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Quinoa for Passover: Kashrut Debate or Power Struggle?

Star K says quinoa is kosher for Passover. The OU says it is not, and once again the principle of keeping a mitzvah is getting lost in the argument over who is in charge.
Quinoa

Quinoa

The Talmud discusses a case in which one prepares one’s house on the night before Passover and then a weasel is suspected of having brought in a piece of bread from another house, or even into one’s city from another city.

The sages conclude there that it would an endless task to observe such stringency.

Apparently, it is not an endless task for some who wish to be more kosher than kosher and rule that a wind-swept seed of barely falling into a field of quinoa makes it prohibited on Passover.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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15 Responses to “Quinoa for Passover: Kashrut Debate or Power Struggle?”

  1. Alan Friedenberg says:

    Classifying quinoa as "kitniyot" is the ultimate stupidity. Rav Moshe made his psak, and the OU decides it's not good enough? If they can't get this one right, why trust them on anything else?

  2. Barb Adelman Seidman says:

    Since quinoa is in the same family as spinach and beets, which are vegetables, then it's also a vegetables. Vegetables are kosher. End of debate.

  3. Ronne Peltzman Randall says:

    If it's kitniyot, it is kosher for Sephardim anyway. I have never understood how something can be kosher for Pesach for some Jews but not others. Ridiculous, IMHO.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It seems one can follow the O-U rabbis, or one can follow the Star-K rabbis. One should probably do what's done in his/her community and follow the local orthodox rabbi. In any case, we're talking about ONE WEEK, with maybe a few days ahead of it. Is it really a necessity to eat quinoa during that week? I'm sure that the traditional foods that our parents & grandparents prepared didn't include quinoa. Let's quit arguing.

  5. Star K says quinoa is kosher for Passover. The OU says it is not, and many Jews are confused. But what about meat and other animal products? More and more Jews are considering how the production and consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs during Passover violate basic Jewish mandates to take care of our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources,
    and help hungry people. Passover, the festival of freedom, is an ideal time to free ourselves from eating habits that are so harmful to our health and that of the planet.

    For further information about Jewish teachings on vegetarianism, please visit the website of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (www.JewishVeg.com) and please see our acclaimed documentary "A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World" at ASacedDuty.com.

  6. Karen Berger says:

    Normally, I'd agree with that decision. My family suffers from many dietary restrictions due to health issues. I have a gluten-free vegan in my family and quinoa really helps fill the protein gap. If there appeared to be a reasoned response from OU, I might buy the prohibition, but there isn't — and the fact that another reputable Orthodox organization sanctions its use, why continue to question whether or not it's proper.

  7. Alan Friedenberg says:

    That's nice, but it has nothing to do with quinoa.

  8. Yes, Alan, but my point is that some Jews commendably go to very extensive lengths to avoid consuming any chametz, but they are ignoring many very important mitzvot by eating meat and other animal products, and in the process endangering ther health and that of our imperiled planet.

  9. Eight days without quinoa. That's real meseras nefesh.

  10. Alan Friedenberg says:

    I am curious – can you tell me specifically what "very important mitzvot" am I ignoring by "eating meat and other animal products?" (Full disclosure – I am a meat eater; my wife and one child are vegan.)

  11. Andrea Kline says:

    I'm eating quinoa for Pesach and I wish the kitniyot issue would go away. I am all for Rabbi Golinkin's opinion but won't do it yet.

  12. If your Poskim are the OU then you cannot eat, if your Poskim are the Star K then you can eat.
    Different opinions both valid.However the individual should be consistant, rabbi hopping is inconsistant.

  13. Marc Nasdor says:

    Rabbi hopping is the method by which people settle on the rabbi with whom they are most comfortable. Unless they are are still worshipping at the shul they attended as a child, I'd say rabbi hopping is the norm.

  14. Moshe David says:

    pretty hard for something to be kitniyot since it's from the new world. I also disagree with corn being kitniyot on the same basis. *IF* and only if your family has the mesorah can you assume a position in Torah.

    regarding that which was not present at Sinai, Mr. Genack says "ppl might get confused" about what exactly? we might suddenly confuse quinoa with yeast and pork and donkey milk? for all he knows the Inca had contact with aliens and it's a grain from another planet.

    quinoa is not even technically a full-fledged grain, botanically speaking. it's closest to a sunflower seed. one could not make matzah with it, as the primary ingredient, that would be acceptable for the bracha "hamotzi". however, as a secondary ingredient, it would be acceptable.

    the Torah says nothing regarding a ban on kitniyot, only chametz and s'or. the Ashkenazi ban on kitniyot was a takanah added after the fact for the sake of trade in non-Jewish countries. that problem has largely past. it's the 21st century, for G-d's sake.

  15. Moshe David says:

    personally, I am concerned that the OU has become a corrupt American business.

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