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Erev Pesach Which Falls

on Erev Shabbat

The last time it happened was 2008. The next time will be 2025. And then 2045. Here’s a refresher on the laws and customs applicable specifically to this situation. I’ve included light explanations and summaries of prominent debates so folks can understand what they’re doing, always crucial in religious praxis, and also to give context to understand different customs and differing opinions. Have no fear, though; there is a brief enumerated summary explaining what you should do, tachlis, at the end of the section.

Fast of the firstborn: Normally on Erev Pesach, there is debate amongst authorities about whether the fast is advanced to Thursday, occurs on Friday, or is cancelled altogether. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 470:2) states:

“If Erev Pesach falls out on Shabbat, some say that the firstborns fast on Thursday, while others say that they do not fast at all.

Rema: A person should conduct himself in accordance with the first opinion.

While Rabbi Yosef Karo seems to follow the second cited opinion, that the fast is cancelled, we customarily follow the opinion of the Rema (following the Rambam). On Thursday morning, March 25th, we will host an online siyum (completion of a talmudic tractate) early in the morning (time TBD) via the CBS Zoom channel to allow firstborn males to participate in a seudat mitzvah and exempt themselves from the fast.

Bedikat Chametz: Usually, the search is conducted by light of candle at the onset of nightfall on Erev Pesach. This year, the search is conducted on Thursday night with the regular blessing. The usual post-search bitul declaration should also be recited.

It’s the destruction and burning where things become a bit more complicated (before Pesach, the Rabbi intends to give a special shiur on this subject). The Sages and Rabbi Meir have a disagreement (Pesachim 49a) regarding whether, in years like this, Chametz should be destroyed on Shabbat (according to the sages, not using a fire but in some other way) or on Friday (using a fire, as required by Rabbi Meir). The Shulchan Aruch rules according to the opinion of Rambam, who seems to follow the opinion of Rabbi Meir; Chametz should be destroyed on Friday. Moreover, even though this need not happen in the morning (it’s not actually Erev Pesach on Friday), Rashi noted a tradition to burn chametz at the regular time (by the conclusion of the fifth hour of the day) to safeguard the practice for other years. This is the codified law, so folks should burn Chametz before 11:48 am on Friday. However, since chametz will be eaten on Shabbat (for motzi), the post-burning bitul declaration should be omitted. Even those who might not have chametz on Shabbat, for whatever reason, should still skip this bittul.

Kol chamira (the morning nullification) should be recited on Shabbat morning, Erev Pesach, after the morning seudah but before 11:48 am. Any yehi ratzon or other supplication that folks customarily say should be skipped according to most authorities.



Shabbat Meals

Seder.jpeg

While many have holy customs to be even more stringent and abstain from matzo for thirty days or even the entire year, it is actually halachically prohibited to consume matzo on Erev Pesach itself. Of note, it is only prohibited to have matzo that could be used for the mitzvah on the seder night, so the presence of matzo meal/etc. in foods, with which one could not fulfill the mitzvah, does not affect their status on Shabbat this year. For example, one could eat a Kosher for Passover kugel made with matzo meal on Shabbat morning.

Given the above, Challah (that is chametz) should be used for Friday night and Shabbat morning meals. Of course, folks should be careful to do so in ways that don’t leave chametz around, clean up afterwards, eat outside, etc., as they wish. On Shabbat morning, chametz cannot be eaten after 10:46 am. In order to facilitate an early meal, we will be scheduling davening much earlier than usual (time TBD). The rest of the meal may continue after 10:46 am provided that no chametz is included.

Seudah Shlishit (the third meal) is more complicated. There are two pertinent debates, one about whether bread is required, similar to the other Shabbat meals, or not, and the other regarding the proper time of Seudah Shlishit. Tosafot rule that bread is required at the third meal, whereas the Ran rules that even fruit will suffice (there are several intermediate opinions, including that of the Rosh and Rabbeinu Tam). The accepted halacha cited in the Shulchan Aruch, on this Shabbat and all others, is that while bread is ideal, we can make due with other items if a person is full.

Regarding timing, the Rambam, Tosafot, and most others rule that the third meal can only occur during the time of Mincha (after 6 and ½ hours into the day). The kabbalists and mystics offer additional, non-halachic, reasons why having the meal during the afternoon during a time of mercy is crucial. Behag is cited as proposing that the third meal can even be consumed during the morning.

Given the above, it would only be possible to eat bread at the third meal following the approach of the Behag, which is not customarily accepted. The Shulchan Aruch suggests that one fulfill their obligation using matzo ashira (egg matzo or matzo made with fruit juice); he follows the Rambam and others who rule that such matzo can never rise, and is forbidden only because it is “wealthy” and not “bread of affliction.” Ashkenazim, however, refrain from eating egg matzo on Pesach and Erev Pesach for fear that it is more likely to leaven. This opinion is cited by the Rema. The Rema proposes having the third meal with fruit on this Shabbat. Interestingly, the Rema specifically seems to privilege fruit over meat or fish, the opposite of what we might have expected; Aruch HaShulchan explains that this is to increase appetite at the seder. The third meal should specifically be light. According to all opinions, the third meal should be completed before the 10th hour of the day.

Summary:

A. The siyum for the fast of the firstborn will be on Thursday morning.

B. The search for chametz is conducted on Thursday night at nightfall with the regular blessing. The usual post-search bitul declaration should also be recited.

