All summaries below are done to the best of my abilities and are for the purpose of informing and not paskening. In all cases, a posek should be consulted.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kitniyot - Liquid Derivatives - Marcheshet #3

In this long teshuva, Rav Henoch Agus delves into the issue of whether or not oils made from kitniyot are permitted on Pesach. He begins by trying to identify a certain seed that had come before him, and he concludes that it is certainly a specie that falls under the rubric of kitniyot and thus may not be eaten on Pesach (I am skipping over a very well-informed tour through Seder Zeraim). His conclusion on that point is that all seeds are considered to be mini de-midgan, which roughly means that they are harvested like grain, and thus are considered kitniyot. He then moves to discuss whether one can make oil from kitniyot for eating purposes. There is no question that since kitniyot are only assur b'achila that one could use such oil for other purposes, such as lighting them. However, is it possible that such oils could even be eaten? Rav Agus works out several reasons why the answer should be yes, assuming that certain conditions are met. His first move is a simple act of logic. He writes that if one had a grain before Pesach and then ground it up into flour and made sure that the non-chametz portion was at least 60 times as much as any potential chametz, then it would be considered lach b'lach (a liquid mixed into a liquid - flour is considered a liquid in this case) and would be permitted even once Pesach began. How much more so should the same be the case with oils of kitniyot, which are both actual liquid and are not even chametz! For Rav Agus, this would satisfy the first reason why kitniyot are permitted, namely the fear of getting them mixed up with chametz. With regard to the concern of getting ktniyot confused with chametz, Rav Agus writes that they should be no stricter than actual grain, and if those can be used as long as which are careful to prevent them from becoming chametz, then certainly kitniyot can be used as well if we are this careful. As a way to provide some more cover, Rav Agus suggests scalding the kitniyot in steaming hot water, which would prevent them from being able to ferment. Even if one were to be worried that a person would think that this could work with potential chametz as well, Rav Agus says that since we are taking some many precautions, a person will remember that he is dealing with kitniyot and will not make the confusion with actual chametz. In the second part of this teshuva, Rav Agus deals with the issue that oils from various seeds could be considered to be zei'ah b'alma, mere "sweat", which according to Pesachim 24b is not assur d'oraita for Orlah purposes, and thus certainly should not be forbidden for kitniyot purposes, given that kitniyot is a minhag. He engages in a length discussion on this point, and discusses as well the issue of using derivatives from foods that one has forbidden to himself via a neder (oath). At the end, he concludes that it should be possible to use liquid derivatives of kitniyot, so long as one has taken all necessary precautions. [Editors note - To the best of my knowledge, we do not normatively permit such liquid derivatives of kitniyot, although this does provide some room for leniency in difficult situations. As always, a competent posek should be consulted.]

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