Edition #12 April 2008 - Chicago Rabbinical Council

APRIL 2008 / ‫ניסן תשס"ח‬
‫ מארעות ומדע‬,‫ רכיבים‬,‫ פסקי הלכה‬,‫סיוע לציבור‬
‫ארעות ומדע‬
‫ ר‬,Kashrus
‫פסקי הלכה‬
,‫סיעוא לציבור‬
Updates for the cRc Kashrus Professional
Consumer Pesach
Answers – Part 2
The following questions were posed to the cRc by consumers in
the weeks leading up to Pesach 5768/2008 including those
submitted at the cRc Pesach seminar held at Congregation
K.I.N.S. in Chicago on March 31st. This document does not
include questions which are answered in the cRc Pesach Guide
2008 or those printed in Sappirim 11.
Bottled Water
1. Is bottled water that contains minerals
acceptable for Pesach without special
Yes, as long as it is not flavored and does not
contain vitamins.
Coatings on Fruits & Vegetables
2. Are there any kitnios or chametz issues
regarding the coatings put on fruits and
No, with the exception of dried fruit
raisins which are often have a kitnios
to keep them from sticking to one
and should only be used with
such as
Frozen Fruit
3. Your Passover Guide says that frozen fruit may
be used without hashgachah if it is not
sweetened or cooked. What if the ingredient
panel says that it contains ascorbic acid, citric
acid or sugar?
Ascorbic and citric acid can be chametz or
kitnios (or innocuous), and we therefore
cannot recommend anything uncertified that
contains these ingredients. However, since
sugar does not pose a Pesach concern, fruit
sweetened with sugar (without any other
ingredients) is acceptable for Pesach.
Invert Sugar
4. Does invert sugar require special Pesach
Yes; the process of “inverting” sugar (i.e.
increasing the percentage of fructose as
compared to glucose) requires an enzyme or
a food-acid, and those ingredients and the
process require Pesach hashgachah.
Milk Substitutes
5. Is there any type of milk alternative on Pesach
for those who are allergic to milk protein or
sensitive to milk sugar (lactose)?
Rice milk and soy milk are common milk
substitutes. Both of these beverages are kitnios
and are therefore surely not permitted for
Ashkenazim who are in good health and can
manage without these items. A more serious
concern is that these items often contain
chametz either in the enzyme (a barley-based
beta amylase) or in the flavoring. [Both the
enzyme and flavoring comprise less than 1/60
of the beverage, but cannot be batel because
they respectively serve the role as davar
hama’amid or milsah d’avidah lit’amah]. In
previous years, we were able to determine that
Vitasoy Ethnic Original Soy Milk is free of these
latter concerns, and have confirmed that the
same is true this year. [Please note that other
Vitasoy products do contain barley and
therefore this recommendation is limited to the
Ethnic variety].
This year, the cRc has researched several
other brands, and of those it has found two
varieties which to the best of our research
abilities do not appear to present any
chametz issues. Those two varieties are Silk
Plain and Silk Vanilla, both of which are only
recommended when sold in a 1 liter container
only. These two varieties are also sold under
the Starbucks name.
Some people react negatively to lactosecontaining milk because their body does not
produce sufficient amounts of lactase, the
enzyme which digests lactose. These people
can drink milk without any complications if (a)
the lactase enzyme is mixed into the milk or (b)
if they take a pill of lactase together with their
milk. [Lactaid is a popular brand for both of
these forms of lactase]. The Pesach concern
with this solution is that lactase is commonly
created through a process known as Koji
fermentation, which uses wheat bran as a
Sappirim is a cRc publication
written by Rabbi Dovid Cohen
and edited by Ms. Biranit Kohn
Page 2
primary ingredient. Therefore, the cRc policy is
that one may use milk containing lactase if the
lactase was added by the company before
Pesach,1 and one may use non-chewable
lactase pills on Pesach. However, one may
not add lactase-drops to milk on Pesach, and
one may not use chewable lactase pills (even
if the person swallows them).
Paper Bags
6. My mother says that when she takes hot
Pesach cookies out of the oven, she likes to
put them onto paper bags to cool off. Does
she need specially certified paper bags for
Pesach or can she use any kind?
Any kind is fine.
Rice Cereal
7. We’ve been told not to use commercially
produced rice cereal on Pesach. What can
we substitute for that?
