Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Great Walls Of Pesach
I consider Kitniyot to be one of the causes the Kera b'Am, Split/Division in the Jewish People. Among Torah-observant Jews, I don't think there is a subject that divides us more extremely than the humble grain of rice or pea. Could there be the hidden message in Hans Christian Anderson's famous story?
Jews of Spain and North Africa are permitted to eat kitniyot on Passover, though some communities only eat fresh green kitniyot. Today in Israel, it's easy to buy rice and beans with the strictest of Kosher for Passover rabbinic supervision. The Jews who eat those foods aren't sinning. It's not chametz.
Our People are so terribly divided. Too many people use Pesach to separate themselves from others. In some communities, even those who follow the exact same customs, won't eat it in each other's homes. It's as if they're accusing their friends of improper observance of Torah Laws. I don't see anything admirable in that. It encourages competition, trying to show that one is "stricter" or "better" than others, instead of using this HolyDay to encourage unity and respect for others.
Back to Kitniyot
The aim of this post is not to preach the cancellation of the different minhagim, customs, like the Ashkenaz custom of forbidding kitniyot. I just want us to be able to be able to find ways to act as one People. In communities, like Shiloh, there is a lot of "intermarriage" between different Jewish ethnic groups. Many families, like ours, have grandchildren who are being raised according to totally different customs. There's rice on our Passover table, when the Tunisian branch of the family is over. I don't eat it, but it doesn't traif up (make unkosher) my dishes, nor make them chametz.
Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, things have changed for us.
I pray that the walls between Jews will crumble like freshly baked matzah.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher V'Sameach
Have a Peaceful Shabbat and a Kosher and Happy Passover