PASSOVER FAQ- UPDATED FOR 5773
Every year, the number of questions we receive at our Operation Pesah continues to grow and grow. We are most pleased to note this increase as it points to a heightened level of awareness and observance of the holiday. Included in this special edition of the Kosher Nexus is a fairly complete representation of all the questions we have received. We hope that this guide will add to your observance of Pesah, and that it will make your life easier as you prepare for the holiday. Chag Kasher V’sameach to everyone!
B. VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
D. BEVERAGES: SODA, COFFEE, ALCHOHOL
E. SNACKS AND DESSERTS
I. ALUMINUM / WAX PAPER
B. OVENS & STOVES
C. DISHWASHERS & TABLE TOPS
III. NON-FOOD ITEMS
V. THE SEDER
VII. HOW, WHAT, WHY
I. FOOD, FOOD, FOOD, FOOD:
WHAT ABOUT OAT AND SPELT MATZAHS? There are kosher for Passover Oat and Spelt Matzahs. We publish the phone numbers at Pesah time. In years past, Oat matzahs were available at 1 908 370 8460.
DOES HARD (AGED) CHEESE NEED PASSOVER CERTIFICATION IF IT IS BOUGHT BEFORE PESAH? Yes.
DOES BUTTER NEED PESAH CERTIFICATION IF BOUGHT BEFORE PESAH? Absolutely not!
CAN I USE AN UNOPENED BOTTLE OF ORGANIC MAPLE SYRUP? Yes., but open it to use it!
DO COTTAGE CHEESE AND CHEESES IN GENERAL NEED PASSOVER CERTIFICATION? Yes..
IS THERE A KP NON DAIRY CREAMER? Yes, it is made by Kineret (the frozen challah people).
IS THERE A LOW FAT KP CHEESE? Yes.
B. VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
MAY ALL FROZEN VEGETABLES BE USED FOR PESAH? No, not at all. It used to be that frozen veggies were quite good for Pesah, but that has ceased to be the case due to the fact that most vegetable processors now cook all manner of hametz in the same retorts in which the vegetables are cooked. (Yes, even frozen veggies are subject to some cooking.) So, frozen vegetables need Pesah certification.
MAY WE EAT CORN? Not if you are an Ashkenazi. Only Sephardim eat corn on Pesah. If you are invited to a meal at a Sephardi home, avoid the corn in the dish, but you can still eat the main parts.
MAY I USE PEELED BABY CARROTS? Some people say no out of a fear that the anti oxidants used may be hametz. Obviously, the situation can change from year to year. As of Pesah, 2012, there was no problem with peeled carrots.
ARE WE PERMITTED TO EAT STRINGBEANS? According to the Rem”a,(Rabbi Moses Isserles) yes, we may. Not every rabbi accepts that stance. According to the Kosher Nexus, we may eat string beans.
MAY WE EAT SWEET POTATOES ON PASSOVER? Canned ones would need Pesah certification. Fresh ones would be fine.
CAN I USE CANNED PINEAPPLE WITHOUT PESAH HASHGACHA ON PESAH? Some people feel that canned pineapple in its own sauce only (i.e., not in syrup) is acceptable for Passover. We concur.
DOES APPLESAUCE NEED PASSOVER CERTIFICATION? Yes.
IS QUINOA KOSHER FOR PESAH? Yes. It needs no Passover certification. In Israel, some rabbis have tried to label Quinoa as kitniyot. They are wrong! Quinoa bought before Pesah needs no special P certification.
DOES CEREAL NEED PASSOVER CERTIFICATION? Absolutely! There are now a number of fairly expensive cereals on the market for Pesah. We recommend that if you eat Gebrukts, try putting farfel in a bowl and add milk and sugar or jelly/jam.
IS MUSTARD SEED KOSHER FOR PESAH? No. Even though it is not kitniyot, the accepted custom of the Jewish community is not to eat mustard seed on Pesah.
D. BEVERAGES: SODA, COFFEE, ALCHOHOL
WHAT ABOUT SODAS? Soda needs Passover hashgacha. One thing you should know is that often times the label on the soda will say “corn syrup” even though the cap of the soda says KP. Fear not, there are no kosher for Passover sodas that contain corn syrup. They simply don’t change the label for Passover, hence the KP on the cap. Please also note that flavored Seltzer needs Passover hashgacha. Plain, unflavored seltzer is automatically Kosher for Pesach.
IS THERE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER RUM? We have never seen any. There is a KP gin on the market, however.
DOES COFFEE NEED PASSOVER CERTIFICATION? All regular GROUND coffee is acceptable for Passover.
