thoroughly cleaned. Then an 8 ounce cup of water is placed inside and the oven is turned on until the water almost disappears (at least 6 of the 8 ounces is gone). Heating to complete dryness may damage the oven. A microwave oven that has a browning element cannot be kashered.

Convection ovens are kashered like regular ovens. Make sure that during the cleaning phase you clean thoroughly around the fan.

ADDITIONAL KITCHEN APPLIANCES

A dishwasher needs to be cleaned as thoroughly as possible including the inside area around the drainage and filters. After 24 hours of not being used the dishwasher is again run empty (with racks in), with soap in the dispenser and in the main dishwasher, and set on the highest heat for the purpose of kashering. If the sides of the dishwasher are made of enamel or porcelain, the dishwasher cannot be kashered for Pesah.11

Other electrical appliances can be kashered if the parts that come in contact with חמץ (hameitz) are metal and are removable, in which case they may be kashered like all other metal cooking utensils. If the parts are not removable, the appliances cannot be kashered. We recommend whenever possible that small appliances be used that are strictly for Pesah, thus avoiding the difficulty of kashering these appliances.

WORK SURFACES

Tables, closets, and counters should be thoroughly cleaned and covered for Pesah. The coverings can be contact paper, regular paper, foil or cloth that does not contain חמץ (hameitz) (e.g. been starched with hameitz starch). Note that the covering material should be made of material that is not easily torn.

Many counter top surfaces can be kashered simply by a thorough cleaning, a 24 hour wait and ערוי (iruy –pouring boiling water over them). To have ערוי (iruy) be effective for kashering, the surface must have no hairline cracks, nicks or scratches that can be seen with the naked eye.

  • Plastic laminates, limestone, soapstone, granite, marble, glass, Corian, Staron, Ceasarstone, Swanstone, Surell and Avonite surfaces can be kashered by ערוי (iruy).
  • Wood without scratches is also kashered by ערוי (iruy).
  • Ceramic, cement or porcelain counter tops cannot be kashered by ערוי (iruy).

The potential effectiveness of ערוי (iruy) depends on the material of which the counter was made. A full list of counter materials that can be kashered (according to their decisors) may be found on the website of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC). 12 Refrigerators and freezers should be thoroughly cleaned with detergent. If there are places where food can be stuck (e.g. cracks or difficult corners to reach), these areas should be covered.

FOODS

The Torah prohibits the ownership of חמץ (hameitz) (flour, food or drink made from the prohibited species of leavened grain: wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt) during Pesah.13 Ideally we burn or remove all חמץ (hameitz) from our premises which may be effected by donations to a local food pantry.

In some cases, however, this would cause prohibitive financial loss. In such cases, we arrange for the sale of the חמץ (hameitz) to a non-Jew and its repurchase after Pesah:

מכירת חמץ (mekhirat hameitz – the sale of hameitz) is accomplished by appointing an agent, usually one’s rabbi to handle the sale. This must be considered a valid and legal transfer of ownership and thus the items sold must be separated and stored away from all other foods and supplies. This means that non-Passover dishes, pots, utensils and חמץ (hameitz) food that have been sold as part of the selling of one’s חמץ (hameitz) should be separated, covered or locked away to prevent accidental use.

At the end of the holiday, the agent arranges to repurchase the items on behalf of the owner, since the חמץ (hameitz) at that time is again permitted. One must wait until one is sure the repurchase has been done. If ownership of the חמץ (hameitz) was not transferred before the holiday, the use of any such חמץ (hameitz) remains prohibited after the holiday ( חמץ שעבר עליו הפסח – hameitz she-avar alav ha-Pesah) and any such products should be given away to a non-Jewish food pantry.

Prohibited foods

Since the Torah prohibits the eating of חמץ (hameitz) during Pesah, and since many common foods contain some חמץ (hameitz), guidance is necessary when shopping and preparing for Pesah.

Prohibited foods (חמץ – hameitz) include the following:

  • biscuits
  • cakes
  • coffees containing cereal derivatives
  • crackers
  • leavened bread
  • pasta

These are foods that are generally made with wheat, barley, oats, spelt or rye (grains that can become חמץ
(hameitz)). Any food containing these grains or derivatives of these grains must be certified kosher for Pesah. Flavorings in foodstuffs are often derived from alcohol produced from one of these grains which would render that food חמץ (hameitz). Such products also need Pesah supervision.