C. Chametz should be burned before 11:48 am on Friday morning. The post-burning bitul declaration should be omitted at this time.

D. Challah should be eaten (carefully) for both the Friday night and Shabbat morning meals. The challah at the Shabbat morning meal (and any other chametz) must be consumed before 10:46 am. Davenen will be early that day.

E. Kol Chamira (the nullification text) should be recited on Shabbat morning before 11:48 am.

F. The third meal should be eaten after 1:22 pm. For Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews, it is ideal to use matzo ashira (egg matzo) in place of bread. For Ashkenazim, fruits and vegetables are preferred. The meal should be concluded before approximately 5:15 pm that day.

Mechirat Chametz (Sale of Chametz)

Chametz.jpg

During the eight days of Pesach, homes must be cleared of all leavened grain products from five prohibited species of grain (wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye). Ideally, all such food items are to be destroyed. To ease the financial burden, though, a custom developed to arrange a sale whereby all such items are placed in designated areas and sold for the eight-day period to a non-Jew not obligated in the laws. During the entire festival, any designated cabinets should not be opened, and no items in the designated areas should be used (that would either be stealing or render the sale a sham).

In order to limit in-person interaction due to the ongoing pandemic, appointment of the Rabbi as the power of attorney (agent) to sell Chametz will only occur online only via Google form at:

Although the minhag is to perform a symbolic kinyan (acquisition) with a portable object such as a handkerchief or pen in order to empower the Rabbi to become the power of attorney for the sale of chametz, this is not required by Jewish law and will not occur this year. Rest assured, Rabbi Dolinger looks forward to resuming handshakes, handkerchiefs, pens, and all the rest in future years.

Please fill out all online forms by 12:00 pm on Thursday, March 25th, the latest. It is customary either to tip or make a donation to the Rabbi’s discretionary fund in exchange for this service. You may do so online via the links sent out in related e-mails.

Please note: Chametz cannot be eaten after 10:46 am and must be sold by 11:48AM on Shabbat morning, March 27, 2021.

It should be noted that this year, there is a debate about when to sell the chametz, with three main opinions. One opinion says that the sale should occur at the normal time on Friday morning, even though chametz will still be eaten afterwards and is not yet prohibited. A second opinion suggests a sale that goes into effect just before the start of Shabbat and expressly excludes chametz eaten on Shabbat. A third approach suggests a sale conducted on Friday that goes into effect on Shabbat at the proper time so as to limit exclusions; the sale is permissible, according to those authorities, because the prohibited actions used to effectuate the sale occurred before Shabbat started. While there is great difference of opinion in this matter, the Rabbi will be following the third opinion this year, selling all chametz in a transaction that takes place on Friday but goes into effect at 11:30 am on Shabbat morning.

Sale of Chametz Form

Maot Chittin

There is an ancient custom to give charity before Pesach to see that all Jews have their Holiday needs taken care of. After all, freedom from slavery is primarily about learning to live in social responsibility with empathy for those who suffer. As opposed to Matanot Le’evyonim, which can easily be taken care of on the day of Purim, Maot Chittin are needed well in advance of Pesach to allow for proper distribution of funds. This year, there has been a substantial increase in need within our community due to Covid-19. Please send in your donation by donating at the appropriate link on our website, also found in our sale of chametz e-mails. All donations must be made online. The money will be distributed to those in need within our community for food for the holiday.

Maot Chitten

Shabbat Hagadol Derasha

On the Shabbat before Pesach, the Ashkenazic custom is for the Rabbi to give an extended discourse on the laws, customs, and observances of Pesach. Likely, it is called Shabbat Hagadol (the Great Sabbath) either because the Israelites were informed they were going to depart Egypt on the 10th of Nissan that year, which fell on Shabbat, or because of the reference to the Yom Hagadol – Great Day in the haftarah reading. This year, the Derasha will take place outdoors, weather permitting, on Saturday afternoon, March 27th, at 4:15 pm, following Mincha at 3:45 pm. In the event of weather disruptions, it will be rescheduled to occur over Zoom prior to Shabbat. This year’s topic is, “The Exile of Awareness – Michael Goldhaber and the Attention Economy.”

Pesach 5781 Product Information

A partial Pesach product list follows. I have tried to include as much detailed information as possible, but it still remains a partial list. Further, it follows the Ashkenazi custom of avoiding kitniyot on Pesach. If you have any questions, you can call me to check on a particular product.

Jews with Diabetes face special challenges over Pesach. The Star K & Jewish Diabetes Association have prepared very helpful guides of Halacha, advice – and recipes! Please see the following links for more information:

http://www.jewishdiabetes.org/

http://star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-diabetics.htm (Pages 61-68)

Of course, you can call me with any additional questions you may have at (516) 902-6346 or send me an e-mail me at rabbi@bethsholom-ri.org. Due to the high volume of questions at this time of year, it may take some time before I’m able to get back to you. Text messages will likely receive the quickest responses.

Product Information:

Air Freshener: Does not require Pesach Certification. However, Phthalates, used as a solvent to strengthen the presence of fragrance in many such products, are known endocrine disruptors and should be limited regardless of Pesach concerns.

Alcohol: See: Rubbing alcohol

Aluminum Foil and Pans: Do not require Pesach Certification.

Ammonia: Does not require Pesach Certification

Artificial/Alternative Sweeteners: The following brands may be used: Pure Aspartame (not Equal), Kojel Kosher L’ Pesach Sweet N’ Good, Splenda, Leiber’s Kosher L’Pesach Sugar Substitute, Sweet N’ Low, Gefen OUP, V.I.P. Master OUP.

