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Mar 18, 2007

kosher l'pesah gasoline?

I just received this by email. I have no idea of it is true, though the writing style definitely sounds true. Because I do not know for sure, I will refrain from commenting. Anyway the letter leaves no real need for comments anyway...

>>>> March 1,2007
>>>> Yaniv Ban-Zaken, a local gas station owner, will be selling Kosher
>>>> for Passover gasoline during the holiday this year. The move,
>>>> Ben-Zaken says, has become necessary due to the increased ethanol
>>>> content in gasoline required by the government. The ethanol is
>>>> typically derived from corn, which is a forbidden food for Jews on
>>>> Passover. And, according to Ben-Zaken, underJewish law, it is also
>>>> forbidden to derive any benefit from
>>>> corn.
>>>> "We will be providing a number of services to anyone interested in
>>>> making
>>>> their motor vehicle Kosher for Passover," Ben-Zaken says. Services
> will
>>>> include siphoning off the non-Kosher gasoline and replacing it with
> the
>>>> Kosher gasoline. The entire process will be supervised by Rabbi
> Yitzchok
>>>> Mendelbaum. A special exemption to the EPA rule regarding the plant
>>>> ethanol
>>>> content of gasoline had to be obtained from the government to allow
> for
>>>> the
>>>> use of this gasoline.
>>>> The move has created some controversy among local community leaders.
>>>> Rabbi
>>>> Shalom Silver, of Congregation Ohel Emeth in Teaneck, has
> recommended to
>>>> his congregants that they not buy the gasoline. "Although Jews of
>>>> Ashkenazi
>>>> descent are not permitted to eat corn on Pesach, they are permitted
> to
>>>> derive benefit from corn byproducts, such as gasoline with ethanol
>>>> additives," he said.
>>>> However, Rabbi Mordechai Silver (no relation to Shalom Silver), of
>>>> Yeshivas Torah Ohr in nearby Englewood, disagrees, and maintains
>>>> that while it might
>>>> technically be acceptable to use mass-produced gasoline, those who
> can
>>>> afford to purchase the new alternative should. "In Jewish law, we
> have a
>>>> principle of lifnim mshuras hadin--going above and beyond thebasic
>>>> requirements of the law," he explained in an email. "Thank G-d, many
>>>> people
>>>> in the area can afford to do so in this case."
>>>> Some local Jewish leaders have also complained about the high price
>>>> of
>>>> the
>>>> ethanol-free gas, which Ben-Zaken estimates will be $9.69 per
> gallon,
>>>> but
>>>> Ben-Zaken insists that it is necessary. "The Kosher gas is made in
> small
>>>> quantities and not mass produced, so the costs are high." In fact,
>>>> Ben-Zaken, an immigrant from Israel who is not himself religious,
> claims
>>>> that he will not be making any profit on the sale of the Kosher gas.
>>>> "I'm
>>>> doing this more as a community service. My hope is that people will
> be
>>>> more
>>>> likely to patronize my station the rest of the year."
>>>> Julio Sanchez, one of Ben-Zakens employees, also expressed some
> concern
>>>> over the high price, explaining that it might drive away customers
> and
>>>> reduce his income from tips. Co-worker Naveen Samhari disagreed,
>>>> because,
>>>> as he says, "Orthodox Jews are among the best tippers in the area."
>>>> Ben-Zaken also says he will be contracting with a local car rental
>>>> agency
>>>> to provide customers with a Kosher for Passover car if they would
> prefer
>>>> not to use their own. This will also save the time of having to
> clean
>>>> chametz from the car before Pesach--time that many local two-income
>>>> families do not have. "Jews use different dishes for Passover. They
>>>> ought
>>>> to be able to use a different car, as well." Ben-Zaken says.


  1. That's ridiculous.
    1) _Nobody_ holds that you can't get benefit from kitniyos on Pesach. You can look at them and own them, you just can't eat them.

    2) gasoline is not fit for a dog to eat so you could put bread into the gas and still use it on Pesach.

    It is the type of thing that should be used in places like Monsey where the frummest butcher sold treif.

  2. I am pretty sure it is fake..

  3. In the comments section,
    you have provided some excellent evidence that this is just some lingering "Purim-Torah".

    Some other evidence:
    Neither the Rabbis or synagogues that were quoted - really exist.

    In the American government system -you probably couldn't get a waver like that - and definitely not without arousing tons of publicity during the months leading up to it.
    It would have been all over the media (with an outpouring of criticism, to boot) before any remote possibility of enactment came about.

    So, have a good laugh while you can. It's almost Neesan.

  4. (from same Anon:)

    I forgot to mention:
    In America, a complex set of related costs renders it impossible for a closed-on-Shabbos gas station to even exist.

    So, keep laughing; it's just Purim-Torah.

  5. More shtuth for the holiday season... I hope or we're in more trouble than I thought. Drop by at

  6. Here's a reference to the source:

    BTW, March 1, 2007 was Taanit Esther... so it was definitely Purimshpiel... but certainly within the spirit of the kitniyot madness.

  7. a great post. with all the new humrot we hear abnout this time of the y year, i did not doubt this was true. but then i read:

    "Julio Sanchez, one of Ben-Zakens employees, also expressed some
    > concern
    >>>> over the high price, explaining that it might drive away customers
    > and
    >>>> reduce his income from tips. Co-worker Naveen Samhari disagreed,
    >>>> because,
    >>>> as he says, "Orthodox Jews are among the best tippers in the area.""

    sorry, but now i know this is a joke.


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