Monday, March 26, 2007

Quit-niyot? Barukh Hamaqom!

‘Arutz Sheva‘ has an article about how the rabbis of Machon Shilo, an organization dedicated to creating and re-creating a unified Israel-centered Halakha, declared that qitniyot are no longer forbidden on Passover for those [mostly Ashkenazic] communities which have considered them so for the past thousand years or so.

Now, I don't really care much about qitniyot. Like the Rav Without A Cause, I don't feel oppressed by my lack of rice on Pesahh. The ever-expanding list of qitniyot, on the other hand, is a bit annoying. Take quinoa (which I made for this past Shabbos), for instance. Luckily, my family has a tradition to not refrain from qitniyot-based oil...

ANYWAY, what I'm really interested in in this article isn't the issue of qitniyot, but this quote:
Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem’s Old City, also said that it is forbidden for Ashkenazi Jews to eat Kitniyot. He took issue with the assertion that the minhag hamakom (local custom) in Israel is to eat Kitniyot. “The Land of Israel belongs to all of the Jewish people and not just Sepharadi Jews,” he said. “There are many customs and there is no minhag hamakom that prevails in Israel.”
If that's the case, why do people go around saying that it's prohibited to put on tefillin on Hhol Hamo‘eid in Israel? Why do the Israeli siddurim claim that one may not use special blessing-ending formulas such as ‘oseh hashalom on ‘Aseret Yemey Teshuva, or she’otekha levadekha beyir’a na‘avod before Birkat Kohanim?

This is an issue that bothered me greatly during my years in yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and which still bother me. As R' Nebenzahl said — Israel belongs to ALL of the Jewish people. Especially when it comes to ancient minhagim of the ‘Eidot Hatzafon, which originally came from the customs of the Talmudic centers in The Land — how dare anyone say that we can't bring them back Home?!


Anonymous Emily Litella said...

In my crowd, a meal without rice just is not a meal.

Good thing that chili peppers cannot possibly qualify as kitniyos.

It would be a hardship beyond endurance to have to leave the chilipots of Egypt....

Oop. Never mind.

3/26/2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Upon further thought, I realized that if the stringency is to avoid those foods which resemble bread, lest an error be made or another person be induced to err, then rice is definitely on the no-can-do list. By reason of the wonderful rice-flour pancakes used to enfold foods in some cultures, and the fermented rice-batter muffins eaten in other cultures.

It is not that rice is chometzdik, but, despite what the Rambam says, the stringency is to stay away from anything which may be mistaken for chometz or lead others to stray into chometzish territory.

That still leaves chili peppers off the hook, though.

3/26/2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

Quinoa is kitniyot now???

And I agree with your post.

3/26/2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger Natan said...

It is not that rice is chometzdik, but, despite what the Rambam says, the stringency is to stay away from anything which may be mistaken for chometz or lead others to stray into chometzish territory.

Then the Pesach Rolls should be assured too.

3/26/2007 10:41 PM  
Blogger elf's DH said...

Then the Pesach Rolls should be assured too.

Nobody in their right minds would mistake those for real bread! :-)

3/27/2007 1:23 PM  
Blogger rabbi without a cause said...

Peasch rolls won't be assur because we don't add to decrees. This is also why I side with Rav Moshe's camp on quinoa, etc - these are not in the decree.

But Steg, on your general point about Israel - Shmuel Poppenheim wrote a great series of articles called Toldot haShechitah haAtzma'it biYreushalayim in a Hebrew journal called Kashrut, in 5760. It's about the evolution of minhag for Shechitah in Yerushalayim 100 years ago, and it's on exactly this issue of local minhag vs. immigrant minhag, and how it evolved in practice in that case. Email me if you'd like me to mail it to you.

Oh, and it _must_ be kitniyos, if primarily Ashkenazim have to observe the gezeirah...

3/27/2007 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to R. Nebenzahl.

There are people who put on tefillin on chol hamoed in EY, though it may be only betzinaa now. But that could change.

3/28/2007 2:29 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

‘Eidot Hatzafon, which originally came from the customs of the Talmudic centers in The Land

Yes, and apart from that, claiming EY is a Sefardic country doesn't even do justice to the term Sefardic anway.

But not eating kitniyes is a later custom, not an old EY one taken to Italy or Germany.

3/28/2007 4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super-Sol-Deal put the quinoa with the chametz. Mega put it with the kitniot. The container even said that it was kitniot. Very aggravating (and ignored) by this vegetarian. Quinoa is a staple in my [Pesach and year-round] household, thankyouverymuch.
--sarah b

4/05/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...


There are actually two or three tefillin-minyanim on Hhol Hamo`ed in Jerusalem alone. I davvened at the tefillin-minyan of the Erlauer Rov.

4/09/2007 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who wear (or would wear) tefillin on ChM in Israel are an insignificant and scattered minority. Those whose custom is not to eat kitniyot form a large identifiable community, perhaps the majority. Hence the distinction.

4/16/2007 7:12 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Latest Anonymous:

I'm not sure what you mean... are you saying it's okay to delegitimize an "insignificant and scattered minority" by telling them that their ancestral tradition is forbidden, but not okay to give a "large identifiable community" an option to 'opt out' of their tradition voluntarily?

4/16/2007 7:24 AM  

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