[Avodah] Kitniyot

Ben Waxman ben1456 at zahav.net.il
Thu Mar 21 23:19:13 PDT 2013

A few years ago, when this subject was a bit more of a hot topic, one of 
community rabbis (YU trained, learned with the Rav for several years) 
gave a talk on kitniyot. His talk was based on a shiyur that the Rav 
gave. I can't do justice to it; maybe some of the YU folks here can 
flesh out what I say (or correct it). The talk was on Shabbat, so I am 
relying on memory.

The Rav's basic assumption is that such a huge split in practice 
(kitniyot) can't be something that popped up in the 10th century; rather 
it has to be rooted in a machloqet in the Gemara. In addition, add in 
the historical data point that the European community was descended from 
the Jewish community in Israel, while the Eidat Hamizrach descended from 
the Babylonian community.

The dispute about the nature of rice (is it chametz or not) isn't 
restricted to the question of matza. It comes up several times (six 
IIRC) in Shas. The Rav's conclusion was that the Bavli decided the 
issue, that rice is not chametz, where as the Yerushalmi didn't come to 
a clear decision. So when you have a bag of this stuff, about which you 
don't know if it can become chametz or not, you do the simple and 
correct thing - you put it away for the week.

The European community, descended from the Israeli community kept the 
tradition, Edut Hamizrach never had it.

Please note that this rabbi was not making any statement about what 
should be designated as kiniyot or if one can eat at the house of an 
ochlei kitniyot during Pesach or any of these side issues. He was simply 
saying (IMO) that the approach that kitniyot is simply a historical 
mistake is simply bad psak and bad Talmud Torah.


On 3/20/2013 10:42 PM, Lisa Liel wrote:
> In this video, Rabbi Bar Hayim discusses the sources related to the 
> minhag of not eating kitniyot on Pesach.  He demonstrates that the 
> custom, which originated in France,

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