Agave – 100% does not require Pesach Certification. Others require Pesach certification

Maple Syrup – 100% pure maple syrup does not require Pesach Certification.

Others require Pesach certification

Truvia – Not acceptable for Pesach

Baby Foods: Formula – Ashkenazim can use formula with kitniyot for infants. Enfamil, Prosobee, Carnation, Isomil, Similac, and many other brands contain kitniyot. However, they (and others like them) may be used without special Pesach certification. This applies to both powder and liquid varieties. For a complete listing of acceptable, kitniyot-based formulas see:

http://oukosher.org/index.php/passover/article/5710


Please note that two Enfamil products, Nutramigel Lipil and Pregestimil, along with Alimentum, contain non-kosher ingredients. One should consult with one’s doctor and the Rabbi before using them.

Jars – May Require Pesach Certification. However, many products may be used without Pesach certification. Please consult the Rabbi for more details.

Cereals – Cereals that do not have wheat, barley, spelt, oat, or rye ingredients are acceptable if purchased before Pesach.

Pedialite- Pedialite, Pediaflor and Pediasure contain kitniyot, but not actual chametz. See "formula" for usage.

Baby Oil, Lotions and Medicated Ointments: Do not require Pesach Certification.

Baby Wipes: Do not require Pesach Certification.

Baking Powder: Requires Pesach Certification.

Baking Soda: Does not require Pesach Certification.

Bleach: Does not require Pesach Certification.

Braces: Wax used for braces is OK for Pesach use. See below under "rubber bands".

Candy: Requires Pesach Certification. Speak with the Rabbi for specific candies that are acceptable without Pesach certification.

Chapstick: May be used if new and unflavored.

Cigars: Flavored cigars may contain chametz-based alcohol. This is not an endorsement of smoking cigars.

Cocoa: Any 100% pure cocoa (no additives or lecithin) does not require Pesach certification. Organic or fair-trade chocolates are strongly preferred to those that source from child-labor and human trafficking. It’s the Festival of Freedom! Fox’s Ubet sources its chocolate ethically, and Equal Exchange sells several lines of Kosher for Passover chocolate available for purchase on the internet.

Coconut: Shredded coconut requires Pesach Certification.

Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil does not require Pesach certification.

Coffee: Instant: 100% freeze-dried instant coffee is acceptable. Spray dried instant coffee Requires Pesach Certification (concern over the spray dry process), except for Classic Roast Unflavored Folgers (not decaffeinated) and Original Unflavored Nescafe Taster’s choice (not decaffeinated). See here for an explanation of how to tell the difference between spray and freeze-dried instant coffee (https://www.aquaspresso.co.za/instant-coffee-explained/). Elite and Gefen can be used only with an OUP. Mount Hagen may be used without Pesach certification.

Coffee “Singles”: Require Pesach Certification, except for Classic Roast Unflavored Folgers (not decaffeinated) and Original Unflavored Nescafe Taster’s choice (not decaffeinated).

Regular & Decaf: All unflavored caffeinated ground or whole bean coffees may be used on Pesach without special Pesach Certification. All unflavored decaffeinated coffees may be on Pesach without special Pesach Certification (Some authorities are concerned that ethyl acetate is sometimes used for decaffeination. While Ethyl acetate is produced from reactions using Ethanol, which can, in theory, be produced from wheat, this is an extremely uncommon source of Ethanol production in the U.S.; moreover, the Ethyl Acetate remains only in infinitesimal quantities in the final product in any event. This is why some suggest caution with decaffeinated teas and coffees).

Flavored: Requires Pesach Certification.

Cosmetics: Do not require Pesach certification. However, some are strict about flavored lipsticks.

Dates: Require Pesach Certification as their “glaze” may be problematic.

Dental Floss: Any unflavored dental floss does not require Pesach Certification.

Dill: Seeds - Are considered kitniyot

Leaves - Are not kitniyot and may be used without special Pesach Certification

Dishwashing Detergent: Does not require Pesach Certification.

Eggs: Fresh - Do not require Pesach Certification. Since commercial eggs are bleached and/or cleaned, they may be purchased on Pesach as there is no concern of chametz attaching to the egg. Likewise, there is no concern that any chametz consumed by the hen is meaningfully present in the egg.

Liquid - Requires Pesach Certification

Fennel: Seeds - Are considered kitniyot

Leaves - Are not kitniyot and may be used without special Pesach Certification

Fenugreek: According to many, it is considered a kitniyot spice. See “spices”.

Fish: Frozen, Unprocessed - Does not require special Pesach Certification if there are no other ingredients besides fish, water and salt.

Frozen, Processed (including gefilte fish) – Requires Pesach Certification.

Fresh - Does not require special Pesach Certification.

Tuna – Many brands do not require Pesach certification; please consult the Rabbi. Many “generic” and “kosher” brands have special Pesach certification.

Flour: Tempered flour, soaked with water to produce a cleaner flour, was used in Talmudic times and Rava even required it for matzo (Pesachim 40a). The Geonim, however, issued a ban on using tempered flour for matzo due to a lack of expertise in flour processing and the fact that it was soaked for several hours in water and might cause cracking and leavening. There are, essentially, three (3) positions amongst poskim regarding modern day flour. 1) It is prohibited, as per rule of the Geonim, and should be treated as Chametz. 2) These days, it is not fully soaked but treated with a gentle spray, and should therefore be treated as safeik chametz. Importantly, according to this opinion, those who are stringent not to sell bona fide chametz could still sell their flour. This is the stated position of the Orthodox Union. 3) The spray is so light (there is not even any visible moisture) that it is not comparable to the flour banned by the Geonim and therefore not chametz. This is the position of the Rabbi.

