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    Pesach Kashruth Questions

    Can you kasher your BBQ grill?

    It’s very difficult to kasher your BBQ grill. You need to make sure it’s perfectly clean. There can’t be any residue or grease and you can not use it for 24 hours prior to kashering it. Once these prerequisites are done, you have to turn it on so that it reaches 700/800 degrees. Once it reaches that temperature, the grill has been kashered.

    Rabbi Efrem Goldberg recently sent out his public service reminder that “unprocessed raw chicken and meat is automatically kosher for Pesach and just needs to be rinsed well before use. Ground meat must be kosher for Pesach. Buy now before prices go up.” Can you please explain?

    He’s 100% correct and he actually got that information from the OU. Meat is inherently kosher for Pesach. There is nothing nonkosher about a piece of meat or poultry, provided that it is a RAW piece of meat or piece of poultry. The only reason you would need to wash it is in case the butcher you bought it from is not careful during the year about not kosher for Pesach items coming in contact with the meat or poultry in his factory. It’s probably not an issue anyway. If someone uses a piece of meat that didn’t have a kosher for Pesach symbol on it and he didn’t rinse it, you don’t have to worry that the food isn’t kosher for Pesach. But because it’s Pesach, and because it might be near equipment or counters that may have other food on them, it is best to rinse it properly. Ground meat is different. Many times ground meat has other ingredients put into them and we need to know what they are because they may be an issue for Pesach. Any meat that is spiced such as pickled tongue, pickled corned beef, and any type of salami, has many ingredients in them. Those ingredients can have a real issue for Pesach and therefore, should not be used without real supervision for Pesach

    What is the status of baby formula on Pesach?

    Baby formula on Pesach is a very difficult question because almost all formula is kitnios and we Ashkenaz Jews don’t eat kitnios on Pesach. However, referring back to the OU directory, we have a very long and extensive list of formulas that we’ve investigated that are kosher for year round (not Pesach) and only have kitnios ingredients. If, Boruch Hashem, you have an infant in the house and you need formula, you should look at that list. There are a lot of popular formulas like Enfamil, Isomil… that are only kitnios. My personal recommendation is not to use your sink in the kitchen to wash out the bottle or prepare the formula, but rather to use the sink in the bathroom.

    Can you use the horseradish you would use for chrain on your gefilte fish as marror?

    You shouldn’t use that for marror because it has other ingredients. Horseradish is one of the types of marror listed in the gemara that is kosher for the use of mitzvas marror, but it has to be pure horseradish. All of the horseradish you buy in the store has other ingredients in them and is not pure marror. Therefore it should not be used for mitzvas marror at the Seder.

    Is there a problem with putting chrain on your gefilte fish afterwards?

    No, there’s no problem.

    What kind of food can we use on Pesach for our pets?

    Animal food on Pesach is a very big problem! There are two issues; a Pesach issue and an all-year-round issue. The Pesach issue is that many of these pet foods have chometz. Even though you’re not eating it, the halacha is you can’t have any ownership or benefit from chametz. Therefore if you own any pet food for your animal that’s chametz, you have a very serious problem. You have to find a way to come up with pet food that’s kosher. The pet can eat kitnios; they can have corn or soy based food, but you can’t serve them chometz. There’s another issue that people don’t think about and it’s not an issue that’s limited to Pesach. There are many pet foods that are Basar B’Chalav; they contain a mixture of meat and dairy. The halacha is you’re not allowed to benefit from Basar B’Chalav, so you’re not allowed to serve your pet food that is Basar B’Chalav. A number of years ago, we began certifying kosher for Pesach dog food which is both kosher for Pesach and not Basar B’Chalav. It’s not that your pet is not allowed to eat Basar B’Chalav, rather it’s that you’re not allowed to benefit from Basar B’Chalav.

    What issues do we need to be aware of for our Post-Pesach supermarket shopping?

