Friday, April 1, 2011

PESACH:Kosher for Pesach pills

Today is the 26th day of Adar II, 5771

As we've explained in our last Halakha we are allowed to use or keep during Pesach any product which is unfit for consumption even if it may contain Chametz. See yesterday's HOTD .

Medicinal pills or vitamins fall under this category of non-edible Chametz (nifsal meakhilat keleb) when they are meant to be swallowed, instead of chewed. Think about a Tylenol pill, either as a hard white pill or as a gel tablet. You cannot chew it, because they have a very bad flavor. Therefore, because you swallow the pill, it is considered as a non-edible product, even if you introduce it thru your mouth (for educational purposes only: think of it as if you would inject the Tylenol into your body). Therefore non-chewable pills don't need to be checked for Chametz ingredients. Therefore any non-chewable pill (which is the same as saying: any pill with a bad flavor) can be taken and obviously kept during Pesach. Check here to see Rabbi Gedaliah Schwartz position in OTC medicine for Ashkenazi tradition, which is slightly stricter than the Sephardic tradition.

OTC syrups or chewable vitamins or medicine which contain a good or a neutral flavor, need to be checked for chametz ingredients. Why? Because these products are not meant as "food" but they are consumed in the normal way we eat food: chewing or drinking. For these products, we take a stricter stand: therefore, any chewable or liquid medicine should be checked for Chametz before using it during Pesach. (Next week BH I will present a list with this type of medicine and syrups which do not contain any chametz elements).

Needless to say, that in case of a serious medical condition any necessary medicine should be taken

Shabbat Shalom!!!

Candle lighting in NYC: 7:02

Shabbat ends in NYC: 8:11


Amran Hussain EUJS speech at the UN 21st of March 2011

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

Thursday, March 31, 2011

PESACH: Kosher le-Pesach deodorant?

Today is the 25th day of Adar II, 5771

We have already defined that Chametz is any food derived or containing any derivative from the following five cereal-grains: wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oats.

What happens if something which is a non-edible product contains Chametz? Is it forbidden to use it or keep it during Pesach?

The answer is no. The Halakha establishes that any non-food, non-edible product, even if theoretically contains a Chametz ingredient, could be kept and even used during Pesach: For example: Cosmetics, glues, paint, perfumes, soaps, detergents and any cleaning products, or any disposable utensils (aluminum foil, paper plates, plastic forks, etc, etc). In all these cases there is neither a need to check for the absence of Chametz, nor for any kind of Kosher for Pesach certification.

According to Jewish law, however, a non-edible product is not restricted to human consumption. Animal food, for example, if it contains Chametz, cannot be used or even kept during Pesach. Therefore, dog-food, cat-food, birds-food or even fish-food, cannot be used or even kept during Pesach (keep in mind that most animal food DO contain Chametz!!!

check this link for a list of Kosher for Pesach pet food.

In the next HOTD, B'H, we are going to discuss using and keeping during Pesach:
medicines, oral hygiene products, dietary supplements, etc.

The Story of Pesach, from the Hagada to Youtube :

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PESACH: What's the matter with rice?

Today is the 24th day of Adar II, 5771

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 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:

Therefore, it would not be unthinkable to find a grain of wheat mixed with rice. To avoid the possibility of accidental presence of a grain 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 is not enriched and there are no other additives. The ahskenazi custom is also to refrain from consuming any seeds (kitniot). Click here to see why:

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, ROYAL, ZEBRA, DEER, TILDA.

Anti-Israel activists have declared that March 30th will be a global day of action for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at the boycott of all Israeli goods.

To counter calls for boycotts, World Jewish Congress encourages BUYcotts, and, together with other pro-Israel organizations, is calling on constituents to purchase Israeli products.

We are calling for March 30th to be a Buy Israeli Goods (BIG) Day.

We encourage you to visit

To find a list of Israeli-made items which can be bought as part of your regular shopping needs, as gifts, or occasional purchases.

Please, circulate this website to your members and friends.

On March 30th, please use the website to find stores near you from which you can purchase these goods. Tell the store managers you wish to purchase Israeli goods, and encourage them to carry these products. Products from Israel meet the highest quality standards. Collectively, the frequent purchase of Israeli products will have a significant impact on the Israeli economy and all segments of the Israeli population.

Make March 30th a record day for sales of Israeli

products by organizing a BUYcott for your members.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

PESACH: Understanding what is NOT Chametz.

Today is the 23rd day of Adar II, 5771

In pesach we have six Mitzvot (five prohibitions and one active commandment) related to Chametz. The Torah forbids us to consume Chametz or anything containing Chametz. The Torah strictly forbids also the possession of Chametz, and command us to disposses ourselves of our Chametz, right before Pesach begins.

To fully understand and observe the laws and customs of Pesach we must know first what Chametz is.

To be very precise:

1. Chametz is any fermented substance coming exclusively from one of the following five cereal grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt.

2. Chimutz (the forbidden 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.

Many other alcoholic drinks contain grain alcohol. Years ago Vodka, for example, was made exclusively from potato, but lately, most brands of Vodka use cereal grain alcohol, which of course renders them absolutely forbidden for Pesach. (See )

Rice, corn and their derivatives, like corn starch or corn syrup (these last two elements are extensively used in the pharmaceutical and food industry) and any 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 why some Jewish communities --Ashkenazi and Moroccan, for example--do not consume rice, corn and other seeds or seeds products for Pesach.

And you thought you've heard it all.....

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

Monday, March 28, 2011

PESACH: Egg Matza or Matza Ashira?

Today is the 22nd day of Adar II, 5771

Egg Matzah are Matzot that are usually made with oil and or eggs and or honey, using fruit juice instead of water. The Rabbis in the Talmud stated that liquid food extracts do not cause flour to leaven, the way that water does. Not all egg Matza is made with actual eggs. When certified Kosher for Pesach, egg Matza can be consumed during the eight days of Pesach and even during Pesach eve (when is customary to refrain from eating Matza), but is not suitable for fulfilling the Mitzvah of 'eating Matza' in the Pesach Seder itself. In America they elaborate Matza Ashira/Egg Matza in the shape of Matzot, which might create a small confusion: some people might think that those Matzot can be used for the Seder, when technically speaking they are not consider Matzot, but non-chametz cookies....

Among some Ashkenazi Jews, there is a custom not to eat egg Matza during Passover, except for the elderly, infirm, or children, who cannot digest plain Matzah.

Among Sephardic Jews, this type of food --when the dough does no contain any amount of water -- is called Matza Ashira, and unlike egg Matza, products under the category of Matza Ashira do not necessarily have the shape of regular Matza. Rather, as you might verify in your local Kosher grocery , Matza Ashira products come in the form of cookies, cakes, desserts, etc. which actually look very similar to chametz products. But as we said, since no water was used in their elaboration, if it bears the corresponding Kosher le-Pesach certification, is OK for Sephardim to use on Pesach.

Super interesting: How hand-made Matza-Shmura is made?

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024