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 Ashkenazim.”

However, some leading Sephardic Aĥaronim have written that many pious Jews refrain from eating rice during Pesaĥ because of a case in which some wheat was discovered in rice even after it had been checked several times (Pri Ĥadash, Ĥida). The Jews of Izmir have a custom not to eat rice on Pesaĥ (Lev Ĥayim 2:94), and the Jews of Morocco refrain from eating rice and other types of dry kitniyot on Pesaĥ. Ben Ish Ĥai (Year One, Tzav 41) states that in Baghdad many laypeople do not eat rice on Pesaĥ, and those who do must first check it two or three times. Each person should perpetuate his ancestral custom. Where there is doubt or difficulty in doing so, it is best to consult a rabbinic authority.

Certain spices such as cumin, turmeric, and fenugreek often have grains mixed in and should not be eaten without a prior meticulous inspection.

Nowadays rice is stored in the same packing-houses as flours and semolina. Therefore, those who eat rice on Pesaĥ must buy packages that are certified kosher for Pesaĥ and then check the rice thoroughly three times (Ama Devar 1:62) .

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