Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Pre-Pesach Weirdness

Every erev Pesach there go around some truly strange reports of what various rabbanim and others have decided can and can't be used for Pesach or that require kashering.

I spoke with a friend this morning so we could say a gutten yom tov leisurely instead of in a rush next week.  She is having a mixed bag of company for the sedorim, including one of her aunts and uncles.  And thereby came the weird tale.

This aunt and uncle are not youngsters and for many years both have had partial and/or full dentures.  They never had any concerns about their dentures pre-Pesach before, but the Rav of the shul they are now davening in told them they are going to have to "kasher" their dentures for Pesach.  He added that having a separate set would really be better, but if they couldn't do that, they would need to super clean the dentures, pour boiling water over them (obviously hagolah wouldn't work) and then leave them unused for 24-hours before Pesach.

Frankly, I thought she was giving me Purim Torah just a little bit late or perhaps this was an April Fools Day joke.  Unfortunately, she was quite serious.  I asked her if this aunt and uncle were really going to do this, as it would mean basically not eating for 24-hours.  She said no, they went to a "higher" authority who said that brushing the teeth well was all that was needed.

I was pretty certain that I had learned that plastic couldn't be kashered for Pesach, so those teeth wouldn't be kasherable if you held that they had to be.  But please, false teeth need to be kashered?!  Let's get real here.  If we are now going to mix kashruth into teeth, there are way more problems than just Pesach.  Would this same rabbi also pasken that people need to have two sets of dentures, one for fleishigs and one for milchigs?  Because if he is worried about the kashruth of dentures for Pesach, shouldn't he first be worried about their being treif? (For that matter, our mouths in total are treif.)

And yes, in other years there have been stories about other dental appliances, such as braces and spacers, which some rabbanim have outright assered for Pesach and which some rabbanim require to be "kashered" for Pesach.

Going to put this one into my mental file, along with others like the rabbi who paskened that raw potatoes in their peels had to be either purchased from a shomer shabbos vendor or had to have a hechsher for Pesach.


Reader said...

Don't you know, you need to take a laxative if you ingest any chometz within 24 hours of the time on Erev Pesach when you can't have chometz anymore. And don't forget to make sure that laxative is on the KP list! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ive actually heard of his one a number of times. There are apparently a number of rabbonim who feel that way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ProfK, for brightening up a miserable morning with an excellent chumra!!
Perhaps its just another reflection of the affluent society, which no longer focusses on the things that really matter, but instead treats peripheral issues as if they are of the same ilk.
Chag kasher v'sameach (with or without teeth!)

Anonymous said...

If you have braces, don't forget to stick your head in the oven for 45 minutes at 350.

Miami Al said...

The saddest thing is that so many people I know buy into all this nonsense, and therefore, won't "Make Pesach." It's a non-trivial number of people I know whose Husbands find every Chumrot in the book, make it impossible, won't help clean/prepare, and the wives insist on going away for Pesach.

The Sedarim are some of the strongest childhood memories that my wife and I have of Judaism, and our children are getting very excited for ours this year. The idea of sitting in a hotel instead of in our home with family and friends seems like a hallow excuse for Pesach.

The holiday is called Chag HaMatzot, the festival of Matzah. The core of the holiday is that you eat Matzah instead of Challah/Bread, and the extreme prep is the removal of all chometz from your home.

This movement towards silliness and extremism has turned it on its head. One of our focuses has been to avoid massive changes, I want my kids to notice that the bread is replaced with Matzah (which by 2 has gotten each one's attention), plus the "oddities" washing without a bracha caused my 3 year old to run around the house screaming how crazy this was one year... :)

Serving a similar Yom Tov meal but without Chometz and Kitniyot is at the core of making Pesach "different," if you swap out all your food, and everything else, they won't experience the key differences, noticing lots of strangeness.

We have rice every Shabbat/Yom Tov meal, swapping that out for Quinoa will draw attention to the lack of Kitniyot, swapping it out for a weird concoction of "Pesadik Foods" pulls the attention from the difference (Chometz/Kitniyot) and into a parallel universe.

Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach!

Anonymous said...

The CRC website says dentures need to be kashered. It seems to be a fairly common opinion