Question:  Rabbi, I am interested in your thoughts on kitniyot.   Why for all these years have we been avoiding corn syrup and other exotic forms of kitniyot that show up in things like mustard, all of which drives us to Detroit to shop... why if all these years kitniyot were the basis for all this exertion, if it is not necessary.

I'm dumbfounded. I thought I saw something about the Israeli rabbinate actually ruling that kitniyot could be eaten on Pesah.  Am I mistaken to believe that this is a sort of sea change in the general pattern of observance?

Answer:  I don't know that the Israeli rabbinate has issued a broad ruling permitting kitniyot.  Remember, there are two chief rabbis - one Ashkenazi and one Sephardi.  The sephardi chief rabbi never had a problem with kitniyot.  Because the Mizrahi/Sephardi population of Israel is so large, there are many products on the that a kosher for Pesah only for those who eat kitniyot.  Because Israel is a unique Jewish community and because the basis for prohibiting kitniyot is weak to begin with, Rabbi David Golinkin (Masorti/Conservative) wrote a teshuvah arguing that it is an unnecessary division between Israel's ethnic groups and kitniyot should no longer be prohibited to Ashkenazi Jews IN ISRAEL.  He explicitly confines his teshuvah to Israel - it does not apply elsewhere.

You can find it here in volume 3, either in Hebrew or an English summary. www.responsafortoday.com/eng_index.html

On the other hand, his argument that the custom not to eat them is mistaken is convincing.  It is not automatically true that vegetarians can eat kitniyot, but if kitniyot are an important source of nutrition in your year round diet and since kitniyot are not hametz, this would be a basis for permitting them.  However, here, unlike Israel, we don't have many products containing kitniyot that are certified for Pesah.  Mustard seed might be considered kitniyot by some (a foolish decision), but mustard has vinegar which is hametz.  One of the unnecessary stringencies that has taken over is the prohibition of kitniyot derivatives.  Corn is certainly kitniyot and perhaps ought not be eaten, but corn oil and syrup were not prohibited until more recently.  It's complicated, so even if I ate kitniyot, I would still do my Pesah shopping in Detroit.

 

Question:  I read online somewhere that a cuisinart is Kosher for Pesach and all year.

My sister-in-law gave me a cuisinart for Pesach and it would be nice to use  it all year as well as for Pesach next year. 

However even if washing it would be enough before Pesach next year, my  question is if it has contained chametz during the year and been washed with a  chametz sponge all year, how can it be kosher for Passover next year? Is there a way to kasher it again for Pesach next year?

According to the online site washing was enough.

Answer: I would not think that washing alone is sufficient, even if the bowl is glass.  Washing the base thoroughly and immersing the blades and bowl briefly in boiling water would be the normal method of kashering.  Another option would be to buy a second set of bowl/blades to use just for Pesah.

 

Question: What are the rules concerning Pesach for a woman who is pregnant? I am assuming that it is acceptable to drink grape juice rather than wine. Additionally, would it be acceptable to eat foods one wouldn't normally in order to fend off morning sickness (i.e. crackers)?

Answer: Grape Juice is always an acceptable alternative to wine for the Seder.  I don't know what might fend off morning sickness in your case - but before eating hametz, I'd suggest trying various kinds of matzah products, including egg matzah crackers or kosher for Pesah cereals.  I don't know of any contemporary source that specifically permits pregnant women to eat hametz on Pesah, unless it was truly a life-threatening emergency.

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