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Pesach: Lecithin and rapeseed on Pesach


In recent years, my family has begun to avoid eating lecithin and rapeseed products on Pesach. I'm not sure what the source of this custom is. I would like to know if these are considered legumes (kitniyut) and on what basis should one not eat them on Pesach.


Rabbi Yaakov Ariel

 There is lecithin produced from rapeseed especially for Pesach. Rapeseed is a bulb that looks like a small turnip, which is used for forage. Rapeseed itself is not a legume and is used for animal feed; the oil produced from rapeseed is a byproduct. Its waste is used in the chocolate industry. Since rapeseed, as is, is not worthy for human consumption; and since the oil-extraction process is performed through dry compression; and since in its ratio to chocolate it is nullified in a majority; and there is no intention at the outset of creating a situation in which a prohibition is nullified, it is permitted for consumption even for those who avoid eating legumes (kitniyut). Whoever wants to be stringent about the matter, may do so.

For a lengthy discussion of the matter, see the responsum on the topic in Ohala Shel Torah II §67.