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Author Topic: Did I ruin someone's Passover
Darth_Mauve
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Last week my boss wanted to go over some suggestions, so invited me out to lunch for our meeting.

He took me to a local Sai-San restaurant. Its kind of a Japanese meets McDonalds place. As he was preparing to order he suddenly stopped and looked at me.

"I don't think I can eat here." he said. "Its passover, and I'm trying to eat right. All they have is rice and I can't have that. They use flour to make the rice, right?"

I informed him that people rarely use flower to make rice, so he ordered a veggie rice bowl and we got down to work.

I thought myself pretty good at not laughing at the guy who signs my paycheck being unclear that rice is not made from flour. However, I am myself unclear if my OK of his lunch choice led to a Passover appropriate meal.

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LargeTuna
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Strict passover observers don't eat rice. I think it might be a grain or something.

I don't know, I did eat rice this passover, but I have avoided it in previous years. It's one of those unclear rules.

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Lisa
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You didn't ruin anything. Rice isn't made from flour.

The meal wasn't appropriate for Passover, but it wasn't because of that. You did nothing wrong, and he clearly didn't know any better.

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rivka
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The food was not kosher. Whether it was chametz (non-kosher for Passover) is fairly secondary, in many ways. (Not in all. Chametz on Pesach is a stricter no-no than keeping kosher in general.)

That said, avoiding rice has little to do with flour (he got that a bit garbled), and is essentially a question of rabbinic law, not biblical. (Rice is kitniyos.)

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by LargeTuna:
Strict passover observers don't eat rice. I think it might be a grain or something.

I don't know, I did eat rice this passover, but I have avoided it in previous years. It's one of those unclear rules.

There's a custom among people whose familes came from Ashkenazi lands (Germany, France, Russia, Poland) not to eat kitniyot. You can see that as legumes, but then it wouldn't include rice. It's a custom that never should have been imported from Europe to America, and eating kitniyot is not only not a biblical law; it isn't even a rabbinic one. It's just a custom.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
"I don't think I can eat here." he said. "Its passover, and I'm trying to eat right. All they have is rice and I can't have that. They use flour to make the rice, right?"
Huh. Strange, but I had a completely different interpretation of the question. "Is flour used in this recipe which also includes rice?" is how I read it, not, "Is the rice actually compressed flour?"
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
eating kitniyot is not only not a biblical law; it isn't even a rabbinic one. It's just a custom.

That actually depends on who you ask to do the defining.
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Tinros
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Because I'm hopelessly ignorant, why is it that the veggie rice bowl wasn't kosher?
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msquared
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How it was prepared? I think Kosher also involves preperation, not just the food being eaten.

msquared

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Lisa
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I assume they serve pork there, and/or shellfish. It's unlikely that the veggie bowl wasn't cooked in the same utensils as the pork and/or shellfish.

And Rivka, have you actually ever seen anyone claim that it's anything but a medieval minhag? The rabbis in the Talmud actually describe eating rice on Passover.

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Stephan
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Why do they sell not for Passover matzo? I remember my mom always being frustrated with outr local grocery stores putting out not for Passover matzo in the Passover displays.

How are they made differently? Why not just make ok for Passover all year round?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I thought myself pretty good at not laughing at the guy who signs my paycheck being unclear that rice is not made from flour. However, I am myself unclear if my OK of his lunch choice led to a Passover appropriate meal.

Worth laughing over but sadly not terribly surprising to me. Since I am gluten intolerant, I end up asking a lot of restaurant employees what stuff is made from and its absolutely astounding how many people don't know that regular white flour is made from wheat, have no idea what pasta is made from or that rice is a seed. I find it sad that we have become so far removed from the sources of our food that people can be that totally clueless about what they are eating.

As a side note, any Japanese rice dishes is very likely to contain soy sauce, which contains wheat and therefore would not be appropriate for passover.

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Minerva
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There are strict requirements for "kosher for Passover" matzo (things such as baking time). I assume they don't want to deal with those all year long.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
And Rivka, have you actually ever seen anyone claim that it's anything but a medieval minhag?

I think I already said that.


quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
The rabbis in the Talmud actually describe eating rice on Passover.

And eating chicken with dairy. So?
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
soy sauce, which contains wheat

I had no idea. I always thought it was the soy (kitniyos) that was the Pesach issue.

Ok, so that actually does explain why someone thought kosher-for-Passover "soy sauce" was a good idea. They were still wrong, of course. [Wink]

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Tinros
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The Kroger in the town where I live put their "We have all that you need for Passover!" sign in front of the biggest display of bacon I've ever seen. I thought that was just cruel.
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rivka
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More likely clueless.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
The rabbis in the Talmud actually describe eating rice on Passover.

