Friday, March 23, 2012

List of Products for Pesach

During Pesach, our community maintains the highest standards of observance in terms of cleaning the house from Chametz and consuming exclusively Kosher for Pesach products. Whenever possible, every product we buy should bear the Kosher for Passover certification.

The products described in the following list do not contain Chametz and are authorized for Pesach 5772.

The products mentioned in this list do not bear a special Kosher for Passover certification, but THEY MUST BE BOUGHT BEFORE PESACH AND CAN ONLY BE USED IF THE PACKAGE IS NEW AND UNUSED.

The authorization of these products is only for Sephardim and it is based on information obtained from Kosher for Pesach lists elaborated by Orthodox rabbis experts in the area of Kashrut.
Click HERE to download the list.

For a comprehensive Passover guide and an extensive list of products which follows the Ashkenazi tradition please clickHERE.

Feel free to contact me for any doubt, but first read carefully the list! 

Rabbi Yosef Bitton
Of: 516 4870244. 
Shabbat Shalom!
Candle lighting in NYC: 6:53 PM
Shabbat ends in NYC: 8:02 PM.

Downloadable list

List of Products for Pesach 5772

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PESACH: Pills and medicine for Pesach

As we have 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 here
Medicinal pills or vitamins fall under the 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 pill or as a gel tablet. You would not chew it, because they have a very bad flavor. Those pills were not made to be chewed (this defines 'eating' in a case of a solid food) but to be swallowed. 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. Any non-chewable pill (which is the same as saying: any pill with a bad flavor) can be taken, and obviously kept during Pesach. 
Click here to see Rabbi Gedaliah Schwartz's position in OTC medicine for the Ashkenazi tradition, which follows this simple principle, but is slightly stricter than the Sephardic tradition. 

OTC syrups or chewable medicine or vitamins or protein shakes, food supplements, etc. which have a pleasant or a neutral flavor, need to be checked for Chametz ingredients. Why? Because although these products are not meant as food, they are ingested in the normal way we eat food: chewing or drinking. Therefore, any chewable or liquid medicine or chewable or liquid vitamin should be checked for Chametz before using it during Pesach. 

Tomorrow B'H I will present a list with this type of medicines and syrups (chewable, drinkable) which do not contain any Chametz elements.

Needless to say, in case of a serious medical condition any necessary medicine should be taken.
CLICK HERE to read:  "The tragedy in Tolouse"  by Rabbi Benjamin Blech  (from

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kosher for Pesach deodorant?

We have already explained that Chametz is any food derived or containing any derivative from the following five cereal-grains: wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oats (see here)

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

The answer is NO. The Halakha (Shulchan 'arukh 442:2, Mishna Berura 42:10) establishes that any non-food, anything which was never designed as an edible product, could be kept and even used during Pesach: For example: Cosmetics, paint, perfumes, soaps, detergents and any cleaning products, or any disposable utensils, aluminum foil, paper plates, paper cups, plastic forks, etc. In all these cases there is neither a need to check for the absence of Chametz or for any kind of Kosher for Pesach certification. Because, even if theoretically such a product would contains a Chametz ingredient, non edible Chametz is not considered Chametz (Penine Halakha "Pesach" p. 22-24). 

According to Jewish law, however, the definition of 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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pesach: why is rice permitted (and forbidden) during Pesach?

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

Rice, obviously, is not Chametz. Is not one of the five grains and there are examples in the Gemara of Chakhamim that ate normally rice during Pesach. Still, the Ashkenazi and the Moroccan custom is to refrain from rice during Pesach. Why? The practical reason for the 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, in some areas, were 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 (See here).

Therefore, it would not be unthinkable to find a grain of wheat mixed with the rice.  To avoid the possibility of accidental presence of a grain of wheat in rice (rice and wheat, especially in the form or whole grains, share the same color) , the Persian and Syrian custom is to check the rice very carefully, three times before using it for Pesach.
One has to 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 following brands of rice are recommended by Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim as being 100% pure, not enriched, and with no additives or preservatives. LALQUILA - SHAHZADEH - PARI - ROYAL - ZEBRA - DEER BRAND - INDIA GATE - TILDA

The Ahskenazi custom is to refrain also from consuming any seeds (qitniot) during Pesach. For a good explanation of the Ashkenazi custom of qitniot, click here.  

Leiylui Nishmat 
Rabbi Sandler (30) , his two sons Aryeh (3) and Gabriel (6) and Miriam Monsonego (8). All killed in a Jewish School in Tolouse, France.
(HaShem Iqom damam)

Read here 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pesach: What is Chametz?

From the eight Mitzvot of Pesach (see here) six of them, five prohibitions and one active commandment, are related to Chametz. The Tora forbids us to consume Chametz or anything containing Chametz during Pesach. The Tora strictly forbids also the possession of Chametz, and command us to dispose 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 actual fermentation of these grains, only takes place after eighteen minutes from the moment one of these grains or a by-product of these grains comes in contact with water. 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. Besides whiskey and beer, many other alcoholic beverages contain grain alcohol, which is a Chametz by-product forbidden in Pesach. Years ago Vodka, for example, was made exclusively from potato, but lately, most brands of Vodka use cereal grain alcohol (wheat, barley) which of course renders them absolutely forbidden for Pesach. (See here).

Rice or 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 when they have fermented.

In the coming days we will learn why some Jewish communities--Ashkenazi and Moroccan, for example--do not consume rice, corn and other seeds or seeds products during Pesach, despite the fact that they are not Chametz.