Common Pesach Foods and Their Brochos

Food

Brochah Rishonah

Brochah Achronah

Gefilte Fish (with or without matzah meal)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Grape Juice
Hagefen
Al Hagefen
See footnotes #1 and #6

Grape Juice mixed with water or other beverages
See Footnote #2
See Footnote #2

Kneidlach (matzah balls)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Macaroons (from shredded coconut – still nikker3)
Haetz
Borei Nefashos

Macaroons (from ground coconut or paste)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Matzah (wheat, whole wheat, oat, spelt)
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Brei
See Footnote #4
See Footnote #4

Matzah Cereal (from matzah meal)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah, Egg5
Mezonos5
Al Hamichya5

Matzah Kugel/Stuffing
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Lasagna7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Meal Cake
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Meal Rolls8
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Pizza7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Potato Kugel (made from shredded potatoes – still nikker3)
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Potato Kugel (from potatoes ground into pudding-like substance so potatoes are no longer nikker3)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Potato Starch Cake
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa (cooked)
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa Flour Products (e.g. quinoa cake and cookies, quinoa pancakes)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Taigelach (matzah meal cooked in sweet syrup)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Wine
Hagafen
Al Hagefen See footnotes #1 and #6

A brocha acharonah is recited when drinking at least a reviis (3.8 fl. oz.) within a 30 second span. If one drank between 1.0 fl. oz. […]

Bedikas Matzos: Inspecting your Matzos

The production of Kosher for Pesach (KFP) matzos involves a great deal of meticulous work. The process begins with the inspection of wheat kernels to ensure that they have not been adversely affected by moisture in the air or prematurely sprouted. Grinding of the grain must be performed according to the dictates of halachah, which precludes any pre-grind soaking of the grain and requires special preparation of the milling equipment to ensure that no contamination exists from non-Passover flour in the grinders and filters. The KFP flour is then loaded onto trucks, either pneumatically or in bags under controlled conditions, and shipped to the bakeries.

A bakery which has been kashered for Pesach will have already prepared special water (mayim shelanu) to be used for Pesach matzos. Hand matzah bakeries do not use regular municipal water for fear that the chemicals added to the water may affect the leavening qualities of […]

Shaimos Guidelines

The Torah forbids discarding holy objects by throwing them into the trash. Some objects always have kedusha and must be placed in shaimos. Other objects gain kedusha once they are used for a mitzvah and need to be treated with special care.

SHAIMOS
Objects which have innate holiness, kedusha, are shaimos. This means that, when discarded, they must be wrapped in plastic and buried. The following objects are included in this category:
1. A Sefer Torah.
2. Sefer Torah covers.
3. Tefillin, tefillin bags, mezuzos, and mezuzah covers.
4. Siddurim and bentchers.
5. Seforim, whether handwritten, printed, photocopied or downloaded and printed (e.g., chumashim, siddurim, machzorim, seforim, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, etc.).
6. A quote from tanach, chazal, Rishonim or Achronim, that has been printed or written with the intention of explaining Torah, or to teach us how to conduct ourselves according to hashkafos haTorah.
7. Invitations from organizations and individuals that […]

Balsamic Vinegar: Sour Grapes or Sour Sweet Success

Vinegar is one of nature’s most unique and versatile products. Folklore maintains that vinegar was discovered quite by accident, when wine was inadvertently left to sour. This resulted in the first batch of full-bodied wine vinegar. Indeed, the word ‘vinegar’ is derived from the French word vinaigre, which means sour wine. Euphemistically, the Talmud refers to a ne’er-do-well son of a righteous father as a Chometz Ben Yayin, “vinegar son of wine.”
Folklore aside, vinegar was well known in the time of Tanach. The Torah forbids a Nazir to drink wine vinegar or eat other grape and wine products. In Tehillim,1 Dovid Hamelech asked to drink vinegar when he said, “Vlitzmaie Yashkuni Chometz”. In Megilas Rus, Boaz’s workers dipped their bread in vinegar.2
The Hebrew term for vinegar, chometz (pronounced ch-oh-metz), is similar to the word chametz (pronounced ch-aw-maitz), leavened bread products. This etymological similarity underscores the correlation between the […]

Kashrus in the Workplace

The new food trends that have been embraced by society at large have led to a similar preoccupation with food within corporate America. This development has obvious ramifications for the kosher consumer at the office. The following is a guide to dealing with kashrus issues in the workplace.1 While it is impossible to address all the kashrus issues that may arise, this article provides an overview. As with all halacha, when questions arise, one should consult his rav.

