Thursday, April 24, 2008

Checking Rice

Before I start the post, I would just like to say that if for whatever reason this post seems as if I am offending anyone, I am not.

Throughout the year there are many different forms of kitniyos in the house. Whether its rice, or beans we have it, in huge amounts, in many different varieties, and throughout the year, we find interesting other edibles in our kitniyos, which would be considered chometz (bits of barley). So, in HS, out of curiousity I asked one of my Sephardi classmates how they eat things such as rice and beans on pesach. So she told me that like Ashkanazie Jews have a Blumenkrantz, Sephardi Jews have something equivalent to guide them exclusively for kitniyos related goods that may have chometz associations. She assured me the book is not as thick as the Blumenkrantz, but she said that they can judge products based on that book. She told me, specifically for rice (I imagine it being the number one issue concerning the Sephardi community on pesach, after the actual chometz) they buy special "kosher for Passover" rice, which is checked already for them. I happened to have been interested in these things, so I found this idea of another industry exclusively to Sephardim in this wildly Ashkanaz driven community, to be fascinating. The fascination obviously didn't lead to much, afterall I'm Ashkanazie, so its not like I'm going to start concerning myself with which kitniyos is kosher for passover, but the fascination did help me remeber the story.

A few days ago, I don't remember why, I started discussing kitniyos with a family friend, specifically about rice. He was like "well, its not so easy for the Sephardim, they have to check the rice, grain by grain, three times before they're allowed to eat it on Pesach."

Remembering the discussion back in HS I said "umm, I asked one of my friends, and she said they have a book, and they just know which brands to buy, which are already checked."

And so he said "well, yes, but they have to check it three times also."

Admittingly, I know very little about Sephardi customs, but I do know what my friend told me, and I know the power of my own laziness.

1- If the rice is already checked. Why check it again? But ok, its Pesach and chometz IS a big deal, so I understand checking it once, so I'll give into the checking, but then there's

2- Imagine if one had a huuuuuge family, and before pesach they bought like 25 lbs of rice for Pesach, and now was required to spend hours checking it, while still taking care of the needs of kids, household chores and etc. I highly doubt she will find herself in the position to check her rice three times, grain-by-grain, if the package is already pre-checked for her, by some Rabbi that she trusts in a book. I would beleive its a chumra, or something people do if they buy unchecked rice.

If I'm wrong, and this really is the norm...I'm doing 2 things

1) calling up my few Sephardi friends and telling them they're nuts, and that I really respect them.


2) Thank Gd I'm Ashkanazie.


Moshe said...

We have Iranian friends who eat rice for Pesach. If it's pre-checked, you don't have to check again. Ask the guy if he re-checks alei katif and bodek salads, broccoli, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'd still rather have the option to eat rice than to have no choice.

Holy Hyrax said...

This sounds odd. Like Moshe, I not only have Persian friends, but my in-laws are Persians, and I have never known them checking the rice three times.

Child Ish Behavior said...

I think you have only one choice. Become sfardi and find out what its all about.

Moshe said...

The food is definitely better.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

Thank Gd I'm Ashkanazie.

This is the first time I've heard anyone be happy that they can't eat kitniyot on Pesach! As for me, I'd rather not wreck my digestive system, but since I'm Ashkenazi, I'll just live with it.

frumskeptic said...

Moshe: "Ask the guy if he re-checks alei katif and bodek salads, broccoli, etc."

Don't have to ask, unfortunately i know the answer, and they check all packaged-checked veggies, no matter what, including ..katif, bodek and such. infact, the claim is they found a bug in one of the bags from gush katif. Yup, all the way from Israel there was a huge bug. Whats the use in arguing with them? Ohh..and they're not the only ones I know that check either!

punk: As an ashkanazie person its easy to say "option" however, Sephardi people tend to eat lots of foods with rice. Imagine having to check many pounds of rice, 3 times, grain by grain, or having to completely think up a totally different menu than usual. I'd rather think up a completely different menu and give up the rice. Cuz once theres the option of having rice, and ure so used to having it, you'll feel guilty for feeling like too lazy to check the rice, no?

childishbehavior: If only i could snap my fingers and become Sephardi overnight, I'd so do it!

Yehudi: "This is the first time I've heard anyone be happy that they can't eat kitniyot on Pesach!"

Not happy, just would much rather not have the option of kitniyot if it required hours of checking rice, thats all.

and why does it ruin your digestive system?? What changes in your pesach diet other than bread and barely? The only kitniyos I miss is the corn sryup in my snapple and beans in chulent.

if they came up with kosher l'pesach snapple, I'd be VERY happy. I can go a few weeks without real chulent!

Moshe said...

Cholent with beans?! Yuck!
Rice and barley!
Becoming sephardi is very easy, marry someone sephardi and then you can eat rice on Pesach.

frumskeptic said...

When I make chulent, I alternate between rice and barley, but i absolutely always use beans!!

beans are awesome!!! I use like 13 varieties. :)

But I did have chulent once at a teachers house, her husband HATED beans, and so she made chulent with barley. The barley was sooooo big, that i thought I was eating beans. Was some good chulent too!! Anyway, about a week later, we were comparing chulent recipes (like in every normal girl school, the topic comes up atleast 3-4 times per year), and my teacher said she NEVER uses I waslike "OMG, REALLY, what was inthe chulent?" So she told me... I thought about trying it, but our recipe works, and we really like it. So my fam decided not to mess with it. I LOOOOOOOVE chulent!!!

Not that I have anything against Sephardim, I just really don't see myself marrying one.

Moshe said...

You don't want to marry Sephardi?!
No rice for you!
Get out!

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

The Ahkenazim are 10 times more insane; G-d said "don't eat bread on Pesach" and of course they have to come up with 18 million other prohibitions surrounding it. Trust me G-d doesn't care if there's trace vegetable oil in your mouthwash.

It's all this 'kitniot' kind of nonsense that quickly take ones attention away from the actual commandments of G-d, their point, and their meaning, and pin ones mind on a myriad of totally unnecessary Jewish over involvements in minuscule pointless details.

frumskeptic said...

no doubt ashkanazie are crazier. but checking rice 3 times?

What are you checking for already?