Over 30 years ago, STAR-K Kosher Certification recognized a deep community need for a hotline. Today, the STAR-K Kosher Hotline answers close to 100,000 questions, annually, from consumers calling in from around the world. It is comprised of a team of seven highly-trained receptionists who answer the questions from a written script. All answers are pre-approved by one of the STAR-K Rabbonim, who are available to elaborate on certain questions. As the phones continue to ring off the hook since Shushan Purim, the hotline has received close to 6000 questions, in addition to the many hundreds we received via email and our app. These are the top ten questions that have been asked.
If my oven is self-clean, do I just turn it on to kasher it?
It’s not enough since the door and opposing face of the oven don’t usually get hot enough to clean. First clean those areas, then turn on the self-clean for the manufacturers recommended amount of time and it will be kashered.
My prescription medicine is not listed in the guide. Should I not take it over Pesach?
As the STAR-K 2017 Passover Directory clearly states, prescription medicines, under most circumstances, MUST be taken unless permission is granted from the prescribing physician AND your rav to abstain over Pesach. See page 111 in the directory for more details.
What toothpaste may I use?
There are many but here is one that is easy-All Colgate is acceptable.
The label says Gluten-Free. Why isn’t it Kosher L’Pesach?
Well, for starters, oats can be gluten-free and is most certainly chometz! Also, products can be converted in a way that makes them gluten-free yet still chometz. In addition, the standards, machinery and processing of gluten-free products may not meet up to the stringent Pesach requirements.
Why do dried fruits need a “P”?
Mostly anything processed needs a Kosher L’Pesach approval. Dried fruits could be dried on machinery used for chometz, and they can have additives that are chometz or kitniyos. For example, dates could be processed with flour.
Does coconut oil need a “P”?
YES! Unless the certifying agency says it doesn’t need a “P”. This is because it is heated when filled and can be made on chometz equipment. STAR-K certified Nature’s Basket and GE Abound unrefined coconut oil are both approved for Pesach without a “P”.
What bracha do you say on macaroons?
Like many halachos, it depends. If the coconut is shredded and still noticeable, the bracha is ha’eitz. If the coconut is ground so you can’t see pieces, it is shehakol. For a full chart on the brochos of foods commonly eaten on Pesach, see here
What nutritional fibers are acceptable for Pesach?
Metamucil Original Course Powder is chometz-free and kitniyos-free. On the other hand, Benefiber is actual chometz. It is made from wheat and is strictly prohibited on Pesach. See our quick pick list here for common acceptable medications.
I can drink wine, but need to limit my sugar intake. What do you recommend?
Take wine that is 8% or higher alcohol content. Mix it 50-50 with water and use this mixture at the seder. Use a 4-fluid oz. becher or glass and for each kos. Drink slightly more than half the cup each time. This means that you will only be drinking slightly more than 1 fluid oz. for each of the four kosos. Your total intake each night will only be between 4 and 5 fluid oz. Someone else should be motzei you with the bracha achronal at the end of the seder. For complete guidelines, see here.
I heard 18-minute matzah can take more than 18 minutes to produce, is that correct?
Yes! See our recent webinar on Pesach products to hear the answer in detail, along with many more discussions. https://www.star-k.org/videos or https://vimeo.com/210950878