1) Eating in a Cafeteria Shared with Co-Workers Who Eat Non-Kosher – Food on a plate, may’iker hadin, may be eaten even when placed on a non-kosher clean table. The Baday Hashulchan2 notes that today, the general custom is to use a napkin (or a placemat or something of a similar nature) when eating on a non-kosher table, even if it is clean.3 Although, in many cases a “heker” is required4 when individuals […]

Insights from the Institute – Fall 2016

Q: Do potato chips need to be bishul Yisroel (cooked by a Jew)?

A: The Shulchan Aruch states that there is a rabbinic obligation that food be cooked through bishul Yisroel if both of the following conditions are met: (i) The food is generally not eaten raw, and (ii) The cooked food is something that would be served at a shulchan melochim – a king’s table.1 Since we are no longer ruled by royalty, we cannot observe what is served at a king’s table. The modern-day equivalent to a king’s meal is an elegant meal, such as that served at a wedding.2  This second condition is met whether the food is served at a shulchan melochim as part of the main course or as the dessert. In either case, if the food is generally not eaten raw it needs to be bishul Yisroel.3

The Aruch Hashulchan proposes that potatoes are peasant food and are not […]

Terumos and Ma’asros

INTRODUCTION
Eretz Yisroel has the unique privilege of being the recipient of the Ribono Shel Olam’s brochos throughout the year. Its agricultural industry continues to grow and flourish. Some consumer products imported from Eretz Yisroel, such as Jaffa oranges and grapefruits, are very well known to the American marketplace while other products including clementines, carrots, red peppers, jams, jellies, tomatoes, olives, and pickled products are not as familiar. Finally, there are a host of industrial products like orange oil, lemon oil and parsley that provide a steady supply of raw materials.

Besides all the general consumer kashrus concerns regarding ingredients, processing and certification, there are additional kashrus requirements that apply to foods grown and produced in Eretz Yisroel. For instance, one must be sure that terumos and ma’asros have been properly separated before consumption. Furthermore, one needs to ensure that the fruits do not come from trees that violate the conditions […]

Candy Take a Shellacking

Someone gives you a choice between two items, seemingly identical. Their only difference is that one is dark and dull, the other is bright and shiny. Which one would you choose? A tarnished penny or a gleaming one? The odds favor the latter. Food stylists and advertisers know this well. Look at any magazine spread and see how the careful lighting adds to the appeal of ordinary foods. There is probably no food item that better epitomizes the concept of a ‘shiny’ food than candy. Think glossy lollipops, satiny Mike and Ikes, gleaming M&M’s . . .

Candy manufacturers value eye appeal and they do get their candy to shine. How do they do it? What do they use to achieve their goal? In the industrial world, it is called shellac and in the candy
community it is known as confectioner’s glaze. What is confectioner’s glaze? Where does it
originate? How is […]

Proper Schach Storage

Stored improperly, schach can become a target and breeding ground for insects. These insects could then drop onto the table and into your food.

When schach is wrapped in plastic or any similar non-breathing material, ambient temperature changes may lead to development of condensate inside the wrapper. This can create a moist environment ideal for breeding insects.

People tend to keep schach mats in their original bags and then store it in areas that are not climate-controlled (e.g., basement storage rooms, garages, sheds). These types of conditions often lead to infestation.

While we do not have statistics to show how often schach is infested, it would seem prudent to prevent schach infestation by not storing it in plastic. If you must wrap it, use paper, or leave the plastic open so it can vent. Under dry conditions – whether temperatures are cool or hot – insects won’t thrive.

