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Old 29 March 2010, 10:04 PM
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Mickey is a gyrl Mickey is a gyrl is offline
 
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Default Kosher for Passover cars?

My MIL's husband relayed a story to my husband today (the first night of Passover) about a rabbi in New York telling his congregation that because most gas nowadays uses up to 10% ethanol (made of corn; corn isn't kosher for Passover), they need to kosher their cars. He directed them where to go, how much it will cost to siphon out the non-kosher for Passover gas and get the kosher for Passover gas (costing a total of $9.something/gallon). The rabbi also said that as an alternative, they could rent a kosher for Passover car, that the rabbi approves of.

Is there any merit to this story?
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  #2  
Old 29 March 2010, 10:14 PM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
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If a rabbi said this, he's being way overcautious. Kosher for Passover applies to food, not anything else. If you take a medication (doctor prescribed or recommended) that has gluten, corn syrup or soy lecithin as an inert ingredient, you may still possess and take it during Passover.

If you have a corn husk doll in your tchotchke cabinet, you don't have to pack it away with the chametz, especially if the tchotchke cabinet has a glass cover.

Corn based ethanol in you gas burns away, so that what comes out the exhaust pipe is not in any sense corn, let alone chametz, but even so, I fail to see how your car exhaust could contaminate your food in any amount large enough to render it treyf. The possibility of airborne flour in the store where you bought your matzah, or coming from your goyim neighbor's house is a bigger threat of contamination.

Whether the ethanol itself could contaminate your food depends on how careless you are when you dispense your gas, but I suppose you could go to the full-serve pump during Pesach.

I think this is either a story made up as a joke that someone took seriously, or else a misunderstanding of something-- like a warning to wash your hands after dispensing gas.
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  #3  
Old 29 March 2010, 10:22 PM
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I think there are two issues getting confused here.

Kosher (Kashrut) has to do with the dietary food laws found in the Old Testament. No pork, no shellfish, no mixing of meat and dairy, etc.
http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm

During Passover, Jews remove all of the leaven (chametz) from their homes as a rememberance of their ancestors who had to flee Egypt on a moment's notice and did not have time to let their bread rise before taking it with them (I am paraphrasing, and probabably badly, so please don't flame me if you're Jewish & can explain it better). Leaven is found in all sorts of things and depending on how strictly one observes it they may only remove the food products containing it or all products (including pet food, cleaning chemicals, etc.) from their home. Also depending on the branch of Judaism and how strictly one observes the holiday, it may or may not include corn (originally it didn't, but because it is also one of the grains used for making bread, some include it).
http://www.jewfaq.org/holidaya.htm
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Old 29 March 2010, 10:24 PM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
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Mickey, besides this thread, the only google hits I get for "Kosher for Passover gas" are an article in the New York Times from 2007-- April 1, 2007. It also was reported in a Jewish humor site, BANGitOUT, in the same year, pretty much lifted directly from the NYT article. Who says the NYT has no sense of humor?
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Old 29 March 2010, 10:54 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Okay, Rivkah, it seemed like silliness to me, but what I don;t get is why gluten, soya and corn are not accpetable for pesach. I get that leavening is not allowed - no time to let flour rise as they boogied out of Egypt and all that (like an early Cagney, Moses told them "Cheese it, the Copts!") - but none of those necessarily imply leavening.
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Old 29 March 2010, 11:07 PM
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Ashkenazic Jews are not allowed to have anything that could potentially be made into flour, and therefore leavened (exception: potatos). All legumes and grains are out. Matzah flour only is allowed.

The Sephardic Jews are not so strict, and they had much less meat in their diet, and while they did not eat soy or rice flours, they ate whole beans, and rice and corn as whole grains, although not things like oatmeal, and things like peas, green bean, peas in the pod, as vegetables.

Since we are vegetarians, although of Ashkenazic background, we formally converted to Sephardism a couple of years ago.*

Actually, I don't really know all of my father's background. It is possible that some of his ancestors were Spanish (Sephardic) Jews who fled the Inquisition, and somehow ended up in England, but I don't know. They either would have been somewhat nomadic for a few generations, or entered England under false pretenses.

*Joke. There is no such sort of conversion. But not living in a separatist community where most people are Ashkenazic, we are free to adapt our rules. The boychik must have his tofu.
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Old 30 March 2010, 07:51 AM
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Am I the only one who read the topic title as "Kosher passing of gas"?
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  #8  
Old 25 May 2010, 01:51 AM
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The majority of Jews in the U.S. are Ashkenazim. Keeping Kosher is basic for those who are Orthodox. Some Conservative Jews do so as well, some don't. I was raised reform and definitely didn't.

I would question whether someone who's observance was strict enough that they'd worry about this would even drive during Passover but I think the bottom line is "don't drink gasoline during Passover."
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Old 25 May 2010, 03:30 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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There is no halachic basis for this, even for Ashkenazim. We are not permitted to eat, own, or derive benefit from edible chometz (leavened of 5 grains). Kitniyot (corn, soy, rice, etc.) we are not permitted to eat, but we are permitted to own and derive benefit from. So we can keep products in our home that is kitniyot- you don't even need to "sell" or dispose of your corn chips, as long as you do not eat them. (Sephardim can do whatever they want with kitniyot, including eat them.)