Fruit: Frozen - whole or sliced, without additives or syrup - does not require Pesach Certification.

Canned - Requires Pesach Certification

Fresh - Wax on whole, unpeeled produce may contain kitniyot, but the kitniyot are nullified and not a problem at all.

Dried - Requires Pesach Certification (chametz flour may be used to prevent sticking).

Raisins – see “raisins”

Food Coloring: May require Pesach certification. An increasing number of studies have raised serious concern regarding various negative health effects from certain artificial food dyes; consumers should beware. Plant-based food dyes may be Kosher for Passover without special certification; please consult with the Rabbi on a case by case basis.

Garlic: Fresh – Does not require Pesach Certification

Peeled – Requires Pesach Certification

Glue: Any glue does not require Pesach Certification.

Grains: There is concern that wheat, barley, spelt, oats, or rye, if still in the form of grain, may have come into contact with water and might have begun a leavening process. If so, they should be disposed of even if they have not been converted into flour. However, flax and hemp are not chametz.

Halvah: Only acceptable for those who eat kitniyot due to the presence of Tahini.

Honey: Any brand of 100% pure honey is acceptable for Pesach. Some brands add corn syrup, (which some permit as shemen kitniyot or a new world food, and by definition not kiniyot, and some forbid as kitniyot)

Horseradish: Raw – Does not require Pesach Certification

Processed – Requires Pesach Certification

Ice: Bags from plain water do not require Pesach Certification.

Ices/Ice Cream: Generally Require Pesach Certification. Some Edy’s and Breyer’s products are acceptable for Pesach use. Please consult Rabbi to discuss which flavors are acceptable.

Juice: Frozen - 100% pure orange concentrate (All other juices – including grapefruit - require certification as enzymes are used in processing) does not require special certification.

Liquid - requires Pesach Certification. Trader Joe’s Orange Juice and select other Trader Joe’s juices do not require Pesach certification (please consult me if you are interested in purchasing). Tropicana Orange Juice requires Pesach certification.

Lemon/Lime - ReaLemon brand is OK without special Pesach Certification. (Liquid only -not frozen). Natalie’s Orange Juice is acceptable without Pesach certification.

Grape –Please note that Kedem grape juice sold in the 1.5-liter glass bottles is not mevushal.

Kitniyot: Due to the stringency of not eating chametz on Pesach, Ashkenazic Jews have developed a custom not to eat Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. Kitniyot include alfalfa, anise, ascorbic acid (may actually contain chametz), asparatame (Nutrasweet) according to some, bean sprouts, beans, BHA, BHT, black eyed peas, buckwheat, calcium ascorbate, canola oil, caraway, chickpeas, citric acid (may actually be chametz), coriander, corn (according to some, it is a new world food, and therefore not kitniyot), corn oil (according to some), corn syrup (according to some), cumin (according to some), dextrose, dill seeds, edamame, fennel, fenugreek (according to some), flax seeds (according to some), guar gum, hemp, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, HVP, kasha, kimmel, lecithin, lentils, licorice, lucerne, lupine, maltodextrins (chametz or kitniyot derived), millet, MSG (according to some), mustard, peas, polysorbates (may actually be chametz), popcorn (according to some, see corn), poppy seeds, rice, sesame seeds, snow peas, sodium citrate (may actually be chametz), sodium erythorbate (may actually be chametz), sorbitol (could be chametz if outside the U.S.), sorghum, soy oil (according to some), soy, string beans, sunflower seeds, tofu (from soy), vetch, vetching, wild rice, xanthan gum (may actually be chametz). Many Kitniyot products on the market are certified as Kosher for Passover, especially those from Israel, France and other European countries. Also, the Orthodox Union certifies a full line of products l’ochlei kitniyot (for those who eat Kitniyot). Please consult with your Rabbi regarding any questions you may have.

Not Kitniyot – Amaranth, dill leaves, fennel leaves, peanuts (though some have a custom to be stringent), corn (according to some, including Rabbi Dolinger), pumpkin seeds, quinoa (see below), saffron (though some have a custom not to eat saffron for other reasons), and teff. Some prohibit kitniyot derivatives, such as corn syrup (if one holds that corn is kitniyot in the first place), whereas other permit kitniyot derivatives (Rav Kook zt’’l, others), especially if they are a minority ingredient (Rema) and not recognizable.

Lactaid: See “milk”

Laundry Detergent: Does not require Pesach certification.

Matzot: Egg Matzot - Matzot made with fruit juice or eggs, which include “Kosher for Pesach” Egg Matzot, egg Matzah crackers, etc. may not be eaten on Pesach by healthy Ashkenazim. Even the sick and elderly cannot fulfill their obligation at the Seder with these matzot.

Streit’s Products - All Streit's products made in the United States and Canada are under Kof-K certification regardless of whether the Kof-K symbol appears on the package.

Grape Matzot - Sold by Manischewitz, have the same halachot as egg matzot. In addition, Manischewitz sells Passover Tam Tam crackers that are also made from egg dough and must be treated accordingly. Manischewitz also sells Tam Tam crackers made from flour and water that can be eaten by all. Matzah sticks (Kedem) and matzah crackers (Kedem and Manischewitz) are ordinary matzah products and can be eaten by all.