קטניות – Kitniyot

Until this year, the CJLS position on kitniyot (for Ashkenazim) has followed that of the longstanding Ashkenazi minhag of refraining from eating them. These foods included: beans, corn, millet, peas, rice, soy, and some other plant based foods like mustard, buckwheat and sesame seeds. The one exception was an approved permission of peanuts and peanut oil, provided said items have proper year-round kosher certification and do not contain hameitz ingredients. 14

In the fall of 2015 the CJLS passed two responsa which permit the consumption of kitniyot for Ashkenazim. To fully understand their positions, which differ in their argumentation, please see:

  • David Golinkin, "Rice, beans and kitniyot on Pesah - are they really forbidden?" OH 453:1.2015a
  • Amy Levin and Avram Israel Reisner, "A Teshuvah Permitting Ashkenzaim to Eat Kitniyot on Pesah" 453:1.2015b

This permission does not come without a few caveats that do appear in the body of the papers. The first is that the CJLS affirms that this new position does not constitute an instruction to consume kitniyot during Pesah, but rather a halakhic basis and guideline for those who choose to do so. We recognize that while some individuals, communities, and institutions will utilize this new ruling, others may choose not to do so. Both are equally legitimate and derekh eretz should be the guiding value with which we hold our communal and interpersonal conversations around this topic. We encourage all decision-making parties to be transparent in their policies and menus, as well as sensitive to the spiritual and dietary needs of others. For those who do avail themselves of this ruling, it is important to note the following specific guidance, cited in the p’sak halakhah of the responsum by Rabbis Amy Levin and Avram Reisner:

1) Fresh corn on the cob and fresh beans (like lima beans in their pods) may be purchased before and during Pesah, that is, treated like any other fresh vegetable.
2) Dried kitniyot (legumes, rice and corn) can be purchased bagged or in boxes and then sifted or sorted before Pesah. These should ideally not be purchased in bulk from bins because of the concern that the bin might previously have been used for hameitz, and a few grains of hameitz might be mixed in. In any case, one should inspect these before Pesah and discard any pieces of hameitz. If one did not inspect the rice or dried beans before Pesah, one should remove pieces of hameitz found in the package on Pesah, discarding those, and the kitniyot themselves remain permissible.
3) Kitniyot in cans may only be purchased with Pesah certification since the canning process has certain related hameitz concerns, and may be purchased on Pesah.
4) Frozen raw kitniyot (corn, edamame [soy beans], etc.): One may purchase bags of frozen non- hekhshered kitniyot before Pesah provided that one can either absolutely determine that no shared equipment was used or one is careful to inspect the contents before Pesah and discard any pieces of חמץ hameitz). Even if one did not inspect the vegetables before Pesah, if one can remove pieces of (hameitz) found in the package on Pesah, the vegetables themselves are permissible.
5) Processed foods, including tofu, although containing no listed hameitz, continue to require Pesah certification due to the possibility of admixtures of hameitz during production.
Pesah Guide 8 תשע"ו
6) Even those who continue to observe the Ashkenazic custom of eschewing kitniyot during Pesah may eat from Pesah dishes, utensils and cooking vessels that have come into contact with kitniyot )מי קטניות( may consume kitniyot derivatives like oil that have a KP hekhsher.


Permitted Foods

An item that is kosher all year round, that is made with no חמץ (hameitz), and is processed on machines used only for that item and nothing else (such as ground coffee) may be used with no special Pesah supervision. As we learn more about the processing of foods and the ingredients they contain, relying on the kashrut of a product for Pesah without a Passover הכשר (hekhsher) may be problematic.15 Wherever possible, processed foods ought to have a “ כשר לפסח ” (“kasher l’Pesah”) הכשר (hekhsher) from a reliable source. Since that is not always possible, however, our guidelines reflect some alternatives that are acceptable.
Any food that you purchase with a “ כשר לפסח ” (“kasher l’Pesah”) הכשר (hekhsher) must have a label that is integral to the package and it should have the name of a recognizable, living supervising Rabbi or creditable kosher supervision agency if possible. If the label is not integral to the package or if there are questions regarding the labeling, the item should not be used without consulting a Rabbi.

NO PESAH HEKHSHER REQUIRED
Products which may be purchased without a Pesah הכשר (hekhsher) before or during Pesah:

  • baking soda
    bicarbonate of soda
    eggs
    fresh fruits and vegetables
    fresh or frozen kosher meat (other than chopped meat)
    Nestea (regular and decaffeinated)
    pure black, green, or white tea leaves
    unflavored tea bags
    unflavored regular coffee
    olive oil (extra-virgin only)
    whole or gutted fresh fish
    whole or half pecans (not pieces)
    whole (unground) spices and nuts

 

NO PESAH HEKHSHER REQUIRED IF PURCHASED BEFORE PESAH

Products which may only be purchased without a Pesah הכשר (hekhsher) before Pesah. If bought during Pesah they require a Pesah הכשר (hekhsher):

