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Kitniyot Follow-up

Thursday, 8 April 2010

As promised, a report on Pesach 5770: Kitniyot or Bust.

Buoyed by the support I received in response to my dilemma regarding kitniyot, I announced to PC that I had decided to open up our food choices to include the consumption of kitniyot. Unbeknownst to me, PC had read my post, with all of the comments, and sensed a conversation in his future.

“Isn’t this a decision you and PC ought to have made together?” one might understandably ask. Reasonable question. After over fourteen years of marriage, you can be certain that I knew PC’s thoughts on the subject.

So the question of the hour. Did it make life easier to eat rice, legumes, corn and its byproducts, etc during Pesach?


And no.

(I know…never a straight answer from this one.)

It certainly made for more plentiful menu options with the prohibited foods being limited to the five grains (wheat, oats, barely, spelt, and rye).

But it no longer felt like such a hardship. And while Passover is not intended to be an exercise in asceticim, there ought to be some sense of deprivation in order to have some understanding of our ancestors’ experience. Without the ban on kitniyot, it felt like a corn-filled free-for-all.

If corn is OK, what would be the reason for not eating corn tortillas? Regular chocolate? If rice is OK, are Rice Krispies forbidden? It felt as though Pesach was reduced to abstention from bread and pasta. Nothing more.

Pesach 5774. I am giving us until then to establish boundaries that are livable for the family and more comfortable for me. 5774. That is the first year Beernut will experience Pesach as a ritually-responsible adult. This gives us enough to time for trial-and-error as we find the right minhag for our entire family.

(And a special word of thanks to Edible Torah for writing about my internal struggle in the aptly titled post, Kid-niyot vs. Kitniyot.)

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Kipnes permalink
    Thursday, 8 April 2010 11:51 pm

    If I were to judge by the five fold increase in blog traffic when Pesach comes around – people reading my kitniyot post – I’d say that this is the issue that plagues most Jews at Pesach time. We went the eating kitniyot route a few years back and find that it opens us to deepen our celebration of the freedom, contemplation of the message and inculcation of the values of this festival.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:30 am

      I know many who have had the same sense with the introduction of kitniyot.

      I’m not there yet…

  2. Friday, 9 April 2010 9:31 am

    I think this is a good way to handle it – a slow process of decision-making. Give yourself a break – it’s okay to make changes and adaptations as your life changes!

    Truthfully, things change from year to year for us. I would say that a traditional Jew would find my way of keeping Passover rather schizophrenic. I eat corn syrup but would never eat a corn tortilla or chips. But, I’d let my kids eat popcorn at the baseball game. I wouldn’t have a box of cereal, even rice cereal, in the house, but we would eat soy hotdogs (we didn’t this year, though) and soy nut butter (as well as peanut butter). I would not serve rice and beans and every year we joke about going out for sushi during Pesach, but we don’t or we haven’t yet. For my family, the things that are “missing” – Goldfish crackers, pretzels, pancakes, waffles, Cheerios – far outnumber the things that we do get to eat and we’re very aware of them.

    I make it clear that there are differentiations between what we eat on Pesach and what we don’t eat and it seems to work for us!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:31 am

      I know that such distinctions might seem arbitrary to an onlooker. But I see how it might work for us. I’ll consider a similar approach next year.

  3. Friday, 9 April 2010 11:54 am

    thank you for the follow-up. i appreciate you expressing the turmoil within your decision-making. i also appreciate you modeling that religious choices are indeed, an evolving process. what did beernut think? feel? did he enjoy passover more? so many questions, right?! hey! it’s the way of our people! 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:34 am

      That’s why I’m here — to share my inner turmoil 🙂 I do believe that all of us evolve as people of faith. Much in the same way that we evolve in our intellect.

      Beernut still hated Pesach. But I think not as much… And because we changed our approach, it led to some good discussions about:

      1. minhag vs. Halakha
      2. compromises ADULTS make
      3. spiritual comfort

      And for me…it’s ALWAYS about the discussions.

  4. homeshuling permalink
    Saturday, 10 April 2010 6:45 pm

    My approach is sort of the opposite of Imas on the Bima’s. I will only eat and serve kitniyot that are raw and unprocessed at the time of purchase, that I then I cook myself, which to me assures that they were not cooked with real chametz or chametzdic equipment. So, we buy dry rice and beans, fresh corn and green beans, and frozen uncooked edamame, but not foods with corn syrup , for example (though honestly, we don’t buy that stuff *ever*.)

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:35 am

      Actually, I see you approach as similar. It’s the outcome that differs from the Ima’s.

      I applaud your ability to eat raw and unprocessed year-round. If I was starting my married life over, I think I would go that route…

  5. Saturday, 10 April 2010 11:14 pm

    Hummus. I miss hummus. . . !

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:36 am

      And we had hummus this year.

      What I missed was…bread.

      • Monday, 12 April 2010 10:21 am

        I NEVER miss bread. I actually have a great love of lechem oni, in the form of matzah shmurah.
        This was the first year that I actually loved the white Rhodes loafs that we made for the first Shabbat after Pesach (I usually bake whole-wheat challah).

      • Monday, 12 April 2010 10:21 am

        I meant “loaves.” Oy.

  6. Saturday, 10 April 2010 11:15 pm

    Hey, am I not a “Cool Jewess?!”

  7. Saturday, 10 April 2010 11:16 pm

    Oops, sorry–think I need new glasses…!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:36 am

      You’ve been there since the last time you asked 🙂

      • Monday, 12 April 2010 10:19 am

        Right. Hope senility is not setting in…so soon…

  8. Monday, 12 April 2010 2:06 am

    Passover an exercize in asceticism??? What happened to vesamachta bechagecha (be joyus in your holiday ) Was this meant to be tongue-in-cheek?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 12 April 2010 9:29 am

      No, no, no. Passover is NOT meant to be an exercise in asceticism. Of course we should rejoice in the festival.

      That being said, there is meaning to be found in the deprivation of leavened products. I found the meaning lessened by what felt to be a kitniyot free-for-all.


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