The Shmooze

A New Passover Tradition: Desalinated Water

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

His status in haredi circles is legendary, and for years his kashrut seal has appeared on every kind grocery item. Now, you can get tap water with the seal of Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau, the chief rabbi of Bnei Brak.

Though during the year a tiny amount of something non-kosher doesn’t render otherwise kosher food off-limits, on Passover, a principle of assur b’mashehu applies. This means that, strictly speaking, even a small spec of bread renders a huge pot of Passover food hametz.

The question that has bothered some Israeli Orthodox rabbis for years is: Given that much of Israel’s water supply comes from the Sea of Galilee, if a picnicker dropped a sandwich in the lake, wouldn’t that make all of Israel’s drinking water hametz?

To be on the safe side, some Orthodox families fill up huge tanks with water before Passover (the strict rules don’t apply to water that you owned before the festival). This year, the Bnei Brak municipality arranged with Mekorot, the company that pipes Israel’s water, to only receive desalinated sea-water.

And just to make sure that the desalination operation is hametz-free, Landau went to visit ahead of the festival. His aides said they were impressed that the water is pumped from the depths of the Mediterranean — presumably thought to be a hametz-free area. If anyone is reading this from a cruise ship on the Med and recalls dropping a sandwich overboard, please wait until after Passover to post a comment.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Passover, bnei brak, desalinated, moshe yehuda leib landau, rabbi, water

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.