Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PESACH, what is Chametz, Part 1

17th of Adar, 5770

In order to fully understand and observe the laws and customs of Pesach we need to know first what Chametz is.

To be very precise: Chametz is any fermented substance coming exclusively from one of the following five cereal grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt . These five grains consist of three species of wheat (rye and spelt) and two species of barley (oats).

Chimutz (this type of fermentation) only takes place when one of these elements gets in contact with water and after passing eighteen minutes.

Some common examples of Chametz are: Bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, candies, noodles, some baby foods, dietary supplements (usually drinks) containing fibers, soup powders, whiskey and beer.

It should be known that there are many other alcoholic beverages that contain grain alcohol. One of them is “Vodka” that many years ago was made only from potato, but lately, most brands of Vodka use grain alcohol, which of course renders them absolutely forbidden for Pesach. (See http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/631781/vodka). Later on B'H we will post a “Kosher lePesach food list” where one can check more specifically for authorized Pesach products.

Rice, corn, their derivatives and other seeds which are not one of the five mentioned grains are not considered Chametz, even if they are fermented.

B’H tomorrow I will explain the issue of rice and why some traditions –Ashkenazi and Moroccan- consider it forbidden for Pesach.