[Avodah] Kitniyos

Rabbi Meir G. Rabi meirabi at gmail.com
Sun May 12 16:40:23 PDT 2024

It seems that the Kitniyos ban may have been misinterpreted. The ban may
well only apply to cooked and baked Kitniyot but not to raw,fresh Kitniyot
such as sweet peas, sugar snaps etc.and peanuts and peanut butter.

It is vital to recognise that the Kitniyos ban was initiated when
home-baking Matza [486:3] throughout Pesach was the universal practice.
This was not the overbaked, hard, cracker type that we are familiar with
but soft and chewy laffa type Matza. [456:3 457:2; it has tragically
emerged that today very many do not even believe that Matza can be Kosher
if it is soft and chewy. Perhaps the very fact that soft Matza is
essentially indistinguishable from the Chamets version is uncomfortable and
has supported the acceptance and dominance of hard cracker type Matza]

In those days everyone was familiar with the severity of Chamets and and
respected the need to complete the Matza manufacturing within ‘18 minutes’.
It would be unthinkable to have even the slightest concern that even the
most unlettered segment of the population would go anywhere near violating
this prohibition.
It seems strange then to suggest a credible risk existed that these same
people who were so exemplary and careful in baking their daily Matza,
ensuring that it not be Chamets, would somehow confuse Kitniyot with wheat
and barley, inadvertently producing Chamets.
This appears to be the problem the Poskim are grappling with when
explaining the foundation of the decree. [something that the Rama did not
bother with; and which leads to an interesting aside: how often do the
Poskim trouble themselves to explain the background for any of the Rama's

A careful reading of their writings [meaning by approaching them without
the preconceived notion that Kitniyos are banned in any shape or form]
indicates that the concern was prompted due to cooking Kitniyos [and some
add baking] but not to consuming raw fresh Kitniyot such as sweet peas,
sugar snaps etc.

And even regarding cooking, the MBerrurah finds it necessary to explain
that WHOLE GRAINS are not part of the actual ban but are included as Lo
Pelug [end of 6] – in order to retain consistency.
In what way are cooked whole grains not the primary focus of the actual ban?


Meir G. Rabi

0423 207 837
+61 423 207 837
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