If you are concerned your schach […]

Greek Table Olives: Yaft Elokim L’Yefes Vishkon B’SHULCHONEI Shem

If one had to choose a single word to describe an olive, it would be ‘versatile’. Olive oil was used daily to light the Menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh. Our first introduction to olive oil was the Shemen Hamishcha, an infused olive oil with a unique blend of spices used to anoint melachim, kohanim and klei haMikdash. Moreover, the yonah (dove) brought back an olive branch to Noach in the ark, and our baseline halachic measurement for eating something significant is a “k’zayis”, the size of an olive.1 The Gemara in Brochos tells us that if one sees an olive in a dream, it is a sign of peace; if one sees an olive branch, it is a sign of Torah scholarship.
There is an opinion in the Midrash that the fruit of the Eitz Hadaas, Tree of Knowledge, was from an olive tree. Additionally, Asher (one of Yaakov Avinu’s […]

Ten Myths about STAR-K Sabbath Mode Ovens

Myth #1: Every oven that has a Sabbath mode is certified by STAR-K.
Fact: An oven that has a Sabbath mode may or may not be certified by STAR-K. In fact, the same company may manufacture some ovens which have a STAR-K certified Sabbath mode and other ovens with a Sabbath mode which do not have any certification at all. One can verify an oven is STAR-K certified by consulting the oven’s manual, calling us (410-484-4110), or looking at the list on STAR-K’s website (www.star-k.org/appliances).
Reason: STAR-K does not own the copyright to the term “Sabbath mode” and cannot prevent a company from using those words.

Myth #2: A person who does not intend to raise or lower the oven temperature may use any oven on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and there is no reason to use an oven which has a STAR-K Sabbath mode.
Fact: When using an oven on […]

Travel Kosher Part II

Rabbi Zvi Goldberg and Rabbi Dovid Heber, STAR-K Kashrus Administrators discuss the following topics:

    • Early flight out – When should I daven?
    • Stuck on the turnpike & Shabbos is approaching. Help!
    • How close to Shabbos can I fly?
    • Common Tefilas Haderech issues

Travel Kosher Part I

Rabbi Zvi Goldberg and Rabbi Boruch Beyer, STAR-K Kashrus Administrators on the following topics:

• Discussion on the Kosher and Halachic Issues of Travel
• Hotels
• Air Travel
• Practical Travel Tips

Checking Equipment Prices

CHECKING EQUIPMENT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON AMAZON. PLEASE USE THE LINKS BELOW.

Thrip Cloth

Lightbox

Lightbox, Thrip Cloth, Checking Loupe and Chart

Items may be purchased by coming in to the STAR-K office in person and will be shipped through amazon.

Kashering Liver

Published Spring 2016

Before one is permitted to indulge in kosher Jewish delicacies such as chopped liver, liver steaks and onions, or sauteed chicken livers, raw liver must undergo various processes before the liver is deemed fit for kosher use. First, as with all kosher meat, the liver must come from a kosher species of animal or fowl that has been schechted, slaughtered, in the proper manner prescribed by the Torah. If it is an animal liver, all the fat must be meticulously removed. Furthermore, the Torah forbids eating the blood of an animal or bird. Therefore, it is necessary to extract the blood from the kosher slaughtered meat or liver.
How is the blood removed? With meat, this process is commonly known as kashering and is accomplished by soaking the meat in water, salting it, and then rewashing it. With liver, this method of extraction is insufficient. Since liver contains such a large concentration of […]

Insights from the Institute- Spring 2016

Q: When is the brocha of Hatov Vehameitiv recited over wine?

A: Before drinking a cup of wine, one recites the brocha of Borei Pri Hagofen. Under certain circumstances, if a different wine is subsequently drunk one recites an additional blessing – the brocha of Hatov Vehameitiv.1 The brocha gives thanks to Hashem for blessing the person with a richness of wine. The Hebrew text of the brocha is

   2ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם הטוב והמטיב

This brocha is recited only if a number of conditions are met:

If the second wine is of lesser quality than the first wine, Hatov Vehameitiv is not recited.3 There is one exception to this rule. If the first wine is red and the second one is white (but not the other way around), Hatov Vehameitiv is recited even if the second wine is known to be of slightly inferior quality. This is because Chazal consider […]