    There are huge issues with this! I was supposed to be speaking about this in many venues this year but I think, unfortunately, all of them have already been cancelled. The issue concerns chometz she’avar alav haPesach, which means we may not use chometz that was owned by a Jew over Pesach. Many of the supermarket chains and many of the distributors of food are Jewish and don’t sell their chametz. Even if they sell their chametz, there are still two issues. One issue is that all of us sell our chametz through our Rabbis, and of course keep the chametz locked away throughout Pesach. If someone goes to his Rabbi, sells his chametz and then opens up his business and sells that chametz, it’s as if it wasn’t sold. That’s the opinion of most Rabbonim, though Rav Moshe Feinstein was lenient with that question. Even according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, that only applies to chametz that the person owned when he went to the Rabbi. So if someone gets chametz deliveries on Yom Tov of that he didn’t sell before Pesach, what is the status of that chametz after Pesach? There are Rabbis that, because of this serious issue, sell the entire company, so now the distributors, supermarkets, or business are not owned by a Jew over Pesach. Following the opinion of Rav Soloveitchik, The OU doesn’t subscribe to that opinion. We don’t consider it a serious sale if the person “sells” his business and then comes and works there like any day of the year. So we at the OU have never accepted that approach, but other supervisions do rely on that. You need to know that if you’re going to rely on that type of sale that the Rabbi who sold it did it in a halachically safe manner.

    May one make kiddush on grape juice all year round and then specifically use it for the Arba Kosos?

    Certainly all year round. The Shulchan Aruch says it’s better to use wine, but it’s less of an issue than on Pesach. On Pesach, there are two reasons we make kiddush; one is like how we make kiddush every Friday night and every Yom Tov. If you use grape juice every Friday night and Yom Tov then Pesach should be no different. The other reason we drink four cups of wine is to show we’re free; we’re kings, we’re princes. Typically the way you show that is with wine. If somebody is able to drink wine, he or she should drink wine. There are many wonderful wines available that have very low alcohol, so even if a person has a problem drinking wine, he or she may be able to drink a low alcohol wine. If you can’t drink that wine, the best thing is to have grape juice called “Must.” Must is pure grape juice; they squeeze the grapes and you drink that beverage. If you would leave that Must out for long enough, it would ferment and turn to wine and therefore, the halacha is quite clear that it could also be used for the Arba Kosos. If that is something that is unavailable to you for whatever reason, most poskim say you can use the grape juice that you buy in the store.

    Is it better to mix wine with grape juice than to not have any wine at all?

    It’s always better to mix the two if you can’t drink pure wine. As much wine as you can put into the grape juice would be great!

    Is it permissible to wear a surgical mask and gloves outdoors on Shabbos in an area where there is no eiruv?

    Shulchan Aruch (OC 301:37) initially writes that one is permitted to wear gloves outside on Shabbos. However, he notes that there are opinions who do not permit wearing gloves unless they are fastened to the sleeve. The Shulchan Aruch concludes that it is best to be stringent. The Mishnah Berurah (301:138) explains the two positions. Those who allow wearing gloves consider gloves to be an article of clothing and as such, wearing gloves is not considered carrying. The stringent view was concerned that one might remove their gloves if they need fine motor control of their fingers. They might then forget that they removed their gloves and continue carrying them outside. The Mishnah Berurah writes that the custom is to be lenient because the prohibition of carrying in most streets (even without an eiruv) is only rabbinic. However, the Mishnah Berurah recommends being stringent. Since surgical gloves do not interfere with the fine-motor use of one’s fingers, there is no reason for a person to remove such gloves while walking in the street. It it is therefore logical to assume that even those who forbid wearing regular gloves would agree that it is permissible to wear surgical gloves in the street on Shabbos. Similarly, Rav Schachter said that a surgical mask can either be considered an article of clothing (since it is placed right against the face), or it can be viewed as a tachshet (an adornment that protects the body). Either way, it may be worn outside on Shabbos even if there is no eiruv. Under the current circumstances, there is no concern that one might remove the mask, forget and continue carrying it in the street.