Commercial rice cereal is not recommended
for Pesach because of the possibilities that
oatmeal flakes might inadvertently be mixed
in and because a chametz enzyme may be
used in the processing. Instead, you can
prepare your own rice cereal at home as long
as you use specially designated pots and
utensils (since rice is kitnios) and don’t wash
those items in the Pesach sink. The internet has
plenty of recipes for home-made rice cereal,
and a common one is to grind rice in a
blender and then cook it up at a ratio of 1 cup
water to every ¼ cup of ground rice.
Vegetable Wash
8. Does vegetable wash require hashgachah for
Although there are a few kosher vegetable
washes on the market, to the best of our
knowledge none of them are acceptable for
If consumers wish, they could
substitute a small amount of dish liquid (any
are acceptable) which will do the same job, if
not better.
Water With Caffeine
9. There is a brand of bottled water called
“Water Joe” that only contains water and
caffeine. Is this a problem for Pesach?
There are a number of ways of removing
caffeine from coffee, tea, and other items;
The lactase’s effect on the milk is not significant enough to be considered a
davar hama’amid or a milsah d’avidah lit’amah, and therefore it is batel.
some of these methods use chemicals which
may be chametz, which is why decaffeinated
coffee requires Pesach certification. Once the
caffeine is removed from the coffee, it is sold
to pop/soda manufacturers and other
companies who use it in their products.
Therefore, unless you can be certain that the
caffeine mixed into your water is free of
chametz, you should not drink that water on
Wheat Grass and Barley Grass
10. Are wheat grass or barley grass chametz?
No. The wheat or barley berry/grain can
become chametz when mixed with water, but
the grass/stalk on which the grain grows is not
It is however noteworthy, that
wheat and barley grass are typically sold in a
dried form, and we would not be able to
recommend such a product for Pesach
without verifying that no chametz was dried
on the equipment used for drying the grass.
Amaranth and Quinoa
11. Are amaranth and quinoa kitnios?
Amaranth and quinoa are seeds which are
similar enough to wheat and barley that they
theoretically would be kitnios, and in fact
some Poskim do treat them as such. However,
Rav Schwartz accepts Iggeros Moshe’s (OC
III:63) position that foods which were not
consumed by Jews at the time the minhag of
kitnios began are not forbidden on Pesach.
Therefore, because when the minhag began
(3-4 centuries ago) no Jews lived in the South
American and Far Eastern countries where
these grains grew, amaranth and quinoa are
not considered kitnios and may be consumed
on Pesach if one can be certain that no
chametz-grains are mixed in.
This last caveat poses a particular concern for
amaranth and quinoa, as these small seeds
are often packaged on the same equipment
as other small grains such as wheat, barley
and oats, which means that they can only be
used after being carefully checked that no
chametz grains are mixed in. In practice, most
consumers are not familiar enough with the
difference between one grain and the next to
be able to perform this check, and as a result
they cannot use them for Pesach.
This year, we were once again able to confirm
that the whole grain quinoa sold under the
Ancient Harvest and Trader Joe brand names,
April 2008
and bearing the KOAOA/Half-Moon K kosher
certification, are produced in plants which do
not package chametz grains, and are
therefore suitable for Pesach use. [This does
not apply to the quinoa flour or flakes]. It is
worth verifying this information before each
Pesach to make sure the information remains
Corn Starch
12. My cousin has a 3 year old with a very rare
genetic disease which requires her to eat corn
starch regularly. Since she is a child and also
has a chronic illness, it is clear that she can eat
kitnios on Pesach, but we do not want her to
be eating chametz. Until recently they lived in
Israel, where we purchased corn starch
certified as “kosher for Pesach for those who
are permitted to eat kitnios” but here that is
not available here in the USA. If need be, we
will import the Israeli product to our new
home, but aside from the hassle, there is a
medical preference that she should stick with
the brand she is used to. So here is my
question: do you know if the Argo or Kingsford
brands of pure corn starch, certified yearround by the OU, contain chametz?
We contacted the OU, who informed us that
those products are produced without any
chametz additives, and are suitable for use by
anyone who may eat kitnios on Pesach. It is
worth verifying this information before each
Pesach to make sure nothing has changed in
the factory.
13. Is turmeric kitnios?
Chewing a Pill
14. My grandmother has a difficult time
swallowing pills. May she chew a pill which is
generally swallowed (and for which we have
no information whether it contains chametz)?