The Shulchan Aruch specifically mentions burning the oil of kitniyot as fuel on Passover as allowed, so it is not even a stretch to say that ethanol for cars is allowed.

There are a variety of other reasons and discussions about if an why you could use the ethanol in the car even if it was from say wheat, but they are moot, becasue this is false for simpler reasons as mentioned above

ETA: Sorry- I just noticed this thread is 2 months old.
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Old 26 May 2010, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
There is no halachic basis for this, even for Ashkenazim. We are not permitted to eat, own, or derive benefit from edible chometz (leavened of 5 grains). Kitniyot (corn, soy, rice, etc.) we are not permitted to eat, but we are permitted to own and derive benefit from. So we can keep products in our home that is kitniyot- you don't even need to "sell" or dispose of your corn chips, as long as you do not eat them. (Sephardim can do whatever they want with kitniyot, including eat them.)

The Shulchan Aruch specifically mentions burning the oil of kitniyot as fuel on Passover as allowed, so it is not even a stretch to say that ethanol for cars is allowed.

There are a variety of other reasons and discussions about if an why you could use the ethanol in the car even if it was from say wheat, but they are moot, becasue this is false for simpler reasons as mentioned above

ETA: Sorry- I just noticed this thread is 2 months old.
Thanks for reviving it anyway. I missed the point about "deriving benefit," and you are absolutely correct, although I still think that if wheat-based ethanol existed, it would not be forbidden for Passover. Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might make a point about not bringing it into the house-- like if they had attached garages, they might park their cars outside, or something, but I don't even think all of them would even go that far. I know really observant Orthodox Jews, and they do not vacuum their cars for chametz as an extension of their "dwelling-places."
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Old 27 May 2010, 02:32 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Thanks for reviving it anyway. I missed the point about "deriving benefit," and you are absolutely correct, although I still think that if wheat-based ethanol existed, it would not be forbidden for Passover. Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might make a point about not bringing it into the house-- like if they had attached garages, they might park their cars outside, or something, but I don't even think all of them would even go that far. I know really observant Orthodox Jews, and they do not vacuum their cars for chametz as an extension of their "dwelling-places."
I think you are probably correct. Most mainstream Orthodox would probably not think twice about it. Others who did would say that halachically the ethanol in the gasoline is not edible (or drinkable) because of the gasoline, and thus not forbidden, even in the garage. A minority would go through a whole rigamarole of testing the gas-EtOH mixture in a lab to determine if it is two components or one component (not separable easily) and make some bizarre sounding ruling explaining why it was or was not OK. A small minority would forbid it in an attempt to seem more frum than the next guy.


ETA: An interesting point here, that has nothing to do with cars, is that counterintuitively, a more learned and observant person might have less issue with the ethanol than a less learned person who was just trying their best to be observant. The latter might say "Hmm, this is from wheat, I don't think I am supposed to have it in my house," the more learned would say a whole bunch of talmudic terms that involve proportions and processes and basically mean "it's not food anyway, don't worry about it." I have seen many examples of someone who is trying their best observing a restriction that someone more religious says is not necessary.

Last edited by Dr. Dave; 27 May 2010 at 02:40 PM.
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  #12  
Old 28 May 2010, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
ETA: An interesting point here, that has nothing to do with cars, is that counterintuitively, a more learned and observant person might have less issue with the ethanol than a less learned person who was just trying their best to be observant. The latter might say "Hmm, this is from wheat, I don't think I am supposed to have it in my house," the more learned would say a whole bunch of talmudic terms that involve proportions and processes and basically mean "it's not food anyway, don't worry about it." I have seen many examples of someone who is trying their best observing a restriction that someone more religious says is not necessary.
I know exactly what you mean. Someone I know who was converting got all upset when she realized that nearly all capsule medicines are made of gelatin, and lots of pills have (not shected) animal-derived products as binders, or diary-derived binders, and how could you eat the gelatin at all, or the dairy before a meat meal. I told her that medicine doesn't have to be kosher, and doesn't render you milchig or fleichig for a certain amount of time, like dairy or meat food would.

I have also met converts, and people not raised observant who are trying to become observant, who don't realize things like the fact that on a "Shabbat shabbaton," like the first days of Passover or Sukkot, you can move fire from an existing flame, even though you can't strike a match.

Once, I noticed in a very Orthodox house, on Shabbes, that a lamp plug was halfway out of its socket, even though the light was still on. I pointed it out to the householder, and he tightened to plug in the socket, causing a couple of ba'alit t'shuvit to be surprised. I pointed out that aside from the pekuach nefesh aspect of it (HaShem doesn't really want the house to go up in flames, killing half the people in it), no new connection was made; the plug was just tightened so it wouldn't get even looser and arc.
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