Eating Peanuts On Passover

Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman — the greatest Torah scholar of the past couple of centuries — was with the right-wing Agudah. He was not anti-Zionist but he was not Mizrachi (religious Zionist and on the more moderate end of the Orthodox scale).

Five (German?) rabbis who signed a protest letter against Theodore Herzl’s Zionism in the early 20th Century  — three of the rabbis were liberal, two Orthodox, they were known as the Protest Rabbiners — all their descendents live in Israel.

Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman permitted the eating of peanuts on Pesach. A generation ago, many observant Jews ate peanuts on Pesach. Today you won’t find any peanut oil with hashgacha (rabbinic permission) for Pesach. Reb Moshe Feinstein said that if your custom is to eat peanuts on Pesach, eat peanuts on Pesach.

Nowadays almost nobody has the custom of eating peanuts. Why? Because the hashgachas (the rabbinic certifying authorities) refuse to give hashgacha on peanuts for Passover. Why? Because it is in the hashgacha’s self-interest to appeal to as wide an audience of Jews as possible, hence they almost always try to accommodate the extreme elements.

In the late 19th and early 20th Century, there were no Jewish high schools outside of Berlin and Frankfurt. So Jews went to public schools. Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman permitted going to school on Shabbat though you could not write anything down or carry books.

What about gym? Can you do sports on Shabbos? He said it is not the best thing, but if the principal insists, you do gym on Shabbos.

In many of these German public schools, a rabbi would come in for two hours a day or a week and give Jewish instruction.

(From Dr. Shapiro’s second lecture on David Zvi Hoffman for Torah in Motion.)

A lot of American medical schools effectively required that students attend on Shabbos.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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