Pesach Tales

ParsleymatzaEggs boy at sea
Pesach Trips:

Food and Pesach:

  • Jack brought up Eggs and Pesach. I feel the poor, maligned egg got bad press in the late twentieth century and really is healthier than one might think. Evil foods, in my opinion, are trans fats like margarine and most vegetable oils (especially heated oils, as in french fries), except for first cold-pressed olive oil and coconut oil. Refined sugar ain’t so hot, either, but try eliminating that one! It’s everywhere. I would prefer that I am totally wrong about this, and the healthiest thing you can eat is a chocolate chip cookie made with Crisco and refined sugar, with vanillin (which is supposedly a carcinogen, as opposed to real vanilla). So when the chocolate chip cookie cure is published, I will blog about it (though not before Monday morning, when Pesach is over everywhere).
  • Kitniyot or Qitniyot: These are foods such as beans, peas and rice that Ashkenazi Jews do not eat on Passover, because in the middle ages the beans sometimes had grains mixed in. Can we get rid of Kitniyot? Is it a major problem in the Jewish community? See The Great Walls of Pesach, which first alerted me to the fact that this may be more than interesting varieties in custom, and then On Qitniyot and Perversion.

    I spoke with one of my relatives by marriage about Kitniyot. She grew up eating Kitniyot, then stopped eating Kitniyot when she got married. She can no longer eat at her parents’ home on Pesach, because her husband does not want to have the Kitniyot around. But she also did not enjoy eating at her in-laws, because there are way, way too many people for her at his parents’ Seder (he is one of eleven children). It sounded like she REALLY disliked going to her in-laws for Seder, but she doesn’t mind at all not eating Kitniyot. So some of the issue is really about family dynamics; does a person accept what one’s family does? Does the family insist that they are RIGHT? Or can people be flexible and make compromises so they can be together over the holiday?

    It reminds me a bit of the BT (Ba’al Tshva, or a person who became religiously observant when not brought up observant) issue and Pesach. Some people really like to be with their family on Pesach, but their family may not keep as strictly kosher as they do. Sometimes some discussion can make for possibilities that were not otherwise possible.

    I cannot really see a global halachic solution. If rabbis in Israel agree to get rid of Kitniyot, will rabbis in Far Rockaway agree as well? (for example, as that is where we usually go for Pesach).

Brachot and Healthy Choices: One of my nieces says she has Ha-Motzi-phobia (ha-motzi is the blessing over bread or matza, and it requires a long after meals blessing at the end). She doesn’t want to bench (say the long blessing at the end of a meal), so she will choose cake, which she knows isn’t as healthy as say, matza brei (matza with egg; kind of like French Toast for Pesach). Is there anyone else on the planet who is bothered by the fact that people look for mezonos food (like after kiddush and before the main meal on Shabbat) and end up eating more cake?

Young Love: My nephew walked 8 miles on Yom Tov (the holiday over last weekend, when we observant Jews couldn’t drive) to see his beloved fiancée.

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12 thoughts on “Pesach Tales

  • I’m with you on the kiddush thing. It’s especially noticeable at hotels, when several of the Shabbat “meals” are just cake (in addition to three huge regular meals).

    I have ashkenazi friends who married Moroccan Israelis. Neither of them is particularly observant but they both refuse to eat kitniyot at their in-laws’ house. It’s a way of refusing to be dominated by their husbands’ families.

  • Thanks, Rav Jack.

    M in I,
    It’s a way of refusing to be dominated by their husbands’ families.
    Yes, family dynamics does seem to be an undercurrent in the kitniyot situation. In some families, it doesn’t seem as big of a deal (the Ashkenazi newcomer either accepts the kitniyot or the family does away with them without too much friction).

  • Is there anyone else on the planet who is bothered by the fact that people look for mezonos food (like after kiddush and before the main meal on Shabbat) and end up eating more cake?

    The authors of several BT books I’ve read say it is forbidden to avoid bread if your only reason is to avoid having to say birkat hamazon afterwards. However, my research seems to show this is more eitza than psak (advice rather than definitive law).

    OTOH, Yeshiva World seems to say there are those who hold you don’t have to say birkat hamazon at a stand up kiddush. That doesn’t help y’all at Etz Ahaim though, but cake is rarely served there.

    Incidentally, the OU doesn’t believe metzonot rolls exist. Notice who wrote the article, btw.

  • When I am in a hurry (well, in fact to be honest most week days) I say the shorter version of the BirkatHamazon. It can be found in quite a number of Orthodox siddurim so I assume it is halachic.

  • it is forbidden to avoid bread if your only reason is to avoid having to say birkat hamazon afterwards
    This may work when teaching a BT, who is often eager to take on halachot, but consider a parent talking to a child. From a child’s point of view, she/he may hear it as just one more “do this don’t do that.” I might be able to re-word this to say to my own children, but I don’t feel comfortable telling other people’s children to say the longer brachot and eat the healthier food.

    at Etz Ahaim though, but cake is rarely served there
    We do have the requisite Entenmann’s cakes at kiddush, but there is always chickpeas, olives, corn chips and crackers. Sometimes peanuts or pistachios. So one can make choices.

    Good to hear from you, Larry! And you, too, Ilana-Davita. Chag Sameach, everyone.

  • consider a parent talking to a child.
    Of course chinuch with a child below bar/bat mitzvah (or even above) gives plenty of allowances. Anyway, as I said the reality appears to be that the advice is not to miss the mitzvah, rather than one actually committing an aveirah by being lazy.

    I’ve never seen Enteman’s at Etz Ahaim, but obviously you go there much more often than I do. For some odd reason, many of the times I go there Lily has done the cooking. :>)

    Shabbat Shalom

  • “If rabbis in Israel agree to get rid of Kitniyot, will rabbis in Far Rockaway agree as well?”

    it will never happen in israel, so don’t wait for it to come to FR

    regarding the mezonot business, i was taught that there is no mezonot leniency if you are kove’a se’udah.

  • Lion of Zion wrote: it will never happen in israel, so don’t wait for it to come to FR

    Leora replies: I’m kind of relieved. There’s only so much change I can deal with in life! I’m going on a kitniyot and veggies diet for the next few months (or maybe the next few days) to counter act all the animal products (eggs, meat, chicken, cheese, butter) and potatoes that I ate over Pesach.

  • Regarding mezonot, I think we got a little off track from my original point, which was that nowadays mezonot food tends to be the least healthy food (cookies, cakes, crackers made with trans fats), so it’s too bad there are times like directly after kiddush when these foods are emphasized because one needs to eat a mezonot food after kiddush (unless you are drinking wine, grape juice or making hamotzi, all of which are preferable healthy choices).

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