Volume 6 Number 77

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cottonseed Oil and Edible(?) Chametz
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Fast of the First-Born (2)
         [Henry Abramson, Robert A. Book]
         [Eli Turkel]
Source for Gavriel Newman
         [Yael Penkower]
Tenth Plague
         ["Barry (B.L.) Friedman"]


From: Jeffrey Woolf <JRWOOLF@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 07:38:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Cottonseed Oil and Edible(?) Chametz

Concrning Cottonseed Oil: The abbreviation which was noted is to the
work Miqra'ei Qodesh, which is a collection of decisions and essays by
the late Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank.

On Combats: When I first saw this humra to sell Roach Motels I thought
it was a joke. Though the food might be originally edible, by virtue of
being exposed to roaches it becomes nim'as, (disgusting) and hence does
not fall underr the Pesach ownership requirementsa. When I discused this
humra with a staff member of the OU, all I got was a belly laugh in
response. In brief, it's getting to the theatre of the absurd time.

                               Jeffrey Woolf
                               Yale University


From: Henry Abramson <abramson@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 12:43:36 -0500
Subject: Fast of the First-Born

Lon Eisenberg points out that fasting is prohibited in Nisan -- therefore
the siyum is _mandatory_ (?!?) to avoid the fast?  What is the point of
the fast at all, if we are not by this excellent observation allowed to
observe it at all?  Or perhaps, as when a fast day falls on Shabat, we
should push it off until after Nisan?

Henry Abramson            <abramson@...>
University of Toronto

From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 17:08:56 -0500
Subject: Fast of the First-Born

Henry Abramson <abramson@...> writes:
> Andy Cohen recently raised some interesting problems regarding teaching
> children about the striking of the first-born, and this made me wonder about
> something else that always bothered me -- why it is that the minhag is
> to circumvent the fast of the first-born by attending a seudat mitzvah
> (meal with "mitzvah content," e.g. completion of a tractate, circumcsion,
> etc.).
> but it seems to me an exceptionally meaningful fast, that even
> at the moment of our geulah (redemption) we are conscious of the loss of
> Egyptian families.  Why do we seek to avoid it?  Are there kehillot where
> this is not the case, or do only yehidim (unique individuals) fast?

I am a first-born, and I always observe this fast.  I am one of the
few people I know (my father is another) who do this.  Not only is
this an especially meaningful fast, but in general the idea of using a
loophole to get out of a fast bothers me.  There is something that
really rubs me the wrong way about the line of reasoning that says,
"We have to fast, but if we decide to have a little party in the
morning and eat instead, then we don't have to fast."  Either it is a
fast day, or it isn't.  And if it is a fast day, then those of us who
are obligated should fast.  Period.

Furthermore, I have found that for me personally, the fast has an
extrememly uplifting side effect.  The fast is not broken until the
seder, and the first thing one eats at the seder is the matza from the
brocha "Al Achilat Matza."  One's understanding of the significance
and meaning of the commandment to eat matza is greatly enhanced if one
has been fasting all day.

[Actually, you should have had some of the Karpas - vegetable that you
dip in charoses (Rambam) or salt water (probably the rest of the world)
- earlier in the Seder. Mod]

Whether I am a "unique individual" is sort of an open question.  :-)

--Robert Book


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 12:46:11 +0200
Subject: Kitniyot

      With regard to the questions about kitniyot on Pesach there are
several review articles. Two are

Kitniyot in Halachic Literature, Past and Present by Rabbai Cohen
The Journal of Halacha in contemporary Society, vol 6, 65-78, 1983.

Kiniyot be-pesach (Hebrew) by Rabbi Pris in Tehumim Vol. 13, 163-180, 1993.

My personal opinion is that the second is more thorough but the first is
more fair. The second article basically finds that kitniyot are (almost)
never a problem and IMHO he picks his sources too carefully.

I will give a brief summary of these articles, but strongly suugest
reading the originals.

   Kitniyot are first mentioned (with regard to being prohibited on
Pesach) by the Semak (sefer Mitzvot Katan) about 700 years ago. In fact
the Talmud tells stories about rabbis that ate rice on Pesach (Pesahim
114b). However, from the Semak we see that it was an old custom in his
day but he brings other Tosaphists who insisted on eating kitniyot on
Pesach. In the end the custom was accepted by all ashkenazi Jews and is
codified in the Shulhan Arukh by the Ramah. Sefardi Jews never accepted
this custom. Reasons for the custom are that these products are used to
make flour, or that chametz is usually mixed with them.