Coated Pills
15. It says on your website that one can take any
pill medication that is swallowed. Does that
include coated pills such as Advil?
Most pills which one swallows are coated with
a glaze, wax or shellac which makes the pills
easier to swallow, and some of these coatings
Page 3
have some form of simple sugar (e.g. sucrose)
mixed in to make it even more pleasant to
swallow the pill. None of these ingredients
pose a Pesach concern. Advil tablets are a
good example of this, as the (inactive)
ingredient panel shows that they contain
carnauba wax, pharmaceutical glaze (i.e.
shellac), and sucrose, and one who swallows
an Advil pill notices that they have a more
pleasant/sweet taste than pills coated with a
non-sweetened coating.
Other pills are coated with sweeteners which
are Pesach sensitive (e.g. sorbitol) or which
contain a flavor; such items would be listed as
one of the inactive ingredients, and we would
not recommend those for Pesach.
16. To prepare for my colonoscopy scheduled for
Chol HaMoed Pesach, my doctor said I should
drink a special solution.
Are those drinks
kosher for Pesach?
It appears that there are two types of solutions
used to flush the patient’s colon, one of which
is polyethylene glycol based (e.g. GoLYTELY)
and the other is sodium phosphate based
(e.g. Fleet Phospho-soda EZ Prep).
ingredients2 used in the unflavored versions of
both of these solutions do not pose any
Pesach concern and may be consumed on
Pesach. These solutions are also available preflavored or with a “flavor pack” that one adds
to the solution, and these are not
recommended for Pesach.
In recent years, a third option has become
available – sodium phosphate tablets (e.g.
Osmo-Prep, Visicol). As with all other inedible
tablets which are swallowed (as opposed to
chewed), these tables may be used on Pesach
regardless of which ingredients they contain.
If someone is unable to drink the unflavored
solution, and their doctor recommends that
they not use the tablets, they should consult
their Rabbi and doctor as to whether they may
take the flavored solution and/or reschedule
the procedure for before or after Pesach.
Dental Tape
17. Is dental tape the same as dental floss?
Yes, as with dental floss, all dental tape is
acceptable whether it is or isn’t waxed, as
long as it isn’t flavored.
2 Ingredients used include dibasic sodium phosphate, monobasic sodium
phosphate, polyethylene glycol (see Sappirim 10), potassium chloride, sodium
benzoate, sodium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and water.
Page 4
Hand Sanitizer
18. Do alcohol-based hand
Pesach certification?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers such as Purell,
typically contain at least 62% ethyl alcohol,3
which may possibly be chametz. However,
Rav Schwartz checked a sample of hand
sanitizer and said that it is as inedible as other
liquid soaps and may therefore be used on
Pesach regardless of the source of alcohol.4
19. My upcoming due date is Erev Pesach. What
hospitalized/giving birth on Pesach in terms of
kashrus? Is an intravenous (IV) acceptable or
do I need to make arrangements for some
other medication in advance? What about
the possibility of egg matzah instead of regular
matzah? Is a woman in labor or a new mother
allowed to eat it?
You may allow yourself to be given any
intravenous fluid because (a) it is unlikely that
they contain chametz5 and (b) even if it did,
there is halachic rationale to permit any
incapacitated person (even without a
condition as serious as yours) to use it.6
The Ashkenazic custom is that healthy people
do not consume “egg matzah” (i.e. matzah
made with liquids other than water), but
anyone who is incapacitated or sick and
would benefit from eating egg matzos is
permitted to do so (Rema 462:4). Therefore, if
you feel that after you give birth it would be
beneficial or easier for you to eat egg matzos
instead of other Pesach food, you are
permitted to do so.
20. Which laxatives may I use on Pesach?
Any laxative which comes as a pill which one
swallows (as opposed to chewing) is
acceptable, as it is considered inedible.
However, most laxatives are sold as powders
See http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no03/05-0955.htm.
An additional factor to consider is that the alcohol used in the hand
sanitizers is denatured (see the question on “alcohol” in Sappirim 11). For
example, the label of Purell hand sanitizer states that it contains 62% ethyl
alcohol without mentioning that it is denatured, but a company
representative informed me that in fact it is denatured with isopropyl alcohol
(one of the ingredients listed as “inactive”).