  • all pure fruit juices
    filleted fish
    frozen fruit (no additives)
    non-iodized salt
    pure white sugar (no additives)
    quinoa (with nothing mixed in)*
    white milk
    Some products sold by Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolate 16

 

  • Frozen, uncooked vegetables may be processed on shared equipment that uses חמץ (hameitz). It is preferable to purchase those with a “ כשר לפסח ” (“kasher l’Pesah”) label. One may, however buy bags of frozen non-hekhshered vegetables before Pesah provided that one can either absolutely determine that no shared equipment was used or one is careful to inspect the contents before Pesah and discard any pieces of חמץ
    (hameitz). Even if one did not inspect the vegetables before Pesah, if one can remove pieces of חמץ (hameitz) found in the package on Pesah, the vegetables themselves are permissible.17
  • *It has come to our attention that there is a possibility of grains being mixed with quinoa if it is not under Pesach supervision. The best option is to purchase quinoa with a Pesach הכשר (hekhsher), if it is available. Where that is not available, purchase Bolivian or Peruvian quinoa, marked “gluten free” before Pesah. Please make certain that quinoa is the sole ingredient in the final packaging.18

 

 

PESAH HEKHSHER ALWAYS REQUIRED

Products which require reliable כשר לפסח (kasher l’Pesah) certification (regular kosher supervision being not sufficient) whether bought before or during Pesah:

  • all baked goods
    farfel
    matzah
    any product containing matzah
    matzah flour
    matzah meal
    Pesah cakes
    all frozen processed foods
    candy
    canned tuna
    cheeses
    chocolate milk
    decaf coffee
    decaf tea
    dried fruits
    herbal tea
    ice cream
    liquor
    Grade AA butter
    oils
    soda
    vinegar
    wine
    yogurt
  • Regarding cheeses and non Grade AA butter, an inspection by a rabbi of a local dairy may suffice to resolve potential questions in some cases.

BABY FOOD

Baby food with a Passover הכשר (hekhsher) is sometimes available. Of course, home preparation of baby food, using כשר לפסח (kasher l’Pesah) utensils and kitchen items is always possible. Pure vegetable prepared baby food that isכשר (kasher) the year round is acceptable for Pesah. The use of קטניות (kitniyot) for babies is also acceptable with care taken that this baby food does not mix with food from the rest of the family. Separate dishes and utensils are recommended. Most infant formulas are made from soy and the use of קטניות (kitniyot) does not apply to infants. Thus infant formula products,כשר (kasher) the year round, are acceptable for Pesah. Here as in baby foods, the bottles, nipples and formula should be kept away from the general kitchen area and clean up should be done out of the kitchen area (e.g. a bathroom sink).


MEDICINES
Prescription medicines are permitted. Non-prescription pills and capsules are permitted; for liquids, check with your rabbi.

PET FOOD

The issue of pets on Pesah is a complicated one. There are several options:
1. The pet is given, for the week of Pesah, to a gentile who can feed it whatever food is available.
2. Since no חמץ (hameitz) is allowed in our possession on Pesah, one could feed the pet either כשר לפסח
(kasher l’Pesah) pet food, pet foods with no grain, or food off your own table which is already כשר
לפסח (kasher l’Pesah). Incidentally קטניות (kitniyot) would be permissible.
3. Some authorities allow for the pet to be sold along with the חמץ (hameitz) and, since the pet does not belong to the Jewish owner, regular pet food would be fed. Note that the document of sale would have to include the pet as well as חמץ (hameitz). If you have these pet foods in your home be careful to keep them away from the general kitchen area. Washing of pet utensils should be done out of the kitchen area (e.g. a bathroom sink).

NON FOOD ITEMS

Any detergents, cleaners, etc. which are not a food stuff and which are not eaten, may be used for Pesah with no hekhshered supervision. This would include:


  • aluminum products
    ammonia
    baby oil
    bleach
    candles
    contact paper
    charcoal
    coffee filters
    fabric softener
    isopropyl alcohol
    aundry and dish detergent
    oven cleaner
    paper bags
    paper plates (with no starch coating)
    plastic cutlery
    plastic wrap
    polish
    powder and ointment
    sanitizers
    scouring pads
    stain remover
    water with no additives
    wax paper

 