1. what are kitniyot? The semak refers to rice, lentils and beans.
   today corn,peas,humous, are generally included as well as mustard.
   In the past there were question about potatoes and coffee but today
   most places do not include them in kitniyot.
   what about new products that semak didn't know about? 3 examples:
   a: soya beans: These are regular beans but didnt exist in europe at that
      time. R. Pris says that it is not included because it didnt exist
      earlier and even early achronim dont discuss it. To the best of my
      knowledge no major kashrus organization uses it for ashkenazim.
   b: peanuts: These are from the legume family but are physically different
      from beans and isnt used for flour. R. feinstein allows it if one
      doesnt have a custom not to eat it. In Bnei Brak R. landau uses it
      but not other badatzim.
   c: Cottenseed oil: Is not eatable without modern day procedures.
      R. Feinstein again allows it as well as many other rabbis and is
      widely used in the US. In Israel R. Eliashiv and R. Weisz said that
      it is kitniyot based on laws of Kilyaim and nothing else matters.
      Hence no badatzim use cottenseed oil (rumor that Belz was pressured
      to stop using it). Neted Neeman had an article a few years ago
      stating that under all circumstances there is absolutely no heter to
      use cottenseed oil.

2. Mixtures: Ramah seems to indicate that unlike chametz if kitniyot falls
   in a pot that it does not prohibit the entire pot. It is clear clear from
   the Ramah what percentages are needed for the mixture to be prohibited.
   R. Pris assumes that if the majority is not kitniyot that the mixture can
   be eaten. Furthermore, companies can mix them until a majority is not
   kitniyot since sefardim can eat them. He therefore concludes that all
   candies and crackers are permitted since less than half is kitniyot.
   Again all majot kashrut organizations in America do not accept this

3. Derivatives: e.g. oils, syrups. Chaye Adam prohibits
   based on Terumat hadeshen. R. Yitzchak Elchanan and R. Kook allowed
   oils especially if no water is mixed in the making and it is done before
   Pesach. Again American kashrut organizations do not use corn syrup in
   any Pesach product. However, R. feinstein does seem to indicate that
   Cottenseed oil and peanut oil are okay since it has two reasons for
   heter being both a derivative and are of dubious deriviation of being
   kitniyoy. R. Pris also allows soya oil for that reason. In fact he
   recommends soya oil as being the cheapest and the Torah is concerned
   about the money of Jews. 

4. Fresh kitniyot: R. Pris says that in essence they present no problem
   as saliva in the mouth can not ferment. For those who worry he suggests
   putting the kitniyot in boiling hot water (halita). IMHO this is not
   done by most Ashenazic communities.

5. old and sick people and babies: Are allowed to eat kitniyot if needed 
   but they should use separate dishes. If the dishes got mixed up they 
   are all kosher.

6. Erev Pesach - there seem to be different customs whether one can eat
   kitniyot the day of Pesach until that nightfall (i.e. this year all
   day monday until candle lighting). The eda haredit in their booklet
   are very stringent against eating kitniyot erev pesach.
   One can keep kitniyot in the house over Pesach and did not sell them.

7. Sefardim: Most sefardic communities did not accept the custom of
   not eating kitniyot although many do not eat rice. The details change
   between different sefardic communities. Everyone agrees that sefardim
   should not eat kitniyot unless it has a hechsher for Pesach since
   chametz is frequently mixed with these products, these applies both to
   canned beans etc., candies and oils.  

Chag kasher vesameach



From: <yapenkower@...> (Yael Penkower)
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 12:18:15 -0500
Subject: Source for Gavriel Newman

The one place I found, which has at the same section the "seven sons" 
and "Chelek la'Olam Haba", is in Otzar Ha-Midrashim (Eisenstein)
Page 450 D"H (Dibur Ha-Matchil = First word of the peregraph) (17) 


From: "Barry (B.L.) Friedman" <friedman@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1993 08:54:38 -0500 
Subject: Tenth Plague 

In the answers given to Andy Cohen (mj 72) no one seems to have 
mentioned that the premise of this question (i.e. the killing of
children) is largely incorrect.  As I understand this plague, it 
has nothing at all to do with 'children' specifically but instead
refers to the first born *of all ages*.

This plague can be seen as a kind of retribution for the Egyptian's
killing of the hebrew male children and caused the people to 
demand that the jews be immediately let go.  Paro, who was a first
born, was spared and thus had to witness and take responsibility
for his duplicity. 

We can't teach our children unless we first take time to learn.

Barry Friedman                          


End of Volume 6 Issue 77