And eating chicken with dairy. So?
There's kind of a difference between something enacted by Chazal and accepted by the entire Jewish people and something that was a local custom in the middle ages. One is a d'Rabbanan halakha and the other is a minhag.
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rivka
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Would you consider the ban on multiple wives a custom or a rabbinic law?
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scifibum
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quote:
I find it sad that we have become so far removed from the sources of our food that people can be that totally clueless about what they are eating.
It's actually pretty great that a lot of us can eat without having to worry about precisely what we're eating or where it came from. It illustrates that poisoning and malnutrition/starvation aren't big concerns for us.

I don't mean that as gloating - I know that you, and many others, do have to worry about it. And I think it's fine and reasonable for the obligations inherent in selling food to the public to include accounting for ingredients, along with things like washing the dishes and keeping vermin out of the kitchen.

I don't think it should be hard for you to find out whether your food has wheat in it, in other words - I just don't think it's sad that we enjoy enough abundance and safety that most of us can get away without worrying about it. (Reliance on packaged, processed food does introduce other problems, but they are not inherent in being distanced from our food - we could address the nutritional issues without necessarily educating everyone on what has wheat in it.)

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Darth_Mauve
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quote:
Would you consider the ban on multiple wives a custom or a rabbinic law?
[Groucho impression on] Well my present wife would certainly think it wasn't kosher. [Groucho impression off]
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Would you consider the ban on multiple wives a custom or a rabbinic law?

Neither. It was a cherem. Not on the level of a rabbinic law, primarily because it was never accepted outside of the Ashkenazi world, but since it was universally accepted among Ashkenazim and was not tied to any locality, which was not the case by kitniyot, it was considered binding -- in most cases. There's no such thing as a heter meah rabbanim for venison parmesan, but there is for polygyny.
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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
I find it sad that we have become so far removed from the sources of our food that people can be that totally clueless about what they are eating.
It's actually pretty great that a lot of us can eat without having to worry about precisely what we're eating or where it came from. It illustrates that poisoning and malnutrition/starvation aren't big concerns for us.

I don't mean that as gloating - I know that you, and many others, do have to worry about it. And I think it's fine and reasonable for the obligations inherent in selling food to the public to include accounting for ingredients, along with things like washing the dishes and keeping vermin out of the kitchen.

I don't think it should be hard for you to find out whether your food has wheat in it, in other words - I just don't think it's sad that we enjoy enough abundance and safety that most of us can get away without worrying about it. (Reliance on packaged, processed food does introduce other problems, but they are not inherent in being distanced from our food - we could address the nutritional issues without necessarily educating everyone on what has wheat in it.)

Agreed. It's like being sad that not everyone knows how a combustion engine works. That we can drive cars, take trains and busses, and get around without learning how to build an engine is FANTASTIC. It allows specialization.

I don't buy into the romance that life is better when everyone lives next to the bone.

[ April 09, 2010, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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The White Whale
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But is it a good thing that, for the example you just used, you've essentially turned your brain off when it comes to thinking about engines?
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katharina
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I disagree with your characterization of what 95% of people do when they travel.

Specialization inherently means focusing some activities, which means excluding others. Because you have not chosen to focus on where area of knowledge precisely because you don't have to, because our society specialization, DOES NOT MEAN that those who specialize have "turned off their brains".

It's opportunity cost. It means you can know about everything, but not at all at once, and choosing to focus on some things means not focusing on others.

Driving while ignoring the laws of the road is bad neglect. Driving while not knowing the intimate details of your car is built is a choice, and assuming you aren't wasting your life watching paint dry, most likely a wise one.

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The White Whale
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I wasn't implying that you need to know the "intimate details" of how your car engine was built, but more of a willingness to learn something new.

What I don't like is when people, and I see this all the time, have lumped some broad topic into the category of "I'll never understand this, so I'm never going to try." Car mechanics, math, science, cooking, history, gardening, law, etc. To understand the gist of most of these things, you don't need to spend a lifetime and become an expert. You just need to not block it out.

Even the smallest attempt to get a better understanding of a portion of these topics brings knowledge. To not even try is to consciously avoid new knowledge.

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dkw
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There is a difference between "I'll never understand this so I'm not going to try" and "Learning this particular thing is not where I choose to put my time and energy right now."
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katharina
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"Something new" could be anything. It's a big, wide world, and when someone would rather spend only 1.5 hour a day on food (eating) rather than 2.5 (eating and learning about the esoteric details of how packaged foods are made), that is their choice.

Privileging one particular area of knowledge over another and saying that this, this area of knowledge is the best, is attaching a moral gloss one's one particular hobby. The world's too big for us to pretend there is a moral obligation to one's one hobby.

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Mucus
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Really? Rice made from flour?
How can someone grow up without knowing rice is a grain? Biology, some grade school courses on the home, even rice resource squares in Civilization, or those big stacks of rice in the supermarket, should have enlightened someone before adulthood.

Like Rakeesh, I'm thinking that there was probably a misinterpretation.

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