negothick: (Default)
[personal profile] negothick
This is the first year that I'm not shouting hosannas (actually that happens at Sukkot, but whatever. . .) because the 8th day of Passover has just passed into history. Why? Because last year (too late for me to alter my eating plans), the Conservative rabbinate decided that 800 years of custom--not law, but with the force of law--could be set aside. That's how long the Sefardic and Ashkenazic Jewish communities had been divided on whether a certain class of foods called "kitniyot" were chometz or not. That is, could we eat beans, legumes, and pulses--including peanuts, chickpeas, cashews, lentils, rice--during Passover. Those who know me recognize these as the staples of my diet and my major protein source. In past years, I suffered through Passover with a protein deficit and carb overload, feeling bloated and unwell and celebrating the end of the holiday.
This year--wonderful! Homemade hummus! Beans and rice! Various stews with chickpeas! Very little matza--ritual only. I felt great.
Since last summer, I've been avoiding bread and pasta as much as possible, eating them only in situations where there was nothing else I could eat. I've lost weight, and I hope to continue slowly losing it.
The result was that this Passover was no hardship for me: I never craved bread, as I had in past years. Where Facebook has been alight with Friends announcing "Pizza time!" or "Pastrami sandwich" or simply "I can eat bread now!" I've been very happy to eat another batch of beans and rice.
Well, OK, I did kind of miss Cream of Wheat.

Date: 2017-04-19 12:23 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
Huzzah! (Though I have to admit here that one of my biggest treats this time of year is unsalted matzo with unsalted butter on it. Yum!)

Date: 2017-04-19 03:30 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
Heh! Yes!

Date: 2017-04-19 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How does rice, a grain, get lumped in with legumes?

Date: 2017-04-19 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To some extent, nobody knows, but there are theories. Part of the article on kitniyot (which literally means "lentils" but has an extended meaning come passover) in Wikipedia ( covers the theories I've heard and adds to them:

"The Halakhic argument (the argument according to Jewish law and tradition) against eating kitniyot during Passover originated in early medieval France and Provence and later flourished in high medieval Ashkenazi (Rhineland) Germany.

"The original reasons behind the custom of not eating kitniyot during Passover are not clear, though two common theories are that these items are often made into products resembling chametz (e.g. cornbread), or that these items were normally stored in the same sacks as the five grains and people worried that they might become contaminated with chametz. It is also possible that crop rotation would result in the forbidden chametz grains growing in the same fields, and being mixed in with the kitniyot. Those authorities concerned with these three issues suggested that by avoiding eating kitniyot, people would be better able to avoid chametz. Since Jewish law is quite stringent about the prohibition against chametz in the house during Passover, even in small amounts, a tradition developed to avoid these products altogether.[6]

"Vilna Gaon (Hagaos HaGra, ibid.) proposes a different source for this custom. The Gemara in Pesachim (40b) notes that Rava objected to the workers of the Exilarch cooking a food called chasisi on Pesach, since it was wont to be confused with chametz. Tosafot understand that chasisi are lentils, and thus, argues Vilna Gaon, establishes the basis for the concern for kitniyot. Rabbi David Golinkin in the Responsa of the Masorati (Conservative) Movement cites Rabbenu Manoah (Provence, ca. 1265) who wrote an opinion in his commentary on Maimonides (Laws of Festivals and Holidays 5:1) that "It is not proper to eat kitniyot on holidays because it is written (in Deuteronomy 16:14) that ‘you shall rejoice in your festivals’ and there is no joy in eating dishes made from kitniyot". Lentils were a food of mourners."

Date: 2017-04-19 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A different reason for the ban. One theory is that rice was an exotic import to Eastern and Northern Europe, whereas Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Jews could source it locally. Another theory says that when rice WAS imported to Europe, it was put in the same barrels that had held wheat, and thus became "contaminated" with chometz.


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