Spelt & Oat– Kosher for Passover hand and machine shemurah matzah are available at http://www.lakewoodmatzoh.com; they certify that certain varieties are gluten-free for those with gluten allergies. They can be purchased this year at many kosher supermarkets. Please note: Due to uncertainty in identifying grains in the Mishna, those who can should fulfill the mitzva with wheat matzo, not oat matzo. However, oat matzo is perfectly acceptable for those with gluten-free diets.

Margarine: Requires Pesach Certification.

Meat: Fresh - Does not require special Pesach Certification.

Frozen - Does not require special Pesach Certification.

Medicine: All – Medicine does not require Pesach certification, as it is not eaten in the normal way of benefitting, according to most authorities. This applies to pills that are swallowed, pills that are chewable, and liquid medicines. Even flavored medicines are dangerous if consumed in large quantities and eaten not for the flavor but for the medical value. This applies both to medicines and supplements, and whether one is very ill or only slightly ill.

Milk: Fresh - Does not require Pesach Certification. Unflavored milk in the United States may be purchased on or before Pesach without special certification. Flavored milks require Pesach Certification.

Lactaid - Can be purchased on or before Pesach for those with Lactose intolerance. Both chewable and non-chewable lactaid pills are acceptable.

Powdered- Powdered milk is acceptable.

Soy and Rice – Are kitniyot, and should be used only by Ashkenazim who are ill. However, some brands contain actual chametz. The following brands do not contain actual chametz: Vitasoy San Sui Original Natural, Soy Dream Original un-enriched. These products may be purchased before Pesach for those who need them.

Mouthwash: Does not require Pesach certification. It is not eaten for benefit, is dangerous if consumed in that way, and is used for health purposes.

Mushrooms: Raw – Do not require Pesach Certification

Canned – Require Pesach Certification.

Mustard: Actual mustard is not permitted for Ashkenazim on Pesach because its seed grows like kitniyot. Rokeach produces substitute mustard-like product that is certified for Pesach.

Nail Polish Remover: Does not require Pesach Certification.

Nutritional supplements: Many supplements contain kitniyot but may be consumed by those that need them. A few general guidelines: Unflavored products are preferable to flavored ones. The following products should not be used: Jevity 1.2 or 1.5 with oat fiber, Promote with Fiber, Benefiber, or Ensure Fiber with FOS.

Nuts: Must be free of added preservatives and other additives. Products coated or sprayed with BHT or BHA should not be used on Pesach. Raw whole, chopped or ground nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, etc.) without added preservatives or other additives such as BHT or BHA are approved for Passover. Note: Midget Pecans & Pecan Pieces require Pesach Certification, as they are soaked in Chametz during processing. Peanuts are not kitniyot (Rav Moshe Feinstein), but some have the custom to refrain from eating peanuts.

Oils: Cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil and safflower oil may be used for Passover. Canola oil is considered kitniyot by some and is subject to debate. My position (following Rav Kook zt’’l) is that all kitniyot oils are permissible on Passover. Any brand of 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil may be used without certification.

Oven Cleaner: Does not require Pesach Certification.

Paper Goods: Napkins: Do not require Pesach Certification.

Plastic - Does not require Pesach Certification.

Paper – Does not require Pesach Certification.

Parchment paper – Does not require Pesach Certification (corn liquor used commercially to feed the microbial source of the citric acid used in the silicone coating is not problematic as kitniyot are only prohibited when eaten)

Biodegradable Plates – Many have raised concerns, as they often use corn in the production of biodegradable and compostable plates; these concerns have no basis in Jewish law. Corn is, at worst, kitniyot, and therefore only possibly prohibited as a food, but not for other benefit. Moreover, there is no discernable flavor of corn that enters from the plate. When using disposable plates, it is absolutely preferable to use more environmentally sustainable options, in the spirit of learning to be free and responsible human beings.

Paper Towels: May have starch-based glue at beginning and end. (Some suggest not using the first three and last three sheets.) It is, however, totally acceptable to be lenient and use normally.

Pet Food: See section seven below.

Pumpkin: Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are not considered kitniyot. They may be used without special Pesach Certification if they are raw and without additives.

Quinoa: Quinoa is permissible on Pesach, and is not considered kitniyot. Some are stringent and check to make sure extraneous prohibited grain has not cross-contaminated. In that case, one layer of quinoa should be spread on a board or plate and checked for any foreign matter.

Pasta: Even pasta without chametz ingredients may be manufactured in the same machines as regular pasta and may not be used without Pesach Certification or without verifying that it was produced on segregated equipment.

Raisins: Do not require Pesach certification.

Rice: May only be eaten by those who eat kitniyot. Many Sepahrdic and Mizrachi Jews who eat rice check first for cross-contamination from other grains before using. (Interestingly, the Talmud records that rice-based dishes were actually present on the Seder plate as one of the cooked dishes!)

Rubber Gloves: Permissible for Passover.

Rubbing Alcohol: Any isopropyl or synthetic (acetyl-, lanolin-, benzyl- and methyl-) may be used.

Salads: Pre-Washed salads are kosher for Passover without special Pesach Certification. However, many contain kitniyot (such as peas), so one should check all of the salad ingredients carefully.