NOTES:
1 Updated January 2015
2 This guide was prepared by the kashrut subcommittee of the CJLS, chaired by Rabbi Paul Plotkin. We give special thanks to Dr. Regenstein for lending his expertise on matters of food production to our discussions.
3 For Conservative rabbis in your area, see:
In the USA: uscj.org/kehilla.aspx
Internationally: masortiworld.org
4 Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with using a warped pan on Pesach. The fear is that the possibility of ruining the pan will cause the owner not to subject the pan to the appropriate heat to effect kashering. We thus recommend simply purchasing some new pans specifically for Pesach.
5 The Star-K allows the sink to be used during the 24 hour waiting period provided that no hot water is used during that time. This alternative is doable only if care is taken that any water used is not hot enough to cause our hand to feel pain (yad soledet bo).
6 The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards passed a teshuvah on glass bakeware written by Rabbi Kassel Abelson that permits kashering of such bakeware. The teshuvah is available on the Rabbinical Assembly website: rabbinicalassembly.org/orah-hayyim#pesah and kashering
7 Ibid.
8 Most authorities treat glassware as a non-porous substance and require the same kashering process as other dishes or utensils. Those same authorities rely on the principle of רוב תשמישו (rov tashmisho – majority of usage) to determine the status of the item. A glass cup for example, used mostly for cold drinks, only requires ערוי (iruy) to effect kashering. Only the חיי אדם (Hayyei Adam) (125:22) posits the three day soaking ritual. The process of soaking is as follows: Immerse the glassware completely in warm water for 72 hours, changing the water every 24 hours.
9 The manufacture of plastics has changed and many plastic dishes and utensils are made to withstand water at high temperatures. The issue has been that, since some plastic can be ruined in very hot water, the fear was that the owner would not subject any plastic to water hot enough to effect kashering. And lest one think that plastic does not absorb, think of how red sauce, for example, stains a plastic container such that it is difficult to remove the stain. With care, we do feel that proper kashering can be effective for many plastic items. (Information on kashering of dishwashers made of plastics is found in note 11 below).
10 The racks, however, are left in the oven during the full cleaning cycle.
11 For more information about koshering dishwashers please see: On the Kashrut of Dishwashers by Rabbi Loel M. Weiss. The teshuvah is available on the Rabbinical Assembly website: rabbinicalassembly.org/jewish-law/committee-jewish-law-and-standards/yoreh-deah#mixtures
12 Many countertops appear not to absorb but actually do. Marble for example is very difficult to clean properly. Also, pouring hot water on countertops may inadvertently cause damage to the floor when the water runs off the counter. The alternative is simply to clean the counters and cover them. As sensitive Jews however we must be aware of the mitzvah of בל תחשית (bal tashhit – not wasting resources) such that a covering that is thrown away after Pesach is wasteful. A
Pesah Guide 12 תשע"ו
plastic covering that is affixed to the counter, removed after Pesach, cleaned and stored for the future use would be one way to be sensitive to this mitzvah.
13 Technically one of the prohibited grains becomes חמץ (hameitz) when, during processing, it comes in contact with a leavening agent for more than 18 minutes. Thus, matzah, while made from wheat, is not חמץ (hameitz), for in the processing no leavening agent comes in contact with it for more than the specified time before it is baked. Matzah sh’murah is made from wheat that has not come in contact with a leavening agent (this could include water) from the time it is harvested, not simply from the time it is processed. (The additional care taken to keep the wheat free from leavening agents from the farm is, in part, the reason for its higher price.) It has become the custom of same Hasidic Jews not to cook matzah or matzah meal in any way that might cause the matzah to be in contact with a leavening agent even in the cooking process. They do not for example eat matzah balls, for those consist of matzah meal cooking in water for more than 18 minutes. They consider matzah balls and all such creations to be gebracht and forbidden on Pesach, except for the 8th day which is only celebrated outside of Israel.
14 A full discussion of these issues is contained in the paper entitled “A New Look at Peanuts—From the Ground Up” by Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman, which is an official position of the CJLS. The teshuvah is available on the Rabbinical Assembly website: rabbinicalassembly.org/orah-hayyim#pesah and kashering
15 A full discussion of these issues is contained in the paper entitled “Supervision of Passover Food” by Rabbi Paul Plotkin, which is an official position of the CJLS. The teshuvah is available on the Rabbinical Assembly website: rabbinicalassembly.org/orah-hayyim#pesah and kashering
16 Rabbi Aaron Alexander. Has determined that the products listed on this website are acceptable. http://shop.equalexchange.coop/pesach
17 See note 13
18 After doing research, we have made our ruling based on the following understanding: Quinoa is gluten free and is not kitniyot. Quinoa is grown at 12,000 plus foot elevations in regions of Bolivia and Peru. It is grown in very arid conditions which will not support the growth of חמץ (hameitz) producing grains. Thus, there is no possibility of field contamination from such grains. In addition, the FDA has proposed a standard for any packaging marked “gluten-free” which will further guarantee that the product does not contain any gluten bearing grains. If, when the package is opened, you find that foreign grain is present, these foreign bodies should be discarded and the quinoa may be used on Pesah.