DOES DECAF TEA OR DECAF COFFEE NEED PASSOVER HASHGACHA? Yes. Lipton Decaf tea is fine for Passover with no special certification
IS THERE AN ORGANIC WINE FOR PASSOVER? Yes, it is called Kedem Wine.
ARE THERE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER WHISKEYS? Not many. There are some kosher for Passover vodkas, bourbons, one tequlla, a gin and some liqueurs. Check for hashgacha.
IS THERE KP BRANDY? Yes, among others who make it, Kedem makes some. Brandy must have P certification.
E. SNACKS AND DESSERTS
WHAT ABOUT NUTS? Nuts must be raw, not colored, with no additives and no BHA. Other than that, they need Pesah certification.
MAY WE EAT PEANUTS ON PASSOVER? According to the late Rabbi Moses Feinstein (OBM), we may eat peanuts on Passover. Many have twisted his words, but, simply put, he allowed it unless there is a community wide custom not to.
ARE THERE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER PEANUT BUTTERS? No. But you could make your own provided you had cleaned and kashered your peanut butter maker.
WHAT ABOUT POPCORN? Ashkenazim would not eat popcorn on Pesah. Sephardim could, but they generally don’t. It would need Pesah certification, by the way.
WHAT ABOUT COCOA? Hershey’s Pure Cocoa needs no special certification for Passover. Just open a new tin/box.
IS THERE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER VANILLA? Yes, but it must have special Passover certification.
DOES HONEY NEED P CERTIFICATION? Pure honey with no additives needs no Passover certification. Beware of any honey produced in China. We do not recommend honey from China at any time!
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS KP RICE CAKES? No, not even for Sephardim.
IS THERE A KOSHER FOR PESAH CORN STARCH? We have never seen one. Of course, most Ashkenazim wouldn’t use that product at all.
DOES ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER NEED HASHGACHA FOR PESAH? Generally speaking, yes, it does. Plain saccharin tabs need no hashgacha.
DOES APPLE CIDER VINEGAR NEED PESAH CERTIFICATION? Yes.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF VINEGAR? Unless it is certified kosher for Passover, it isn’t!
IS THERE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER SOY SAUCE? There is a fake soy sauce with KP certification.
ARE JALAPENOS IN THE CAN OR JAR KP? They would need Passover certification according to most poskim. We believe that as long as the only other ingredients in the can/jar are water and salt, the peppers would be fine.
WHAT SPICES ARE KP? In general, spices need Passover certification because of the ways in which spices are dried, cured, and produced. In addition, some spices are sprayed with a Hametz spray to make them dry better and more quickly. Hence, spices need certification. Some years, there are spices that are acceptable without special Passover certification.
WHAT IS THE STORY WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL? It doesn’t need special Passover certification. (only true of extra virgin oil)
IS CANOLA OIL KP? The Israeli Rabbinate has ruled that Canola oil is Kitniyot. We do allow it.
WHAT ABOUT SAFFLOWER OIL? We believe that pure safflower oil is acceptable for Passover. Similarly, soy oil, peanut oil and corn oil. (Most people will not use corn oil)
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF GUAR GUM, CAROB BEAN GUM, AND CARRAGENUM? They need Passover certification.
CAN I COOK HAMETZ BEFORE PESAH, FREEZE IT, AND USE IT AFTER PESAH? As long as you included it in your sale of Hametz, yes.
IS FLAX SEED KOSHER FOR PASSOVER? Yes- in all forms: raw, dry, or bleached.
IS METAMUCIL KOSHER FOR PESAH? The unflavored kind is acceptable. The capsules are fine, too.
DOES ALUMINUM FOIL NEED P CERTIFICATION? No.
DOES WAX PAPER NEED P CERTIFICATION? No. According to some authorities, it does, however, need kosher certification. Just not Passover certification.
DOES THE MIKVEH MAKE DISHES KOSHER FOR PASSOVER? No, it does not.
HOW DO I KASHER SILVERWARE? After not using the silverware for at least 24 hours, immerse it piece by piece in boiling water. You might want to use a nylon stocking bag to make it easier. Heavy duty rubber gloves are helpful, too.
HOW DO I KASHER GLASSWARE? There are three ways. One way (and we do not suggest you do this) is to immerse it in boiling water. The other is to do the three day dunk. Fill a large tub or basin with water from the tap. Hot, cold, tepid- it matters not. Put the glassware into the tub of water and make sure that it is totally immersed. After 24 hours, drain the water and refill. After another 24 hours, drain and refill. After another 24 hours, drain the water, and you are done. Sephardim simply wash glass to make it kosher for Pesah. Many Ashkenazim follow the Sefardi custom. Among commentaries, the Trumas Hadeshen and Rabbi Moshe Isserles stand out for not allowing glass to be kashered.