5 Some intravenous fluids contain as much as 5% dextrose, which in the United
States is likely kitnios but may be chametz.
6 Rav Schwartz ruled that the use of intravenous fluids is considered ‫שלא כדרך‬
‫( הנאתה‬benefiting from chametz in an atypical manner) which is (a) not
forbidden mid’oraisah and (b) the Rabbinic prohibition against that type of
benefit is waived for people who are sick or otherwise incapacitated (see
Mishnah Berurah 466:1). [It would be forbidden for a Jew to own such a liquid
(Mishnah Berurah ibid.)].
which one mixes with water or another
beverage. These are therefore considered
edible, such that one must have information
as to whether the powder contains chametz
(or non-kosher ingredients).
Here is the
information we collected on some of the
popular laxatives:
Benefiber.......... is made of edible pure
chametz (wheat dextrin) and should not be
used or kept in one’s possession on Pesach.
Citrucel ............. is acceptable in pill form, but
not as a (flavored) powder or as a “soft
Colace.............. in pill form is acceptable.
Correctol .......... although this is sold in pill form,
it isn’t recommended because it is coated
with confectioner’s sugar (which typically
contain kitnios or chametz).
Dulcolax ........... in pill form is acceptable.
Epsom salt ........ is acceptable if it is pure.
Ex-Lax ................ the pill form is acceptable but
the “chocolated” chewable is not.
Fibercon ........... is acceptable in pill form.
Fibersure ........... is not recommended as it is
(edible) inulin powder, which is inherently free
of Pesach concerns but is processed hot on
equipment which may be used for chametz
(or non-kosher).
Fletcher’s .......... is not recommended as the
Konsyl ................ is acceptable as an unflavored
powder or in pill form. Konsyl-D and flavored
Konsyl are not recommended.
Little Tummy’s .. is not recommended as the
Metamucil........ the unflavored powder and
the pills are acceptable, as the former
contains no Pesach-sensitive ingredients10 and
the latter is inedible. The wafers are pure
chametz (wheat flour is the first ingredient)
and should not be used or kept in one’s
7 Citrucel powder contains the following Pesach-sensitive ingredients:
aspartame, maltodextrin, flavor and potassium citrate. The soft chews are
basically candy laced with methylcellulose, and contain numerous
ingredients unsuitable or sensitive for Pesach.
8 The Pesach-sensitive ingredients which we noticed in Fletcher’s are citric
acid and flavor.
9 The Pesach-sensitive ingredients which we noticed in Little Tummy’s are
ascorbic acid, flavor, potassium sorbate, sorbitol, lecithin and sucralose.
10 The unflavored Metamucil contains just psyllium husks and sucrose, both of
which are not Pesach-sensitive.
April 2008
Page 5
possession on Pesach. The flavored powders
are not recommended as they are edible and
contain Pesach-sensitive ingredients.
chametz,15 no single chemical’s taste is
perceived in the final product (i.e. zeh v’zeh
gorem), and the flavor is used in tiny
proportions. Other Rabbis argue based on
halachic and factual grounds which are
beyond the scope of this document. The cRc
follow the latter, stricter approach to this
Mineral oil .........is acceptable if it is pure.
Miralax...............is pure polyethylene glycol
3350, which is acceptable for Pesach use.
Pedia-Lax..........the liquid, chewable and
quick-dissolve strips are not recommended, as
they are edible and contain Pesach-sensitive
ingredients,11 but the enema and suppositories
are acceptable because they are inedible
The Rabbi who certifies Tums as kosher reports
that that he is unable to determine whether
the flavorings used in Tums are acceptable for
Pesach, and therefore the cRc is unable to
recommend them. Others who list certain
Tums products as acceptable for Pesach are
aware of this but accept the lenient approach
outlined above, which rules that flavors of
unknown status do not compromise the
Pesach status of the Tums.
Phillips Milk of Magnesia...............the unflavored
liquid and the magnesium caplets are
acceptable, as the former contains no
Pesach-sensitive ingredients and the latter is
The flavored liquids are not
It is noteworthy that there is corn starch in
every variety of Tums which we looked at,
which means that even according to the
lenient approach the Tums should only be
consumed by those who are Sephardic or ill
and permitted to eat kitnios, but see the note
for more detail on this.16
Senokot .............in pill form is acceptable.