A Crystal-Clear Halachic Approach to Glass

Published Spring 2016

Glass is one of nature’s most versatile products created from some of nature’s most prevalent raw materials: sand, soda and lime. In the food industry, glass applications are extremely diverse. Glass can be made into delicate drinking glasses, as well as tough heat resistant ceramic cooktops tops withstanding temperatures over 1000°F.
How is glass made? Basically, the raw ingredients are heated and melted in a large furnace. The molten glass is shaped, blown, or pressed into its desired shape. The finished product is then annealed in an annealing oven and tempered to give the newly formed glass strength and durability.
Although glass can be made to be stronger and less porous than steel, the halachic status of glass remains enigmatic. On the one hand, Chazal recognized the fact that glass is tough, resistant and non-porous. On the other hand, glass raw materials are the same as earthenware which is very […]

The Pesach Seder

The following contains halachic guidance concerning some of the common issues that arise when conducting a Pesach Seder.  In particular, it discusses preparation for the Seder, the four cups of wine, and the obligation to eat matzah, marror, korech and Afikoman.  This is by no means comprehensive.  For a more comprehensive guide, see HaSeder HaAruch by Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Weingarten (three volumes, 1431 pages).

The Star-K Pesach Kitchen

As the Yom Tov of Pesach nears, and the diligent balabusta begins to tackle the challenge of preparing the kitchen for Pesach, undoubtedly the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine. Although moving into a separate Pesach home sounds very inviting, such luxuries are often not affordable and definitely not in the Pesach spirit. Among the basic mitzvos of the chag is the mitzvah of “Tashbisu Se’or Mibateichem”, ridding one’s home and possessions of chometz. However, if we are to use kitchen equipment, utensils, or articles that can be found in our kitchen year-round, it may be insufficient to just clean them thoroughly. One is forbidden to use these items unless they have been especially prepared for Pesach. This preparation process is known as kashering.

The Torah instructs us that the proper kashering method used to rid a vessel of chometz is dependent upon the original method […]

STAR-K Kosher Certified Food Options Take Off at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports

Catching a red-eye flight back to JFK after a business meeting in L.A.? Landing in Newark at 5:50 a.m., after a 12-1/2 hour flight from visiting the grandkids in Israel? Leaving for LaGuardia too early to eat breakfast before going on that long-awaited Saint Martin Island vacation? Have no fear, Fresko Green Label is here! Now the estimated 1.5 million kosher travelers who fly domestically and internationally from JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports, annually, can avail themselves of a large variety of kosher prepared food options packaged under the Fresko and Yummy Sandwich labels, under STAR-K Kosher supervision.

No longer do you have to subsist on pretzels and candy that, thankfully, are marked with a reliable kosher symbol! The STAR-K certified Fresko/Yummy Sandwich menu includes items such as: grilled chicken salad, southern honey BBQ chicken wrap, fresh roasted turkey sandwich, Cajun turkey sandwich, grilled chicken shawarma wrap, herb grilled chicken sandwich, tuna […]

STAR-K Meat Team: Humane Standards Accreditation

Published Winter 2016

While the act of shechitah itself is an exquisitely humane form of animal slaughter, the manner in which an animal is handled prior to reaching the shochet should also conform with the Torah’s sensitivity for tza’ar ba’alei chaim (the prohibition against causing unnecessary pain and harm to creatures). Our mission to certify meat products of the highest quality was recently enhanced when two prominent members of our meat team, Rabbi Zvi Holland and Rabbi Tzvi Shaul Goldberg, traveled to Iowa in order to take part in an accredited certification program through PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization). Instructors included world renowned experts in the field of animal welfare such as Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and consultant to the livestock industry. She is considered a leading authority on animal welfare.

