Thursday, March 4, 2010

PESACH, what is Chametz? Part 2

18th of Adar, 5770



As we explained yesterday there are only five grains which could become Chametz: wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt.

Rice then, is not Chametz. Still, the Ashkenazi and the Moroccan custom is to refrain from rice during Pesach. Why?

The reason for their abstention of rice has to do with the fact that many years ago it was very common to find grains of wheat in the bags of rice, since the fields where rice was grown were usually nearby or within the same fields where wheat was grown. Even today, there are many places in the world (India, Pakistan, Iran) where they rotate wheat and rice crops yearly (To understand this system called: "rice-wheat cropping system" see http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/dec252004/1713.pdf and http://www.rwc.cgiar.org/Pub_Info.asp?ID=51). Therefore, it would not be unthinkable to find a grain of wheat mixed with rice.

To avoid the possibility of accidental presence of wheat in rice, the Persian and Syrian custom is to check the rice very carefully, three times before using it for Pesach.

We also refrain from buying enriched rice, which sometimes could be enriched with wheat starch.

Brown rice could also be used, provided there are no other additives .

The following brands of rice are recommended by Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim as being 100% pure, not enriched, and with no additives or preservatives. LALQUILA, SHAZADEH, PARI, SHIVA GOLD, SHIVA CLASSIC, ROYAL, ZEBRA, KAARI and DEER BRAND