Haredim Find More Food To Forbid?

Rabbi Gil Student notes that Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, a haredi gadol (and, I must add, a nice man who has stayed out of most of the recent spate of bans) has banned Quinoa and Amaranth for Passover because he considers these non-grains non-legumes to be kitniyot. Of course, this is absolutely not true scientifically.

A brief history lesson. Why was corn banned? After all, it is not kitniyot.

Corn was banned because the word for “staple grain” in many European languages is “korn.” Indeed, the corn we eat is really maize. It was called “korn” and later “corn” by Europeans because it was the staple food of Native Americans. Because maize had the same name, “korn,” as “staple grain”, it was banned.

A story is told about Rav Moshe Feinstein. A man came to him with a strong case to ban rhubarb on Passover. Rav Moshe heard the man out and then replied, “Wasn’t corn enough for you?”

Rabbi Belsky seems to hold that Quinoa and Amaranth – commonly but mistakenly called “grains” – should be banned for the same reason corn was banned. Even though Quinoa and Amaranth are not the “staple grains” of modern America, apparently Rabbi Belsky believes people will mistakenly come to eat wheat berries and the like on Passover if the eating of Quinoa and Amaranth becomes widespread.

Rabbi Student also notes that Rabbi Hershal Schachter permits Quinoa and Amaranth. So do the CRC and the Star-K. So those of you who want or need to eat Quinoa and Amaranth have what to rely on. But if you do, you need to check each grain to makes sure no wheat or other true grain has become mixed in.



Filed under Haredim, History, Science

11 responses to “Haredim Find More Food To Forbid?

  1. rebeljew

    I had also heard that corn starch was used for corn bread, and that this resembled grain flour, so it was banned. I heard it so long ago that I do not remember the source. Though potatoes would seem to have the same problem.

  2. Steven

    What is going to be left to eat if we follow Ashkenazi customs? I have read that even Ashkenazi Rabbis have deemed the ban on rice as “a silly custom.” What is next, Kosher for Passover water, fruits, vegetables, etc.?

    Should these “great” Rabbanim not be more concerned with the leaven that is in our hearts?

  3. PishPosh

    Neo that is a great site. But as I always say, its our fault for letting them get away with frivolous paskening.

    I dont give a flying leap how “learned” they are, Elysha Ben Abuya was also a great lamden.

  4. mazeartist

    What’s next? banning the mixing of fish and dairy?

  5. Neo-Conservaguy

    Some Chabad folks I know have indeed banned the mixing of fish and dairy. Even though they openly admit this is based upon a mistaken understanding of kashruth, they continue to uphold the chumra.

    Have you ever seen the Chabad peeling the fruit during Pesach routine?

  6. Yochanan Lavie

    As if I wasn’t already consinged to hell, I started eating kiniot years ago. BTW, I heard that the Chai Adam wanted to declare potatoes kiniot, but he was overruled, because that’s all poor Polish Jews had to eat. It was said, “In Poland, potatoes are the Chayei HaAdam. And the Chai Adam is kiniot.” Personally, I hold by “al toseph” and don’t want to add “mitzvot” to the torah. Stop the insanity!

  7. Dovid Lerner

    Re: Fish and dairy.

    The source of the ban is in Beis Yosef in siman 87 of Yorah Deiah, he writes that it is forbidden because of sakanah, much likle fish and meat are forbidden because of sakanah.

    1) He does not write this in S”A smian 87
    2) In Hilchos Shmiras Haguf this is not mentioned.

    Most Poskim (Shac”h, Ta”z etc.) take it to be a printing error, the Tzemach Tzedek rules that only milk with fish must be avoided, and not milk products (cheese, cream etc.).

    So, there is no reason to not have a bagel with lox, (in fact this is a good way to check if someone is authentically jewish…)

  8. Surferguy

    Never understood the ban on kiniot, but remember learning somewhere that when there’s a doubt you follow the custom of the place you are at. So when I moved to California I figured that it was okay to follow the Shephardic rules re:Pesach. Been eating rice on Pesach for years now. Does wonders for the digestive system, not to mention the disposition.

  9. Anonymous

    So, there is no reason to not have a bagel with lox, (in fact this is a good way to check if someone is authentically jewish…)

    u must mean,to check if someone is authentically judeo germanic, i.e. ashkenazi 🙂

  10. Dovid Lerner

    How true.. 🙂

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