Passover is this week. I generally do not keep kosher for most of the year, but I do keep somewhat kosher for Passover. By that, I mean that I do not eat wheat, spelt, barley, oats, and rye unless they are served as matzoh. Many people are confused by the term kosher. Quite simply, kosher means is food that is prepared according to Jewish dietary laws. (Kosher is similar to Hallal in Islam; one translation for kosher is “legal”.) Kosher does not mean blessed by a rabbi, foods like bagels and corned beef, or sacred. (I have heard all of these statements in general conversation.) There are many website where you can get more information about kosher food.
Some typical rules regarding kosher food include a prohibition on eating milk with meat and not eating pork (pigs do not have cloven hooves and chew their own cud). I do not typically follow these rules. However, the rules for Passover are slightly different. Passover is meant to commemorate the freedom of the Hebrews from slavery. As they were fleeing from Egypt, there was no time to let bread rise. Matzoh is meant to remind us of this journel from Egypt. It is also known as the bread of affliction. The only ingredients in matzoh are flour and water.
There are many other rules regarding keeping kosher for Passover; I do not necessarily follow them. Rules regarding “kitniyot” seem especially unnecessary. These rules pertain to the eating of grains like corn and rice. Although other grains like quinoa are okay. As I said, some of the rules seem a bit unnecessary. I also do not get rid of all food with leavening.
I keep kosher because I think it is important to remember that to enslave another human being is wrong. Or, as it is written in most haggadahs, “Once we were slaves in Egypt.” (The haggadah is the book that accompanies the seder feast; the seder feast describes meals that begin Passover.) I don’t think it is such a silly thing to commemorate. You can read more about Passover at Wikipedia; Utah Hillel also has a great writeup about Passover.
Some foods I like but don’t eat during Passover:
- Bread (including Nan)
- French Toast
- Foods fried in batter (French fries are okay)