Category Archives: 9 – Kitniyot

1. The Origins of the Ashkenazic Custom

The ĥametz prohibited by the Torah is produced from one of the five types of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye. Other species such as rice and millet, even if they rise, do not undergo the same fermentation process … Continue reading

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2. The Sephardic Custom

During the era of the Rishonim, all Sephardic communities ate kitniyot and rice during Pesaĥ, though they were careful to pick out forbidden grains. Indeed, R. Yosef Karo writes (Beit Yosef §453) that nobody worries about “such things except for … Continue reading

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3. Spouses from Different Communities

The following question arises frequently nowadays: what should a married couple do when one spouse comes from a family that refrains from kitniyot and the other from a family that eats kitniyot? A similar matter was addressed by one of … Continue reading

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4. Prohibited Species

The familiar foods included in this custom are: rice, alfalfa, peas, millet, sorghum, chickpeas, fenugreek seeds, sunflower seeds, mustard, buckwheat (kusemet, not to be confused with kusmin – spelt – which is a forbidden cereal grain), cumin, vetch, black-eyed peas, … Continue reading

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5. Rules Governing This Custom

People who adhere to the custom of not eating kitniyot may keep them in the house during Pesaĥ and derive benefit from them, for example, by lighting a lamp with kitniyot oil (Rema 453:1). One who does not eat kitniyot … Continue reading

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6. Kitniyot That Never Touched Water and Kitniyot Oils

We are not stricter with kitniyot than we are with the five cereal grains, so whatever is acceptable regarding these grains is kosher for kitniyot, too. Thus, kitniyot that have not come into contact with water, or that have come … Continue reading

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7. Extenuating Circumstances, the Sick, and Babies

Clearly, the Ashkenazic custom to refrain from kitniyot cannot be stricter than the prohibition against ĥametz itself. Therefore, in extenuating circumstances like drought or famine, leading halakhic authorities permitted eating kitniyot. In actuality, rabbis have often disagreed whether the need … Continue reading

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