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The medieval Jewish sages placed a ban on eating legumes (kitniyot) on Passover, because they are similar in texture to chametz—even bread can be made out of their flour—so people might assume that if, for example, cornbread can be eaten on Passover, wheat or rye bread can be eaten too. This prohibition includes rice, beans and corn. This injunction was unanimously accepted by Ashkenazic Jews; many Sephardic Jews, however, continue to eat kitniyot on Passover. If you are Sephardic, speak to your rabbi to determine your family and community tradition.

The prohibition is only with regards to consumption of kitniyot; there is no obligation, however, to destroy or sell kitniyot products before Passover.

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Albert May 31, 2016

The rabbis do not want to change. Two orthodox rabbis, one Sephardic and one Ashkenaz, one is permitted to eat kitniyot the other will not, and forbids. Makes sense? One is enjoying the holiday and one is so severely restricted that it is questionable if he or she can enjoy. There is a tendency in our religion that to restrict is to make holy or holier. It becomes an obsession about who is holier or who is kosher enough. Can it be asur in the eyes of Hashem that an ashkenaz can't eat legumes but an Sephard can? Permissible for one and not the other? Makes no sense. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for May 26, 2016

When discussing what is or isn't Kitniyot, it is important to keep in mind tha many of the different opinions about specific foods, stem from the differences of opnion as to what Kitniyot is. For more on that see Why Aren’t Potatoes Kitniyot?

See also this class titled The Legumes Passover Controversy Reply

Anonymous NY April 24, 2016

I read the article linked below on the history of Kitniyot. So convoluted, it gave me a headache. We're supposed to believe that kitniyot is not chometz and has less stringent requirements to meet. Yet, the reasons for banning kitniyot are all over the road. From actual interaction with true chometz, to it being "soft" chometz, to mistranslations of the actual name (!), to its derivatives bearing no resemblance whatsoever to chometz, to erring on the side of strictness rather than leniency (the wrong way to apply the law). Even an uneven application of the custom (Both corn and peanuts did not exist in Europe at the time of the custom). And various rabbis bend over backwards with twisted logic to try and justify it all, simply to maintain the custom. It makes no sense.

Customs do not, and should not carry the same force as Torah law, because customs vary, while Torah law does not. The strictness of the kitniyot ban borders on the obsessive-compulsive. Reply

Denise Israel April 4, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

I agree! Reply

Howard New York, NY April 22, 2016

Clearly this remains problematic. We are left with an apparent contradiction between: one, accepting a minhag because of the respect for the decisors themselves - an important halacha of its own; and the codifications and practices of nearly unanimously everyone would agree are higher authorities, from the Rambam to the Shulchan Aruch.

The result are clear problems like Ashkenazim not eating fresh green beans that could never ever have been mistaken for or mixed up with chametz, and the questionable carryover of customs developed in Galut into what were Sephardi-dominated places like Palestine and Colonial America.

As the authority here is itself so important, it might be best to convene authorities to address the apparent conflicts and show why Caro was wrong in the sixteenth century to dismiss the opposing and nascent Ashkenazi minhag.

Chag Kasher v'sameach, everyone.

Very difficult. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for April 20, 2016

While you may be able to find one or two individual lone dissenters, nowadays traditional ashkenazic Jewery is pretty much unanimous about the ban on kitniyot. Even the sefardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef held that someone of ashkenazic descent cannot eat kitniyot. For an in-depth halachik discussion about Kitniyot see The History, Rationale and Practice of Avoiding Kitniyos on Passover Reply

Yosef April 20, 2016

How did hemp seeds fall into the prohibition? Reply

Ilana Los angeles April 18, 2016

Is it a Chabad friendly nut? Reply

Anonymous NJ April 15, 2016

"This injunction was unanimously accepted by Ashkenazic Jews"

Clearly not true. There is a fair body of literature from the Middle Ages on down to today, with rabbis arguing against banning kitniyot, some even working to get it lifted. Please change this. Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson April 1, 2015

There are differences of opinion as to whether flax seeds are kitniyot or not, so it's best that you ask your local rabbi Reply

vi April 1, 2015

Is flaxseed ok on pesach? Reply

Anonymous March 27, 2015

I think the article is just using Ashkenazim and Sefardim as a generalization, but yes, there are other communities as well. Each person should follow their own customs. AS for the reason behind the custom, I would suggest reading the article linked to in the previous comments. (i.e. the article titled The History, Rationale and Practice of Avoiding Kitniyos on Passover). Reply

Howard NY March 24, 2015

Assuming Ashkenazim are correct to follow strictly the kitniyot minhag as halacha, what possible justification is there for a store not selling sold certified rice and other kitniyot (hechshered, of course) where Sephardim also shop? I have seen this practice in many if not most kosher supermarkets in the busy days before Pesach.

It would not be difficult for shopowners to segregate such items and allow non-Ashkenazim to do all their shopping in one place.

We have a duty to call out and end the practice of not selling kitniyot immediately, as its negative effects far outweigh any perceived benefits. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for March 23, 2015

I would note, that while it is true that Kitniyot can become nullified, that only happens es post facto if they got mixed up unintentionally. If you intentionally mix it with non-kitniyot, even before passover, it does not become nullified. For a more in depth discussion of kitiyot see The History, Rationale and Practice of Avoiding Kitniyos on Passover Reply

Anonymous March 18, 2015

one thing that really bothers me about the kitniyot issue (aside from being inconsistent) is that it brings this false dichotomy between Sepharadi and Ashkenazim. What the jewish community should realize is that you are not either one or the other. That can lead to a false dilemma fallacy (i.e. if you are not Ashkenazi, then you are Sepharadi). what about Ethiopians, Temanim, Romaniote, Persians, Berbers, mountain jews, Bukharians, Italian, and other north African groups. Yes many of these groups follow similar customs to Sephardim, but there are some that are completely different. Furthermore, I think this false minhag should be abolished because it adds more dividers amongst Ashkenazic and non-Ashkenazic communities. Reply

Albert Plainview March 17, 2015

I agree that there is room for leniency as to consumption of Kitniyot, as do many rabbis, here and in Israel. Kitniyot are batel brov. This means that if 51% of the mixture is not kitniyot it is permissible. The kitniyot cannot be recognizable. For example, the bean in a soup is not permissible, but the broth is ok. This applies if mixed before Pesach. This is the Halacha but most Ashkenazim are unaware of this or treat kitniyot as if it were actual hametz. And many rabbis add to the list of prohibited foods by extending the kitniyot list to quinoa, which many kashrut organizations like the ou now permit. What's going on here? Pesach should be a delight and a joyous occasion signifying our freedom. Instead we are focusing on kitniyot which is a rabbinic enactment, a minhag, a custom, not prohibited by the Torah, and not accepted by the Sephardim. I believe when one restricts it does not elevate the joy of the holiday and puts an unnecessary burden of the foods All Jews can enjoy. Reply

Scott Edelman Sayreville March 17, 2015

Let's indeed focus on the many similarities, ..and discuss the differences. Just corn itself makes a huge difference in what Ashkenazim and Sephardim. can consume on Pesach. Since these are rabbinic laws we should be able to be lenient. But we are very strict about it. It goes against being one people with one Law. Reply

Anonymous jerusalem February 26, 2015

Any idea about TEFF,anyone? Reply

Shaul Wolf February 25, 2015

Chia seeds themselves are not kitniyot. They may require further checking, however, to ensure that no other seeds were mixed in together with them. Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem February 24, 2015

Are Chia seeds kitniyot? Reply