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Of Passover and Cookie Dough

A rabbi weighs in

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My post yesterday arguing that cookie dough ought to be considered kosher for Passover—in fact, that eating cookie dough, the perfect example of unbaked bread, should be encouraged Seder eating—was not, as commenter Elaine cleverly suggested, an April Fool’s joke. However, it was deliberately provocative, and it wasn’t fully serious (but not fully un-serious, either!).

To clear the air, I called up Rabbi Charles M. Feinberg of Adas Israel, the Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., which is the chosen congregation of both the Israeli Embassy and my family. Rabbi Feinberg confirmed that, indeed, normal cookie dough, even eaten as cookie dough, is not Pesadik. “Because the dough is sitting together, there’s a minimal amount of leavening,” he explained. This would probably apply even if you mixed the flour and water but then ate it—without baking it—in under 18 minutes. “The rabbis defined it in this way,” he added, “that’s part of what Judaism became, part of the old tradition. It’s in the Talmud, and that’s the basis for most of our observance.” Well, phooey.

Earlier: It Oughta Be Kosher!

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Rabbi Neal Loevinger says:

Well, of course I agree with R Feinberg, my esteemed predecessor here in NY, but there’s more to the story. The reason matzah isn’t chametz is also because it’s baked quickly at a very high temperature. Not only that, but some flour used for ordinary baked goods comes from wheat which has been soaked and softened before being ground into flour. Thus, even before your flour becomes cookie dough, it might be chametz, in the grain + water definition.

But you could make cookie dough with matzah meal, since there is a halachic principle that once something is matzah, it’s doesn’t become chametz again. Not everybody holds by that. . .but it’s a start.

Cookie dough made from matzah meal, just like matzah brei or even kneidlich/matzah balls, is considered chometz by many Orthodox Jews because of what is called “gebruchts” (sp?). A simple explanation of this custom is that it is a caution that there might be some unbaked flour in the matzah and wetting it would lead to leavening.


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Of Passover and Cookie Dough

A rabbi weighs in

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