Salt: Non-iodized, without dextrose, iodine or polysorbates, does not require Pesach Certification. Iodized salt is often processed with corn derivatives; it is acceptable for Passover according to many authorities, though some are customarily stringent. Sea salt does not require Pesach Certification. No salt substitutes are available.

Seltzer: Flavored: Requires Pesach Certification if natural flavors or other vague terms are listed in the ingredient list. All flavors of Vintage Seltzer are acceptable.

Unflavored: Does not require Pesach certification.

Silver Polish: Does not require Pesach certification.

Soda: Coca-Cola: Special Pesach certification not required (corn syrup is merely a derivative of kitniyot according to those who hold that corn is kitniyot and is permissible when not the majority according to the Rema). However, special Pesach production is made with real sugar instead of corn syrup for those who are strict, and is noted by a yellow cap or the lid of the can. This includes Sprite, Diet Sprite and Seagram’s Ginger Ale.

Pepsi Cola: Same as Coca-Cola. Special Pesach production is also made with real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Spices: Does not require Pesach Certification per se. Many are acceptable without special Pesach certification (speak to Rabbi).

Sugar: White - All pure, granulated cane sugar without dextrose - does not require Pesach Certification.

Brown – Requires Pesach Certification. Domino’s Dark Brown Sugar, Light

Brown Sugar, and Golden Light Brown Sugar are acceptable without special certification.

Confectioner’s – Requires Pesach Certification. Domino’s Confectioner’s Sugar is acceptable without special certification.

Substitute – See Artificial Sweeteners.

Vanilla – Requires Pesach Certification

Tablecloths: Should be washed and laundered, and then may be used on Pesach (even if the stains do not come out). The same is true for aprons, bibs, potholders, etc.

Teas: Regular/Decaffeinated - Does not require Pesach Certification. (Some authorities are concerned that ethyl acetate is sometimes used for decaffeination. While Ethyl acetate is produced from reactions using Ethanol, which can, in theory, be produced from wheat, this is an extremely uncommon source of Ethanol production in the U.S.; moreover, the Ethyl Acetate remains only in infinitesimal quantities in the final product in any event. This is why some suggest caution with decaffeinated teas and coffees). Flavored – The following are acceptable: Wissotzky teas with OUP, Swee-Touch-Nee Herbal Caffeine-free Seren-I-Tea with OUP, Good Earth with OUP, G’Day Herbal Teas with Star-K, and Wissotzky with OUP. Many flavors of Celestial Seasonings teas are also acceptable (speak with Rabbi). Whole leaf teas made exclusively from Kosher for Passover ingredients are always acceptable.

Instant - Nestea regular and decaffeinated without sweetener may be used without special Pesach Certification. Any pure whole-leaf tea is Kosher for Passover.

Thickening Products: See “Nutritional supplements” above

Toiletries: Toiletries which are inedible and not put in the mouth do not need Passover Certification. This includes deodorants, perfumes, shampoos and most cosmetics (see “cosmetics”).

Toothpaste: Does not need Pesach certification.

Toothpicks: Any wood or plastic (unflavored and uncoated) may be used.

Vegetables: Frozen - Many are packaged with gluten. Also, the same equipment may be used during the year to make pasta products. Bodek (OUP), Garden Pure (OUP), Meitav (OUP), B-Tam Star KP are some acceptable brands specially certified for Pesach. Trader Joe’s brand of frozen vegetables are also acceptable, as are any others which are explicitly labeled gluten-free.

Canned – Does not require Pesach Certification. Ashkenazim should be careful to avoid kitniyot.

Fresh uncut: Does not need Pesach Certification, but should be rinsed before use

Fresh cut and packaged – See “salads”

Vegetable Wash: May contain kitniyot and requires Pesach Certification according to some. The Rabbi feels it is acceptable even for Ashkenazim.

Vinegar: Requires Pesach Certification. Many brands do not require special Pesach certification (speak with Rabbi).

Vitamins: See “medicines” (under “capsules”). They are permissible for Passover.

Water: Any fresh, bottled, spring or distilled water that is unflavored does not need Pesach Certification. Added fluoride or minerals do not present a problem.

Water Filters: Do not need special Passover Certification.

Wax: (including wax for braces) Does not require Pesach Certification

Wine: All Kosher wines are acceptable for Pesach. However, some may contain corn syrup (kitniyot), and many are strict. The most preferable Seder wines are red, not mevushal, and have no added water or sweeteners.

Yogurt: In addition to those with Kosher for Passover certification, many specific brands and flavors are acceptable (speak to Rabbi). Concerns about potential chametz sources of food for the bacterial cultures are not halachically relevant as such sources are no longer present in the final product, nifsal (invalidated) when they are inedible during certain stages of processing, and likely not based on chametz in the first instance.


Pet Food

One of the many challenges of Pesach is finding permitted pet food. There are two separate kashrut issues to be aware of: the first relates specifically to Pesach; the other relates to the rest of the year.

a) Due to the prohibition of deriving any pleasure or benefit from chametz, most authorities rules that we are not permitted to use or own pet food that is chametz gamur on Pesach. Rav Chaim Soloveitchik ztz’’l ruled that a chametz mixture that is not fit for human consumption may be owned and benefited from. Most pet foods contain mixtures of the five grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt). Almost all dry pet food list wheat or oats as their first ingredient. This is true for fish food and bird food as well. Some are lenient, following the position of Rav Chaim, if they are not fit for human consumption, while most are stringent and do not use this pet food. The Rabbi feels it is preferable to not use pet food containing chametz gamur, though Rav Chaim’s opinion can be relied on (and should at the very least be a source of non-critique of those who follow his ruling).