Unifiber ..............is not recommended as it
contains ingredients which are Pesachsensitive.13
21. Why does your 2008 Passover Guide say that
all Tums aren’t acceptable but others list
certain types as acceptable?
Many chewable or liquid items contain
“flavors” to make them more palatable, and
typical flavors contain numerous chemicals
that collectively create the desired flavor. The
complete flavor is so potent that it is effective
at even less than 1% of the mixture. The
reason for the difference in policy is a Rabbinic
difference of opinion as to whether one must
refrain from consuming products which
contain flavors of unknown kosher and Pesach
status.14 Some Rabbis take a lenient position
due to the fact that most of the flavorcontributing chemicals are (kosher and) not
The following are the Pesach-sensitive ingredients we noticed: liquid – citric
acid, flavor, sodium citrate, sorbitol, sucralose, xanthan gum, and xylitol;
chewable – maltodextrin, mannitol, sorbitol, sucralose, and flavor; quickdissolve strips – flavor, sucralose, polydextrose.
12 The unflavored contains just magnesium hydroxide, water and sodium
hypochorite, which don’t present any Pesach concerns. The flavored
varieties had the following Pesach-sensitive ingredients: citric acid, flavor,
sodium citrate, xanthan gum. [The mint flavor was somewhat less of a
concern as the only Pesach-sensitive ingredients it contains are flavor and
13 Unifiber is made of 3 ingredients; cellulose, maltodextrin and xanthan gum.
The first doesn’t pose a Pesach concern, but the latter two do.
14 Flavor companies are notoriously secretive about the ingredients used in
creating their products, and therefore in most cases it is basically impossible
for an outsider to determine whether a particular flavor is kosher and
acceptable for Pesach.
In fact, many of the chemicals used in flavors are kosher and chametz
sensitive, but in many cases that is only due to the concern that they were
produced on non-kosher or chametz keilim. If that were to be the case, it
would be proper that the flavors be certified as kosher, but b’dieved they
would not render the food non-kosher as the flavor comprises less than 1/60 of
the food and absorbed non-kosher or chametz taste is not avidah lit’amah.
As such, the foods are a classic example of ‫( מלח הבלוע מדם‬Shulchan Aruch
105:14). Other components are non-kosher because they are produced from
stam yayin, which is batel b’shishah and b’dieved would not render the foods
non-kosher. Thus, the only items which raise a concern b’dieved are those
made of inherently non-kosher or chametz ingredients, and a good example
of that as relates to Pesach would be flavor chemicals fermented from
chametz-based glucose. As relates to that concern, it is noteworthy that an
overwhelming majority of the glucose used in fermentations is kitnios or
innocuous, and not chametz-based.
16 The strict approach taken in the text regarding the corn starch in Tums
tablets does not follow the letter of the law, for the corn starch in Tums tablets
is batel b’rov (see below) such that it is b’dieved even permitted for healthy
Ashkenazim. Although this is the letter of the law, the text is written based on
the assumption that most healthy consumers would shy away from consuming
a product with a high percentage of kitnios. The fact that the corn starch is
batel b’rov in Tums tablets was established as follows:
We weighed Tums Ultra 1000 tablets and found that on average they
weigh 0.093 ounces or 2.637 grams. [This calculation will be shown in grams
for simplicity]. How much of that is corn starch? We can give a reasonable
guess based on two clues found on the package. Firstly, the ingredients
panel lists the first 5 ingredients (i.e. the ones before “flavors”) in the following
order – sucrose, calcium carbonate, corn starch, talc, and mineral oil.
Secondly, the “Drug Facts” says that there is 1,000 mg (i.e. 1 gram) of calcium
carbonate in each tablet. Since the ingredients are listed in decreasing
weight order, we can therefore assume that there is at least 1 gram of sucrose
in each pill, which leaves just 0.637 grams for the corn starch, talc, mineral oil
and the 6 minor ingredients listed later. To make things simple, we’ll assume
that the talc, mineral oil and other 6 ingredient weigh 0.037 grams, which
means that the corn starch cannot possibly weigh more than 0.6 grams.
