Keeping Kosher for Pesach
I start with the admonition that one should be cautious in choosing foods: the less processed foods the better.
By Rabbi Berel Levy
This year, as you know, Pesach falls on motzaay Shabbos, and this presents special problems. We therefore urge you to read our article on the The Laws of Pesach.
There are several items pertaining to Kosher for Passover products which I would like to bring to the attention of our readers. And I start with the admonition that one should be extremely cautious in choosing his foods: the less processed foods one uses the better. If one uses processed food, special care should be taken in the selection.
Many families use only cottonseed oil for Passover. They buy from a company which advertises that its oil has shmira mish’as k’tisha, supervision from the time or pressing. This implies that the oil has a mashgiach from the time the cottonseed is pressed until its packaging. The company’s claim is not accurate: the representatives of their Rabbinic group—a known Chasidic group—visit an oil refinery in the south. They observe the cleaning and purging of the tank car and watch it being filled—which takes a day or two. The tank car then comes to Brooklyn where the finished product is whipped and filled. There is not supervision of the pressing and refining . . . I do not say, chalila, that there is anything wrong with the kashruth of this oil since it is pure cottonseed oil. But I wish to note that Wesson Oil has a least equal supervision for Pesach.
The same applies to sugar and salt. It is important to ascertain that the thin (table) salt on Pesach does not use dextrose which is a derivative of maize (corn).
While on the subject of maize, let me mention that there are those who do not use, on Passover, corn syrup or lecithin which is derived from soya beans. All products processed for Pesach under the supervision of the (K) do not use these ingredients. Instead of corn syrup we use potato syrup. In Barricini and Caruth candies, for instance, there is no corn syrup or lecithin. However, a number of companies in the United States and Israel use these ingredients, but instead of listing them as “corn syrup” they use the word “glucose” which can mean either corn or potato syrup; instead of “lecithin” they use the word “emulsifier.” This is misleading. We suggest, therefore, that before you take a product into your home you make certain that it does no contain corn syrup or lecithin.
With reference to peanut oil, I wish to reprint the responsum of Hagaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Shlita:
“Concerning peanuts, which were called stashkes in Europe—they have been accepted as being permitted on Pesach and are not considered kitniyos (legumes that are forbidden on Pesach) because all the reasons for the prohibition of kitniyos do not apply to peanuts. Peanuts are not sown in fields (with grain), and even if they were there is no fear that grain would be mixed together with the peanuts; bread is not baked from peanuts; and generally speaking though they are vegetables they have the appearance of nuts rather than kitniyos. And even though I have heard that in some places they were considered kitniyos, peanuts should not be forbidden in places where it is not known for certain what the custom had been in their city, because, with reference to kitniyos, when in doubt one should be lenient.
Therefore you may give certification for peanuts and the oil derived from them, and they will be permissible to the majority of persons. Those who know for certain that the custom of their city was not to eat peanuts on Passover should not eat them; others are permitted to eat them.”
PESACH IN PUERTO RICO
For the pleasure and nachas ruach of those who wish to have a real oneg Yom Tov, the O.K. Laboratories is helping to make available this year a true Kosher-for-Pesach paradise in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We are certifying as Kosher—for Pesach only—the luxurious Helio Isla Hotel and the palatial El Conquistador and recommend them as a second-to-none vacation spot for your family and friends. Both hotels are known the world over for their sumptuousness, scenic beauty and unmatched facilities; they are now offering a glatt kosher Passover in 1974 under strictest O.K. Laboratory supervision.
I wish to inform our readers that we are offering our supervision after having gone down personally to Puerto Rico to make a thorough preliminary check of the premises and facilities, to make certain that all kitchen equipment and utensils which will be used could be properly kosherized, and to ascertain what would have to be replaced.
Both the Helio Isla—formerly the San Jeronimo Hilton—and El Conquistador have two separate kitchens and two dishwashers. One kitchen will be dairy, the other meat. Seventy-two hours prior to our use of the kitchens, we have stipulated, the koshering-for-Passover process will begin. I will personally be present at the koshering, and there will be two full-time mashgichim in the hotels throughout Yom Tov. All dishes will be new. Meat will be glatt, from a Chasidic shechita; matzos and matzah flour will be from Rabbi Breuer’s hashgacha; cakes will come from Schick’s Bakery which will use only the ingredients we endorse.
We do not want to sound like a travelogue, but we feel that there are few facilities anywhere which can match the beauty and grandeur of El Conquistador and of the Helio Isla, their relaxing atmosphere their recreational facilities for adults and youngsters, and the excellence of their cuisine. Add to these the highest standards of O.K. Kashruth, the homey Seer services and the on-premises synagogues and it all spells a Pesach that your family and friends will not soon forget.
Atlas International Tours, of 580 Fifth avenue, New York 10036, has worked hard to provide the setting for a 10-12 day Yom Tov in the carefree tropical wonderland of flowers, sun and sea, and a joyful kosher Pesach in this Caribbean haven.
But wherever you spend Pesach with your loved ones, we extend a sincere wish to all our readers from myself and the staff of the Jewish Homemaker for a Chag Kasher Vesameach.