Benefit from "Kitniyot" (legumes) is permitted on Pesach even for Ashkenazim according to all opinions. Therefore, rice or other kitniyot do not pose a problem in pet foods.

b) The year-round problem concerns meat and milk. Commonly, dog and cat foods that contain meat (not chicken) and milk together are rendered forbidden to Jewish pet owners all year round.


Kashering for Pesach

Traditionally, Jews were encouraged to “kasher” all of their dishes for Passover. In fact, the laws of “kashering” in the legal codes are to be found among the laws of Passover for just this reason. The luxury of having multiple sets of pots and pans is of relatively recent origin and is not a necessary expense for the proper observance of Passover. Moreover, the use of environmentally problematic disposables should be discouraged, on Passover and at all other times; we ought have enough perspective to balance mere stringency in one area with a bona fide negative commandment, not to destroy the Earth (bal taschit). It would be a mistake of values and judgement to use only disposables out of a fear of not correctly using “koshering” techniques transmitted by the Rabbis. The laws were designed for regular practitioners and did not necessitate the invention of disposables. This year, when Erev Shabbat falls on Pesach and many are more strongly encouraging the use of disposable plates, the same principle holds true. Our ancestors made sure to eat the bread carefully, either cold on a regular plate, or outside, etc. Any area can simply be swept and checked after the Shabbat morning meal. As a general reminder, crumbs are not legally Chametz unless they are of significant volume (that of an olive).

The Oven: In a conventional oven, gas or electric, the oven should be clean before kashering can begin as it may not reach hot enough temperatures to burn baked-in substances thoroughly enough. Oven cleaner may be necessary to remove baked on grease. If a caustic type of oven cleaner (such as Easy-Off) was used to clean the oven and some stubborn spots remain, the spots may be disregarded. Once the oven and racks have been cleaned, they may be kashered by libbun kal. Turning the oven to the broil setting for forty (40) minutes satisfies the requirement of libbun kal. In a gas oven, the broil setting will allow the flame to burn continuously. In a conventional electric oven, the highest setting, broil or 550oF, renders the oven Kosher.

In a continuous cleaning oven, one should conduct a visual inspection to be sure the oven is clean. If it is clean, one may turn the oven to the broil setting for forty minutes in order to kasher it. If it is not clean, proceed as directed below. Since caustic or abrasive oven cleaners, e.g. Easy-Off, cannot be used without destroying the continuous clean properties of the oven, a non-abrasive, non-caustic, cleaner must be used to clean the oven in the unlikely event it is necessary. Grease spots will usually disappear if the top layer of grease is cleaned with Fantastic (or similar products) and a nylon brush. Then the oven should be turned on to 450oF for an hour so that the continuous clean mechanism can work. If the spots don't disappear, the oven should be left on for another hour to allow the continuous clean mechanism to deep clean. If the spots do not disappear, the spots may be disregarded. In all of the above cases the oven should then be kashered by turning the oven to the broil setting for forty minutes.

In a self-cleaning oven, the self-cleaning cycle will clean and kasher the oven simultaneously. This is also true for convection ovens with a self-cleaning feature or hot enough temperature. The oven need not be cleaned well before the process begins because everything inside of the oven is reduced to ash.

The Cooktop: Any visible food should be removed. Some turn on the burners on both gas and electric ranges for a period of ten (10) minutes; in my opinion and according to my teachers, this is not required as one does not cook food directly on the burner/cooktop.

The rest of the stovetop area should cleaned and unused for 24 hours. Since the surface is not regularly used directly for cooking, no further kashering is required.

The Broiler: The broiler pan and grill cannot be kashered by just turning on the gas or electricity. Since food is cooked directly on the pan or grill, they must be heated to a glow in order to be used on Pesach. An alternate method is to replace the pan with a new pan and Kasher the empty broiler cavity by cleaning and setting it to broil for forty minutes. If one does not intend to use the broiler on Pesach, one may still use the oven, even without kashering the broiler, provided that the broiler has been cleaned. Similarly, other cooktop inserts such as a griddle or a barbecue broiler would require “libbun gamur”- heating the surface to a red glow before usage. If not, the insert should be cleaned, covered, and not used for Pesach

Glass: Since glass is not bolea (“does not absorb”) as a matter of fact, it can be used for Pesach as long as it is cleaned thoroughly with soap and water. The same is true for Pyrex, or similar materials that do not absorb. According to many authorities (Rabbi Yitzhak Abadi, Rabbi Nahum Rabinovich z’’l, etc.), glazed china falls into this category as well, as the glaze is similar to a layer of glass that prevents absorption entirely; I agree with these opinions, though most are stringent for Passover.

Microwave Ovens: Clean the microwave and do not use for twenty-four (24) hours. Then boil a cup of water on high for 10 minutes in the microwave. The glass plate should be cleaned with soap and water to make sure there is no Chametz.


Metal Utensils that have been used for cooking or serving Chametz may be kashered by cleaning them thoroughly, waiting twenty-four (24) hours, and then immersing them into a pot of water which has been heated and maintains a rolling boil. If tongs are used to grip the utensil, the utensil will have to be immersed a second time, with the tong in a different position so that the boiling water will touch the initially gripped area. The entire utensil does not have to be kashered at once; it may be done in parts. As a pro-tip, a strainer can be a very helpful tool to kasher efficiently by allowing for ease in the removal of cutlery once it is kashered.

