Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Four Stages of Kitniot

So this piece, by Pillage Idiot, is pretty amusing. In fact, it's damn near perfect:

Numbers are of great significance in Judaism: three forefathers, three festivals, seven days of creation, seven weeks of the omer, 12 tribes, 120 years that Moshe Rabbeinu lived. You get the idea.

The number for Passover is four. Four questions, four glasses of wine, four sons, four helpings of matzah ball soup your Uncle Harry has consumed (but who's counting?).

On Passover, there are also four stages of kitniot: denial, anger, fear, and humor.

...

Leading up to Passover, we spend a good deal of our time trying to rid our homes of chametz, but somehow, somehow, kitniot always loom large. (Cue scary music.)

The first stage of kitniot is denial. "No! Can't be! This makes life so complicated!" ...

The second stage of kitniot is anger. Rarely expressed in public, this anger derives from the unavoidable fact that prohibiting kitniot is in fact meshugas and there's nothing you can do about it...

The third stage is fear. Why fear? Because no one really understands kitniot. We understand shaatnez (the prohibition of wool and linen in the same garment). We understand parah adumah (the red heifer). But we don't understand kitniot...

The fourth and last stage is humor. Unfortunately, most people do not reach this stage. Psychologists will tell you how hard it is to get beyond the fear of kitniot...


Not only that, he cites a really scary list of things considered to be kitniot –

Anise?
Cumin?
Coriander?
Fennel?
Fenugreek?
Hemp? Gee, now I understand a question someone recently posed elsewhere as to whether or not marijuana had been ruled kosher for passover, like Viagra. I didn't realize the issue was kitniot. That's hysterically funny. Ground down, the seeds form a kind of wheat-like looking substance, which gives you a rise.
Licorice?
Buckwheat? The problem, I gather, with this one is that it simply has wheat in the title, which makes it confusing enough to be added to the list. In fact, I probably always thought it was a kind of wheat.

Sheesh!

Kitniot is even scarier than I realized.

Update:

Apparently anise and something that is either cumin, caraway or fennel appear in mishnah brurah, prohibited because they grow in proximity to wheatfields

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