Sunday, April 07, 2013

A Passover Without Qitniyoth (Kiniyot)

כ"ז לחודש הראשון תשע"ג

I am not sure of this photo's source, but last year it was going around Facebook.

"Also this year there will be hundreds of thousands of people in Israel
who will not have what to eat during the Holiday.
They are called Ashkenazim.
Come let's help them!"
Of course, this was in reference to Pesah (Passover), and the belief by some that they must keep an additional dietary restriction, that of refraining from qitniyoth (legumes, rice), besides simply from refraining from hametz (leavened grain products) during Pesah.

Click here for a full Explanation of the Qitniyoth Controversy.

As a friend of mine would say,...

"I am strict on the issue of qitniyoth during Pesah. I eat them!" 

Qitniyoth Liberation Front!
And, like my fellow student of Rabbi David Bar-Hayim, Head of Machon Shilo, (pictured left his son, eating rice cakes), I also make a point of eating qitniyoth in public.

However, save for the humous and tehinah, my Seder night was qitniyoth free. In case I had picked up guests from beth k'nesseth (schul/synagogue), I wanted to make sure that they would be comfortable eating at my Seder table.

Likewise, on the last day of Pesah, I had friends over for a Al HaAish (barbeque) lunch. I had my brand new grill all ready to go, meat with a kosher certification I knew that we could all agree upon, and plenty of non-qitniyoth side dishes.

Why did I make a big point of being considerate of those Jews who refrain from eating qitniyoth during Pesah?

Well, the answer is the same as why I did not have a problem with being told that if I wanted to join a friend's minyan at the Kotel (Western Wall) during hol hamo'ed (intermediate days), I would have to leave my Tefillin at home.

Here in Israel, it is not nearly as common as in the U. S. for Jews to put Tefillin on during hol hamo'ed. The issue is almost as hot as the concept that all Jews in Israel are permitted to eat qitniyoth during Pesah.

Maybe next year I will organize a Tefillin minyan at the Kotel. Who knows? But, we'll have to burn cross that bridge when we get to it.

In the meantime, and unlike certain women, I did not believe that putting Tefillin on at the Kotel, was an appropriate statement, even if I had the proper intent in doing so (unlike certain women).

Neither was my Holiday table the place to make a political statement, least not much of one anyway.

An even greater problem that what to eat and what to wear during Pesah, is the lack of joy experienced by Jews during Pesah.

I am embarrassed to say that many Jews dread Pesah, dread the cleaning, and dread the restrictions. I believe that the dread stems mostly from being so stuck in galuth (exile), that they are too far removed from learning the authentic halakhoth (Torah Laws) regarding this holiday.

Whatever I can do we can do to put the joy back into one of the most joyous times of the year, commemorating one of the most joyous times in our history, we should do,...while staying within the realm of halakhah, of course.

So, next year, let us make a point of putting the שמח back into חג כשר ושמח, the "happy" back into a "Kosher and Happy Passover!"

לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה

Next year, let ALL Jews meet in a completely rebuilt Jerusalem!


Devash said...


David Tzohar said...

A tefillin minyan at the kotel? Are you serious or was this a joke ? AFAIK this minhag goes back at least 200 years when it was accepted by the "Perushim " talmidei Ha Gra. It was a
always the minhhag of the Chassidim.
Along with one day yomtov it has become the only accepted minhag in Eretz Yisrael.

Esser Agaroth said...

Devash, Thanks!

David, I am even more serious, now that I see your comment.

Minhag Eretz Yisrael are not only those of the Talmidei HaGr"A. Rather, they go back even farther, before the Crusades, and that includes the nusah tefillah, we have from the Talmud Yerushalmi, and from the Cairo Genizah.

Always of the Hassidim? Maybe. However, even the Beth Yosef says that we ALL put tefillin on during Hol HaMo'ed before learning that the Qabbalah said not to. I have heard that there is another place in Qabbalah which says TO put tefillin on, but I'll have to find it.

So, Teimanim and others can't put tefillin on at the Kotel, but those rebellious women can? Does that sound fair to you?

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