If so, the absolute maximum amount of corn starch in one Tums tablet is
0.6 grams, and there are at least 2 grams of non-kitnios ingredients (a gram
each of sucrose and calcium carbonate plus the minor ingredients). Even
taking into consideration the fact that corn starch is 20-25% lighter than
sucrose (their specific gravities are 0.67 and 0.85 respectively) and bitul is
calculated in volume as opposed to weight, there is still almost 3 times as
much non-kitnios as kitnios. As such, the kitnios contained in a Tums tablet is
clearly batel b’rov and permitted by the letter of the law. [Of course, this
calculation assumes there is as much corn starch and as little sucrose as
possible in the tablet, when in truth there is probably more than a gram of
sucrose and less than 0.6 grams of corn starch in each tablet]. It is assumed
that we would have similar results with other varieties of Tums.
Page 6
examples of Rema’s ruling; since there is a
concern that food might be left in these areas,
a dishwasher cannot be kashered for Pesach.
Others hold that Rema’s ruling is limited to
strainers and other items that (a) have smaller
and many more holes and (b) come in direct
contact with Pesach food.
22. I’ve seen other publications which say that all
perfume is acceptable for Pesach, but the
cRc Passover Guide says that one shouldn’t
use ones which contain alcohol.
Who is
Electric Blech
The disagreement regarding perfume is based
primarily on whether denatured ethyl alcohol
is or is not considered inedible. For more on
that issue, see the question on “alcohol” in
Sappirim 11.
25. Every Shabbos, I use an electric blech to keep
my food warm. Can I use the same one on
An electric blech, a.k.a. hot plate or plata,
used year round, likely came in contact with
chametz during the year and cannot
realistically be kashered (as libun gamur is
required). The only way to use it for Pesach
would be to clean it thoroughly, and cover the
top of it with a thick layer of aluminum foil
before putting any pots or food on.
Barbeque Grill
23. Can a barbeque grill be kashered for Pesach?
What if the grates are new?
The grates of a barbeque grill must be
kashered with libun gamur, which is not
recommended for the average consumer. If a
person purchases separate grates for Pesach,
the rest of the grill can be kashered with libun
kal, which can be accomplished relatively
easily, as follows: If the grill comes with a
cover, light the grill with coals or gas, and
allow it to burn on its highest setting (or filled
with a considerable amount of coal) for an
hour. If the grill does not have a cover, follow
the same procedure, but make sure that all
surfaces of the grill are covered with coals. As
with all items being kashered, it is crucial that
the grill be cleaned thoroughly of all food
residue, which is often a particular difficulty in
a barbeque grill. In fact, if the grill has too
many holes, cracks, and crevices where food
may get trapped, one should refrain from
kashering the grill at all.
Glass Stovetop
26. My Rabbi suggested that the proper way to
kasher a glass stovetop would be to:
Clean and leave unused it for 24 hours.
Cover with water while the stovetop is cold
until there is a sheet of water on the glass
Lay a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil over
the entire stove top loosely forming a domelike appearance, and put a crumbled ball of
foil in the middle of the four burners for
Turn all the burners on and wait until you see
the water start bubbling.
Remove the tin foil to prevent potential
cracking of the glass.
What is your opinion of this suggestion which is
very different than your recommendation?
24. The cRc Pesach Guide says that one cannot
kasher any dishwashers for Pesach, but I’ve
seen other publications which allow the
kashering of stainless steel models. Why are
you taking such a strict stance?
The first step in kashering any item is to remove
all residual chametz. With this in mind, Rema
451:18 rules that any utensil which has small
cracks and crevices where food might get
trapped should not be kashered for Pesach
because of the difficulty in getting the utensil
perfectly clean.
Our Guide presents the
position of our Posek, Rav Schwartz who holds
that the racks, silverware holder, and
drain/filter areas of a dishwasher are classic
Unfortunately, we cannot agree to this creative
suggestion because:
It assumes hag’alah is effective on glass,
when in fact at least libun kal is required.
It is not clear that the suggested method will
actually be successful in getting boiling
water on all surfaces, or will just result in
pockets or puddles of boiling water with
other surfaces unaffected.
One way to do this is to apply the water with a spray bottle so their is no
April 2008
One may not kasher if there is a fear that the
process will break the utensil (as the person
will be reticent to continue the kashering until
completion - see Shulchan Aruch 451:1), and
that is plainly the case if one covers this type
of stovetop with foil and turns on the burners.
See the cRc 2008 Passover Guide for Rav
Schwartz’s suggestion for how one should kasher
(part of) a glass stovetop and use it on Pesach.
