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Kosher cigarettes Available During Israeli Passover

Israel’s observant Jews willing to get a puff during the week of Passover holiday beginning Monday may now indulge a rabbi-approved smoke.

This is the first ever time when cigarettes have got in the list of products rigorously examined to guarantee they conform to Passover rules on which goods are allowed for the holiday – which means they were not interacting with grains or other prohibited items.

kosher cigarettes for Passover

The approval stamp was put by the Beit Yosef, a rabbinic group which checks and certifies products as corresponding with Jewish dietary rules. Several weeks ago, Beit Yosef authorized three locally-made brands of cigarettes for usage during Passover. Yet, the Israeli chief rabbinate objected the approval, stating cigarettes are hazardous and can’t be put into the list to be checked by rabbis.

However, Rabbi Igal Ben Ezra, head supervisor at Beit Yosef, declared the approval was intended for Israeli adult smokers who only purchase products certified as “kosher for Passover” and who could be worried about buying cigarettes which don’t have such mark. It’s mainly for those who are concerned about this matter,” added Ben Ezra.

The traditional holiday of Passover commemorates the Holy Bible’s Exodus story of how Moses led the Israelites’ great escape from the Egyptian slavery to the Holy Land. The story says Israelites were in such a rush they even had no time to raise bread. To celebrate the Exodus, observant Jews eat matzo – the symbol of unleavened bread, and avoid foods which include leavening, like pasta during the holiday week.

Jews, including those who do not religiously observe the Orthodox traditions within the year, spend many days before Passover cleaning their apartments to remove any bit of forbidden foods.

The stringent Passover diet is on top of the all-year kosher regulations that prohibit shellfish and pork as well as combining meat and dairy products, and mandate meat to be ritually slaughtered.

And although only nearly 20 percent of Israeli Jews consider themselves Orthodox, data shows almost all people attend the traditional Passover celebrations and majority of Israeli Jews avoid consuming products that include prohibited grains during the holiday.

Yet, this is the first time when cigarettes have kosher labels for Passover.

Ben Ezra said a local cigarette manufacturer Dubek asked him to help resolve the kosher issue.

After carrying out an inspection of the company’s premises last month, he decided that three cigarettes brands - Noblesse, Golf and Time cigarettes might be considered kosher for smoking during Passover —since the plant made use of ingredients that were not in contact with the forbidden products.

Ben Ezra admitted he is a former smoker, who quit last year, yet he used to puff throughout Passover even despite there were no kosher cigarettes.