HOW DO I KASHER STEMWARE? Forget about boiling it- it is much too dangerous. Do the three day dunk. (See above.) Or follow the Sefardi custom.
HOW DO I KASHER CORNINGWARE? First of all, note that Corning BAKE ware may NOT be kashered for Pesah. In general, the rule regarding Corningware is: If it has been used for heating/cooking foods, then it has to be kashered in heat over 750 degrees. If it has NOT been used to heat/cook foods, it can be kashered by either the three day dunk or by boiling or (Sephardic custom) by washing.
B. OVENS & STOVES
HOW DO I KASHER THE OVEN? The easiest way is to hire someone else to do it! If, however, you have to do it yourself, scrub until the inside shines. Take out the racks and scrub them until they shine again. Put the racks back in the oven and put the oven on broil for one hour. The bottom line is: do the best job you can do.
HOW DO I KASHER A SELF CLEANING OVEN? Turn on the self cleaning cycle. Go drink some coffee and come back in four hours. Voila!
HOW DO I KASHER A CONTINUOUS CLEANING OVEN? The only way to do this kind of oven is just the same way we clean any regular oven. Care should be taken, however, as many continuous cleaning ovens can be ruined by caustic cleansers. Check with the manufacturer’s instructions, first.
HOW DO I KASHER A MICROWAVE OVEN? Very carefully wash the interior of the unit as well as the glass plate. Once clean, put a bowl of water inside the oven. Nuke the water until it boils and the interior of the oven is covered with condensate. When the interior is thoroughly wet, the unit is kosher for Pesah.
HOW DO I KASHER A GLASS TOP RANGE? OUR SUGGESTION- Just wash it.
HOW DO I KASHER THE TRIVETS ON THE STOVE TOP? Clean them very carefully. Put them back on the stove top and turn on the gas or the electric full out for twenty (some say 30) minutes.
C. DISHWASHERS & TABLE TOPS
HOW DO I KASHER THE DISHWASHER? There are different opinions about this. “Everyone” says to wash out the interior and scrub it with a brush and remove the racks and run two full cycles to kasher the dishwasher. Some people feel that the racks can not be made kosher for Pesah, so they put in new ones (or racks they use only for Pesah.). Others say to scrub the racks very carefully and then put them in the machine while you are running the two koshering cycles. Still others say metal racks need only be cleaned and then run through two cycles. Others say one cycle. Others say that rubber can be made KP. Some do not accept that. We follow a simple solution- we store chametz in the dishwasher over Pesach. Halachically, all that is needed, however, is to run a full cycle with soap and then you can use the dishwasher on Pesach.
HOW DO I KASHER A GRANITE TOP COUNTER? Use boiling water. Pour it all over the counter. Mop the floor. Please note that the Mishneh Brurah states that we need not cover our counters at all.
CAN LUCITE BE MADE KOSHER FOR PASSOVER? There are two opinions: one says yes, the other says no. We are of the opinion that because Lucite is hard plastic, it can be made kosher for Pesah by immersion in boiling water.
HOW DO I KASHER MY YEAR ‘ROUND BLECH? According to Ashkenazic custom, we do not use our year ’round blech on Pesach (even with kashering). Ashkenazic custom is to use a strictly for Pesach blech.
HOW DO I KASHER A CAN OPENER? First clean it well. Don’t use it for 24 hours. Immerse it in boiling water.
HOW DO I KASHER MY DENTURES FOR PASSOVER? Although the temptation to say gargle with boiling water is strong, the truth is just clean them. Some people do pour boiling water over the dentures- but put them in the sink or in a cup first! We do not recommend using boiling water on your dentures. Just clean them carefully.
III. MEDICINES / COSMETICS / CLEANERS:
For the most up-to-date list of meds for Passover, contact Rabbi Bess in California. He is at 1 213 933 5031. He is THE authority on kosher for Passover medications. His list is the one that everyone else copies. The bottom line regarding meds is that many people have a custom to not use pills containing hametz unless there is no acceptable alternative. Many people believe that if it is a pill that is swallowed, it need not be kosher for Passover. We concur. We do note, though, that all insulins and all heart meds (as of now) are kosher for Passover. Please note that elixirs are always chametz and are NOT acceptable on Passover.
As this is a generalized listing, it is not possible for us to list cosmetics here. We do, however, believe that there is almost never an issue with cosmetics.