Kedairah Blech
27. Is it possible to kasher a kedairah blech for
Yes, it can be kashered with hag’alah.18 The
kedairah blech, a.k.a. the “un-blech”, has two
parts, a pan and a cover. The first step is to
clean the pan and the cover thoroughly, and
not use them for 24 hours. The pan should
then be kashered by filling it with water and
bringing that water to a rolling boil. The top19
of the cover (i.e. the side which comes in
contact with the pots) must be submerged
into boiling water. One possible way to do this
would be by placing the cover upside down in
the pan as it is filled with water, which is
brought to a rolling boil (as described above).
Pot Used for Kashering
28. Is it necessary to kasher meat utensils in a
meat pot and dairy utensils in a dairy pot?
No. The only requirements for the kashering
pot are that it be clean and not have been
used for 24 hours. Once those requirements
have been met, you may kasher any dishes in
it regardless of whether they or the pot were
previously used for kosher, non-kosher, dairy,
meat, chametz or Pesach. Some have a
minhag to have a designated “kashering pot”
which is used for nothing else aside from
kashering; families with this custom should
continue to follow it.
Sink Insert
29. My sink is porcelain, so it cannot be kashered,
and therefore for Pesach I will wash dishes etc.
in an “insert” that I put into my sink. Does the
insert have to cover all interior surfaces of the
No, but you should be careful to never put
Pesach food, Pesach dishes, or any hot liquids
into the space between the insert and the sink.
Although people may put dry chametz foods (e.g. challah) directly onto
the kedairah blech, the blech’s pan is filled with water and therefore libun
gamur is not required.
19 This is because the hag’alah water must come in contact with the side of
the utensil which had contact with the chametz (see Shulchan Aruch 451:1-2).
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30. I have an electric urn which I use all year for
heating hot water. Do I have to kasher it
before I use it for Pesach?
Rav Schwartz said that if it is the type of urn
which is not brought to the table, is never used
for anything but heating hot water, and is not
washed with chametz items, it may be used for
Pesach without kashering. If it is small enough
to be brought to the table, is used to heat other
beverages, you ever warm challah or other
food on top of it for Shabbos, or you clean it
with vinegar (to remove calcium buildup) or
with the chametz dishes, then it should not be
used for Pesach without kashering.
Warming Drawer
31. My wife uses our warming drawer every night
to keep the food warm until I come home
from the office, and we’d really like to kasher it
for Pesach. How should I kasher it if it cannot
get hotter than about 200° F?
The simplest way to heat the warming drawer
to the required temperature is to light a few
cans of the type of canned fuel used to heat
chafing dishes (e.g. Sterno cans) in the
warming drawer. Make sure to leave the door
of the warming drawer slightly ajar, so that
there will be enough air to allow for
combustion. 2-3 of the 7-8 ounce sized cans
should be adequate to heat an average sized
warming drawer to libun kal temperatures for
about 2 hours. As with all kashering, before
you begin, the warming drawer must be
thoroughly cleaned and not used for 24 hours.
Water Filter
32. Do we need a new Brita water filter for Pesach
or can we just clean the pitcher and put a
new filter cartridge in?
The pitcher should be cleaned well on the
inside and outside, because it is used all year
round at meals where chametz is served, and
it would be commendable to use a new filter
cartridge for Pesach. [Placing your “chametz”
cartridge in water for Pesach will allow you to
reuse it after Pesach]. There is no need for a
hot kashering of the pitcher.
The Seder
Oat Matzah
33. When eating the oat matzos is there any
difference in regard to how much one must
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eat or is the shiur the same as with wheat
− The bakery is owned by Jews year-round, but
is sold in its entirety to non-Jews for Pesach.
To avoid such sales from being absolute
shams, most hashgachos will only allow this if
special conditions are included in the sale
(e.g. the non-Jew is actually paid the profits
the bakery earns over Pesach).
In theory, the shiur for hand oat matzah is the
same as for hand matzos made of wheat,
whole wheat, spelt or any of the other grains
suitable for matzah. However, it is worth noting
that the shiur of matzah given in the 2008 cRc
Passover Guide is based on Kol Dodi Hagadah,
which assumes the person is using hand matzos
of average thickness. If one were to use matzos
that were noticeably thinner than the average
(e.g. Chareidim brand hand matzos), they
would be required to eat a larger piece of
matzah than the shiur given in our guide, and if
the matzah was noticeably thicker than
average they could eat less.
