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Is it…or Isn’t it??

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The telephone rang.

I wanted to make some cookies for Passover and the recipe calls for rice cereal…Is that kosher for Passover?

This time of year, questions fall into one of two categories:

  • How many days is Passover?

  • and

  • Is such-and-such Kosher for Passover?

Nice Lady: I wanted to make some cookies for Passover and the recipe calls for rice cereal. You know…like Rice Krispies. Is that kosher for Passover?
FrumeSarah: Well, Rice Krispies aren’t KFP.
NL: Oh, so rice isn’t KFP.
FS: No, rice is not permitted if you are Ashkenazic. But that’s not the entire issue. I’d have to see the ingredients…
NL: (Interrupting) chocolate chips, dates, sugar, vanilla, and it’s the Rice Krispies that hold the cookies together. There’s no flour or baking powder or anything. They’re very good cookies.
FS: (Smiling) I’m sure they’re very good. And they’ll be very good in about two weeks. After Pesach is over.

I probably should have ascertained her observance level. After all, someone who keeps strictly KFP would know that Halakhic observance goes beyond flour and baking powder. It’s more. So much more.

When someone calls the rabbi (and now I am speaking strictly for my liberal community), my guess is that he or she already knows the answer. The question ought to be rephrased.

Rabbi, I have a recipe that isn’t Kosher for Pesach that I am planning to use. Can you please give me permission to do it even though I am pretty certain that it’s not OK?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, 24 March 2010 7:14 pm

    I’ll never forget the lengthy conversation that I had with a woman who was trying to convince ME (as though I cared) that the Dairy Queen ice cream cake was acceptable for her child’s birthday. She didn’t want to hear that she was wrong in any way.

    OY VEY.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 25 March 2010 11:43 am

      Exactly. She was seeking validation to allay her intuition that a DQ cake is most definitely NOT KFP.

  2. Sara permalink
    Thursday, 25 March 2010 6:10 am

    I love this post. Love it! Especially your rephrased question. 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 25 March 2010 11:45 am

      Thanks. Sometime you have to hear the question behind the question.

  3. Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:56 am

    Is it possible that Nice Lady just hasn’t had much of an education in the intricacies of kashrut? I’m sure she hung up with a better understanding.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 25 March 2010 11:47 am

      I’m not sure of that at all. In fact, as I was replacing the phone in its cradle, I had the sudden sense that she was going to call another rabbi, as soon as she hung up with me, in order to get the answer she wanted.

  4. Thursday, 25 March 2010 9:31 pm

    I’ll never forget how my parents’ friends tried to impress me with their “religiosity” by telling me a story of how they complained to a waiter in a restaurant that they must get served more quickly in order to finish eating before Yom Kippur. Of course it was a traif restaurant.

  5. Saturday, 27 March 2010 8:56 pm

    I like this post because it reflects my own faith (Christian/LDS) — in the questions we sometimes hear others ask our Bishop (church leader/pastor/rabbi), “Can I drink Pepsi? ” (It’s the Caffeine in it that leaves many Mormons in a quandry.)

    Sometimes, it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission…

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