Making the Cut: Assuring that Glatt Really Means Kosher

Published Winter 2016

It is written in our Torah, “Ubosor basodeh treifa lo socheilu” (Shmos 22:30), it is forbidden to eat treif meat.  While the expression “treif” (non-kosher) has become the universal connotation for food that is not kosher, in truth, the word treif specifically refers to an animal whose flesh was torn or ripped.  Technically speaking, if a kosher species of animal or fowl was attacked by a predator, the meat of the victim may be deemed treif.  However, the meat of an animal improperly kosher slaughtered is not treifah, it is called a neveila.  Technically, meat of a non-kosher animal species is the meat of a temeiah.  Yet, the term “treif” has found its way through the portals of the slaughterhouse, as well as the aisles of the non-kosher meat section of the supermarkets.  No matter what the name, all of these categories of meat are forbidden to be […]

Kosher Meat in the Marketplace

Published Winter 2016

Keeping kosher does not preclude being a locavore,[1] but it definitely presents substantial challenges, particularly for omnivores. Barely a handful of communities in the world today still host facilities where kosher meat is processed from slaughter to salting, and sold from steak to salami, all within close proximity to a kosher consumer base. Like most items in the modern marketplace, it’s much more common to find beef and poultry products traveling vast distances from slaughterhouse to processor, and from distributor to retailer, before reaching the dinner table.

The Old Way
This very untraditional configuration has uprooted the once prominent communal fixtures of shochet and bodek (one who checks for abnormalities that render meat treifah). It’s also a complete departure from an extreme version of locavorism that was practiced in many pre-war European kehilos, which legislated bans on ‘sh’chutay chutz’, not allowing meat slaughtered in a different city to be […]

Pesach Cosmetics and Personal Care: The Halachos and Lists

Besides pharmaceutical companies, Rabbi Gershon Bess also contacts many cosmetic companies and bases the following chometz-free list on his research.

L’halachah, all non-food items not fit for canine consumption (nifsal mayachilas kelev i.e., something that one would not feed his dog) may be used on Pesach. This includes all cosmetics, soaps, ointments, and creams. Nonetheless, people have acted stringently with regard to these items.

Below are several reasons why people are strict:

Many products, including shaving lotion and perfume, contain denatured alcohol which can be restored to regular alcohol. According to most opinions, one should not use such products on Pesach. The list notes products which do not use chometz-based alcohols.
The Biur Halachah (326:10 B’shaar) writes in the name of the Gra that one should be strict and not use non-kosher soap all year (sicha kishtiya). Although we are not accustomed to this stringency, many individuals have adopted this chumra during Pesach and […]

Dried Fruit: Nature’s Way of Wrinkling Gracefully

Published Fall 2015

It has been called nature’s candy and is a sweet source of nutrition whose popularity is on the rise.  Commensurate with its growing popularity is its demand.  In today’s global economy, the dried fruit trade literally spans the entire globe – apples from China, prunes from Bulgaria, figs from the Middle East, dates from Tunisia, raisins from South America, and of course apples, peaches, plums, raisins, figs, and dates from the good old U.S.A.  Naturally, this growth presents a whole new set of challenges to kashrus agencies.  How do they send a mashgiach to supervise date productions in Pakistan, raisin productions in Iran, or plum productions in Bulgaria?  Let’s learn about this popular healthy snack alternative.

 

The Process

Fruit is dried through a process known as dehydrating, which removes enough moisture from the fruit to retard the growth of bacteria and mold while retaining the great taste and nutrients of […]

Kashering Dishwashers

Stainless steel, plastic or porcelain dishwashers which have plastic pumps, parts and rubber hoses cannot be kashered for Pesach or the rest of the year.

Kashering Countertops

Porcelain Enamel, Corian, Plastic/Formica, Silestone
CANNOT be kashered (for Pesach). Clean and cover for cold food. Cardboard or thick pad for hot food and utensils.

Granite, Marble, or Stainless Steel
Can be kashered by doing eruy roschim (purging through a hot water pour). Make sure that the material is a PURE granite, limestone, etc. Sometimes they are really “composites” which have plastic in them and therefore CANNOT be kashered.

Regarding Star-K certified Sabbath Mode ovens

June 6, 2008
On Friday, 3 Sivan, 5768, Rav Heinemann, Shlita discussed the recent Kol Koreh regarding raising or lowering temperatures on Yom Tov on ovens equipped with the Sabbath Mode feature.