So many are wondering: can oatmeal be eaten during Passover? How about beans, rice, and corn?
More than a few people found their way to Pratie Place today wondering whether it's ok to eat oatmeal during Passover. Google points them to this excellent email interchange among some of my daughter's friends.
Since John Friedman, rabbi of Judea Reform congregation, addressed this indirectly in our newsletter this month, I'm including part of his piece below.
If you don't want to read the whole thing, short answer: no, no oatmeal.
On the other hand, popcorn (which I always thought was ok) is now ok.
I also opine that puffed wheat and puffed rice, which as everybody knows touch no water but are, instead, cooked by being "shot from guns," make perfectly acceptable Passover breakfast foods.
First, a little vocabulary:
Chametz: There are two major mitzvot which we are obligated to observe on Passover. One is to eat matzah on the first night. The other is not to eat chametz. Matzah may be made from five types of grain: wheat, barley, rice, oats and spelt. On Passover, they may only be eaten in the form of matzah, which by definition has not leavened. Had it leavened (risen) we would call it chametz and prohibit it during the festival. Nothing else can be chametz.
Kitniyot: These are rice, corn, beans, peas and other pod vegetables which are not chametz (that is, they do not leaven) but were nevertheless prohibited on Passover by Ashkenazic Jewish authorities. There is little basis for this prohibition. Some say these vegetables have the appearance of a grain and therefore should be prohibited... Sephardic tradition permits these vegetables.
As you can see the basis for excluding beans and rice and corn on Passover is pretty flimsy. That is why the Va'ad Halakah, the Jewish legal authorities of the Conservative Movement in Israel, recently decided it is permissible to do away with this "mistaken or foolish custom". (They did not equivocate about their decision!)