− The bread was sold to the supermarket
before Pesach, and they froze or otherwise
stored the bread for sale on Pesach.
A 4th possibility is that the bakery is usually
kosher-certified, but is owned by a Jew and
manufactured the bread on Pesach, and the
company agreed to leave the cRc symbol off
of the packaging for the duration of Pesach. In
such cases, the hechsher does not actually
appear on the label, and a Rabbi verifies that
the company complies with its agreement.
After Pesach consumers should be careful to
purchase only those packages which bear the
kosher symbol.
I do not have specific knowledge of how thick
the oat matzos you are using are, but past
experience with whole wheat and spelt matzos
leads me to suspect that your matzos are likely
thicker than average, in which case you can
use the shiur given in the 2008 cRc Passover
Guide (or even eat a bit less). The only way to
know for sure would be for you or someone else
to make a determination of whether your
matzos are thin, average or thick.
Ethanol as Fuel
36. If ethanol may be made from chametz and
one is not allowed to own or benefit from
chametz, does that mean that I shouldn’t use
ethanol to fuel my car on Pesach?
Shabbos & Yom Tov
You may use ethanol to fuel your car on
Pesach because:
Hand Sanitizer
34. May I use hand sanitizer on Shabbos and Yom
− In the United States, the overwhelming
majority of that type of ethanol is produced
from corn, which is kitnios (and one is
permitted to own and benefit from kitnios on
Rav Schwartz said that using a hand sanitizer
such as Purell on Shabbos and Yom Tov is no
different than using liquid soap; Iggeros Moshe
(OC I:113) holds that this is not permissible, but
many Poskim20 hold that it is permitted. Rav
Schwartz accepts this latter approach.
− In the United States, ethanol is rarely used as
a fuel in a pure state. Rather, it is mixed with
15-90% gasoline,21 and the gasoline mixed in
renders the fuel completely inedible ( ‫נפסל‬
‫ )מאכילת כלב‬such that it is permissible to own
and benefit from it on Pesach.
Certified Bread on Pesach
Mechiras Chametz
35. Why do I see fresh-baked bread with a cRc in
the supermarket on Pesach?
37. How can one sell liquor and prescription
medicines to a non-Jew in a mechiras
chametz, if the Illinois law is that the sale of
those items requires a special license?
Chametz owned by a Jew on Pesach is not
kosher and would not be certified as kosher by
the cRc or any other reputable Hechsher.
There are three possible explanations for what
you’re seeing in the supermarket:
The Poskim discuss similar questions regarding
other parts of the mechiras chametz (i.e.
transfer of real estate or stocks), and rule that
− The bakery which manufactures the bread is
owned by non-Jews.
Much of the gasoline sold in the Unites States contains not more than 10%
ethanol (which is what a standard car engine can make use of), and
specially built engines can handle fuels that contain 85% ethanol (known as
E85). Even in other countries where there are engines built to use “pure”
ethanol, other additives are put into the fuel; one would have to investigate
whether those additives render the ethanol inedible.
See Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchaso 14:16. Hand sanitizers and hand soaps
contain fragrances which do impart a pleasant smell to the person’s hand,
but Rav Schwartz said that most Poskim follow Chacham Tzvi 92 who (argues
on Taz 511:8 and) holds this doesn’t pose a concern.
April 2008
the mechirah is valid because they
understand that local governments do not
restrict small private sales of this sort, especially
if they are done for religious purposes.
Salt in a Pesach Project
38. A teacher wanted to know what to do since
she accidentally glued salt with iodine into the
kids’ Haggados (on the karpas page). Should
she tear out the page?
There are a few reasons why there is no need
to worry. Firstly, even if the glue doesn’t render
the salt inedible, this case may qualify as “ ‫יחדו‬
‫”לישיבה‬, a halacha which states that under
specific situations, there is no prohibition to
own chametz which is designated for nonfood use, even if the chametz remains edible.
For more on those halachos, see Shulchan
Aruch 442:9. In addition, the iodine in salt is
not inherently chametz but rather is not used
certification) because it is typically mixed with
starch which may be chametz. The starch is
surely batel b’shishim into the salt, and
therefore we l’chatchilah wouldn’t eat iodized
salt on Pesach without special certification,
but there’s nothing wrong with owning such a
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