If an item is too large to be immersed in a pot, it may be Kashered by pouring boiling water over it instead of immersion. If this is done, care should be taken to make sure that water is poured over the entire item by the end of the process. If there is a large pot you wish to Kasher, you may also do so by cleaning the pot, waiting twenty-four (24) hours, and filling the pot to the brim with water. Bring the water to a boil, and place an object in the pot so that the water will be caused to overflow to be sure that the whole pot was kashered.

There are two options when choosing a pot to Kasher vessels in. (1) A Pesach pot of any variety (meat or milk) that has not been used in twenty-four hours. (2) A non-Kosher-for-Pesach pot may also be used for the purpose of kashering, provided that it is thoroughly clean and has not been used for twenty-four (24) hours.

Sinks: According to many authorities, sinks do not require Kashering as they are not regularly used to cook foods. According to this opinion, the sink should be thoroughly cleaned before Pesach.

According to other authorities, kashering is recommended since hot food sometimes contacts the sink. Most sinks are made of metal, such as stainless steel, or granite. These sinks can be kashered by the following method. Clean the sink thoroughly. Hot foods should not be poured into the sink for twenty-four (24) hours. Then, kashering is accomplished by pouring boiling hot water from a clean pot or kettle over the sink.

If the sink is made of glazed earthenware (e.g. porcelain), the sink is not bolea, and therefore kashering is not required. However, the sink must be thoroughly cleaned to be sure that no edible food products remain.

Blech/Plata: A blech may be kashered by cleaning any food, placing it over the burners, and turning the burners on high for approximately thirty minutes. A plata/warming plate may be Kashered by cleaning it, plugging it in, and leaving it on for approximately thirty minutes.

Coffee Maker: A coffee maker likey does not need koshering. Still, many are stringent. It may be kashered by making sure it is clean and leaving it unused for twenty-four (24) hours.

Tea Kettle/Water Urn: A tea kettle or water urn that has only been used for water in the last year may be used for Passover so long as it is clean and does not have any food on the inside or outside.

Countertops: Countertops need not be Kashered for Pesach, but must simply be cleaned thoroughly. However, some are strict and kasher countertops as well. To Kasher, clean the countertop well, and pour boiling water over the surface of the countertop after waiting twenty-four (24) hours without use.

Some have the custom to cover any countertops which have not been kashered. This is not required but is certainly a valid custom.

Dishtowels/Aprons/Potholders: These items should be placed in the laundry, if possible, and cleaned. Once they come out, they are acceptable for Pesach use, even if all of the stains have not come out entirely.

Dishwashers: It is my opinion that dishwashers do not require kashering, as all of the hot food in the dishwasher in considered “pagum” (rancid) because of the soap generally involved. However, many Rabbis are of the opinion that dishwashers require kashering. This can be done by simply running the dishwasher on an empty cycle. This is valid for all dishwashers, including those with plastic racks (there is a debate as to whether plastic can be koshered; those who rule leniently are the clear winners of this argument on the merits, in my view).

Reminder: Cleaning is important, but there is no need to cause strife, fighting, mental illness, marital discord, or anything else of the sort. Pesach is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions

A Few Spiritual Tips

Spiritual Tip #1: According to the mystical tradition, eliminating chametz represents our introspective search to eliminate pride and arrogance (leavened product), and to return to our true selves in humility; this is a prerequisite for freedom. Puffing ourselves up is an easy defense mechanism, and is perhaps the main thing that prevents transcendent connection both to other people and to God. This year, pride and humility should have a different feel entirely and might provide a fruitful topic for seder discussion or introspection. Did you feel we were beyond the insecurities of the past (e.g. plague, war, and famine)? What have you learned that might change what freedom looks like on the other side?


Spiritual Tip #2: For the second year in a row, seders will likely be much smaller than usual for many people. Find ways to mix it up a bit! Give some thought not just to the menu but to how you’ll construct a meaningful seder given your particular circumstances this year. A little forethought and planning can go a long way. If you’re alone, perhaps it’s a great time to spend time with a favorite Haggadah commentary or supplement. That being said, hold the seder lightly enough to allow it to work its magic night of. For a ritual named for its order, it's often in the messiness and chaos that the most memorable or impactful teachings emerge.


Spiritual Tip #3: Look for fair trade chocolate and coffee for Passover. These products, in particular, are prone to actual slavery and highly abusive labor practices. Ignorance is not bliss if you’re captured as a slave. Fox’s Ubet has a fair trade certified line sold at Whole Foods. Equal Exchange has fair trade certified chocolate that is Kosher for Passover and available at many local supermarkets and on the internet. Consider it a fulfillment of the commandment not to return to Egypt.


Spiritual Tip #4: Don’t think about the pink elephant. We can’t and shouldn’t ignore the relationship between Jewish practice and the most significant global crisis in generations. Find ways to engage the issues of collective action, collective fault, responsibility, monotony, international conflict, spiritual suffering, isolation, etc. in the context of the seder. The motifs are right there in the text. Bring your experience to the table and the text to make them real.



Guests and Seder Size: Thankfully, restrictions this year are not as severe as last year at this same time. Vaccines will likely come to every home well before Elijah (may the righteous redeemer come speedily in our days). Please be mindful to follow appropriate guidelines from the CDC and RI Department of Health.

Have a Joyous & Sweet Passover!