ARE SCOTCHBRIGHT PADS KOSHER FOR PASSOVER? They were in 2012- we see no reason why they shouldn’t be in future years, too.
IS COMET KOSHER FOR PASSOVER? It was in 2012- we see no reason why it shouldn’t be in the future, too.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF O-U CERTIFIED CLEANING LIQUIDS? They are all kosher for Passover.
IV. PETS: DOGS, CATS, ETC:
There is only one area of concern that prompts more questions than those about meds and cosmetics, and that is: What do I feed my pet during Pesah?” The prohibition against having Hametz is a total prohibition. We can’t even have it to feed our pets. It is forbidden for us to have Hametz in our possession during the holiday. Although we can not feed our pets Hametz during Pesah, there is no prohibition against feeding them Treife. We can’t eat treife, but our pets may! So, for example, you could give your cat shrimp during Pesah, but not cereal based foods. In addition, we are not allowed to derive any benefit from any mixtures of meat and dairy, so we need to be sure that the food we give the pet is not forbidden because of mixtures of milk and meat. This, by the way, is true all of the year- not just during Pesah. Therefore, the foods we feed our pets may not contain meat and dairy mixtures nor may they contain Hametz. They may contain, however, Kitniyot. Every year, the list of acceptable foods changes, so we shall not list them here.
IF I SELL MY PET WITH THE HAMETZ, MAY I FEED HIM/HER HAMETZ? No.
WHAT CAN I FEED MY GUINEA PIG? Try these fine foods: sunflower seeds, oranges, apple, carrot, alfalfa, lettuce, cabbage, and pears. In truth, it may just be easier to ask a gentile friend to take your pet to his/her home for the duration. That would obviate any feeding problems.
V. THE SEDER
WHAT IS THE BRACHA ON MATZAH? At the seder there are two blessings: regular motzi and then ….Asher… V’tzivanu al achilat matzah. During all other meals, the regular motzi is said.
I WILL BE AWAY FOR PESAH, WHEN DO I DO BEDIKAT HAMETZ? Just before you leave home.
CAN I USE HORSERADDISH FOR MARROR? Yes. The Mishna says to use romaine lettuce, but the Gemara says that we can use raw horseradish. Note: not jarred horseradish- raw!
VI. VEGETARIAN QUESTIONS:
WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD OF AN EGG? Many vegetarians use an avocado seed.
WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD OF A BONE? Many vegetarians use a beet.
WHERE CAN I FIND GOOD VEGETARIAN RECIPES FOR PESAH? You might want to try the ZERO
CHOLESTEROL PASSOVER RECIPE BOOK. It is pretty much the best work out there. Written by vegetarians for vegetarians, it is, nonetheless, a great cook book for everyone.
IS THERE A RESOURCE FOR VEGETARIANS? Indeed there is. The best collection of Kosher for Passover recipes (including veggie) can be found at: www.kosher4passover.com/recipes.htm
HOW, WHAT, WHY:
WHAT IS GEBRUKTS? Gebrukts refers to mixtures of matzah (in any form) and water (or any other liquid). Some people observe the custom of not eating gebrukts on Pesah, because they believe that when the matzah and liquid mix, the matzah may rise, making it not kosher for Pesah. Not all Jews accept this minhag. In fact, most probably do not. Of those who do, some refrain from eating gebrukts all of Pesah; others will eat it on the last day of the holiday. Of course, there are those of us who eat gebrukts all of Pesah, too! An example of gebrukts would be a matzah ball.
WHERE CAN I BUY A HAGGADAH? There are any number of places where you can buy Haggadot. Shuls sell them in their gift shop. Often times, supermarkets give them away. Kosher butchers often give them away. Of course, your local Judaica shop would have the best selection. You can call 1 718 258 9696 (Hecht’s Hebrew Book Store) and order Haggadot over the phone. Last of all, if nothing else pans out, call General Foods and ask them to mail you some of their famous Maxwell House Haggadot.
DOES THE UTJ HAVE ANY GOOD RECIPES FOR PASSOVER? No, but we can point you in the correct direction. Try this web site: www.kosher4passover.com/recipes.htm You should check the Kosher Nexus daily blog for on-going, up to date information: www.koshernexus.org
VII. THE FINAL WORD:
Here at the UTJ, we are always available to answer your Kashruth questions- at Pesah time and all year around, too. Our phone number during the year is 201 801 0707 You can also email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope that this abstract from the Hot Line has proved helpful to you. Best wishes for a kosher and happy Pesah.
This monograph was written by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport. Editing and formatting was done by Rabbi Seth Gordon.
©2013 Union for Traditional Judaism Freedom to quote is given, but attribution must be given