[Avodah] Kitniyot

Lisa Liel lisa at starways.net
Fri Mar 22 12:33:38 PDT 2013

On 3/22/2013 7:50 AM, Kenneth Miller wrote:
> R"n 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,
>> was an error, brings numerous Rishonim who say that it was
>> an error (and in one cases called it a minhag shtut), and
>> cogently that the custom is harmful and should be
>> abandoned.
> I did not watch the video, but for the sake of argument, I will concede that his sources are many and that his logic is sound.
> But even so, he is in the minority, isn't he? Are there ANY major nosei keilim or acharonim or poskim who advocate the wholesale abandonment of this minhag, for Ashkenazim?

Certainly.  But if he brings sources and they don't, it doesn't matter.  
A daat yachid with sources backing him is preferable to a rov that 
simply dismisses the issue.

> Honestly, I really don't understand the vehemence that I have recently seen against this minhag, which Ashkenazim have been following for hundreds of years. Granted that the poskim often question what is included in this minhag, but doesn't everyone agree that Ashkenazim DO avoid kitniyos?

There are two issues.  One is that the minhag was likely a mistake in 
the first place.  It may even have been an inadvertant mimicry of a 
Karaite minhag (you really should watch the video).  The other issue is 
that hechshering authorities are forbidding more and more foods in the 
name of kitniyot all the time.  Corn (maize -- what we call corn in 
America) was clearly *not* included in this prohibition for centuries, 
because it wasn't even known for centuries.  Same with peanuts, which 
RMF clearly paskened are *not* kitniyot.  Not to mention the issue of 
kitniyot oil, which was something that got tacked on to the basic 
prohibition of kitniyot.  Not to mention the fact that baalei teshuva, 
not having a family minhag of kitniyot avoidance, should certainly not 
be bound by it.

> Have I missed something? Is there a Mishneh Brurah or an Aruch Hashulchan somewhere which says that there are some places -- which otherwise follow the Rama! -- where rice and beans are eaten, and that this practice is okay?

The question is whether the custom was ever anything but a mistake.  
Contrary to what I've seen cited here in the name of the Rav, there is 
nothing in the Gemara that even hints at such a thing as forbidding 
kitniyot.  On the contrary, there are descriptions in the Gemara of 
rabbis eating rice at the seder, and not a voice is raised questioning 
this practice.  What RBW said was this:

"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."

WADR, I can't accept that reasoning.  It absolutely *can* be something 
that popped up in the 10th century, and according to all the evidence we 
have, that's exactly what did happen.  The reasoning attributed to the 
Rav reminds me of the joke that asks how we know that Yaakov Avinu wore 
a black hat, and answers that it says "vayetze Yaakov", and surely he 
wouldn't have gone out without a black hat.


More information about the Avodah mailing list