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


Esser Agaroth said...

B"H Since was never a minhag hamqom here in Eretz Yisrael, it is of couse permissible for all Jews to eat qitniyoth:
Summary of Rabbinic ruling

Even Ashkinazy poseqim such as the Hacham Tzvi and his son the Ya'abetz said it was a "minhag shtut."

Anonymous said...

No serious halachic authority has ever suggested that kitniyot makes pots "treif". Kitniyot are batel berov!

Leora said...

We live in a community where some eat kitniyot, some don't. It's not a big deal that for one week my kids' friends can come to our house, but my kids don't eat at theirs.

There's a lot bigger divisions to pick on in Am Yisrael.

Avi said...

My sabba, z"l, was Sephardic, intermarried an Ashkenazia, but my mom always ate rice. I eat rice too.

Chag kasher v'sameach.

Batya said...

b-y, Personally, I won't get that far yet. There are too many variations of kitniyot according to the Sfardim. And my rabbbi hasn't poskened like that.

a, considering that "chametz" is "worse than traif," some people act like kitniyot is chametz, so...

leora, it's stressful for some. Next year while you end with 8th day Shabbat, it won't be Pesach on that Shabbat, and we'll be able to eat kitniyot, no problem.

bk, great

Leora said...

I must have read this post right before I went to bed last night, because I had a dream that the Ashkenazim in our neighborhood had started buying rice for Pesach (I do love rice, but only in my dreams would it be in my house on Pesach).

Sometimes vegetarians vs. lactose-intolerants is a divider: we have friends that are ovo-lacto, no fish, and I and other families have a hard time eating dairy products. So we have a hard time sharing meals all year round.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly not the issue diving the nation. Pesach is only one week all year while on the other hand, whether the hazan says 'keter' during kedusha is something some have to deal with on a weekly basis.

Batya said...

leora, josh,
Some of leora's comment explains what josh doesn't get.

I think we've all heard about the discrimination against aidot mizrach (north african sfardi Jews) by Chareidi Ashkenazim. It's easier to inforce by treating their different minhag, eating kitniyot, as if it makes the dishes traif.

Decades ago, I, who was not raised religious/kosher, couldn't relate to a friend's statement that she could never marry a sfardi, because the idea of eating kitniyot on Pesach was so repugnant.

It's not an issue of "only one week all year."