Was reading halakhic discourse given here that said the following:

In later generations, the Ashkenazi Poskim discuss whether other foods, such as coffee beans, peanuts and quinoa, would also be considered “Kitniyot.” Rav Shlomo Amar and Rav Moshe Feinstein rule that any food that wasn’t known in the Western world at the time of the original institution of the Gezera was not included in the custom.

However, corn is a new world crop, and when the Gezera was instituted no one would have even known corn existed. So if the halakhic justification that allows Ashkenazim to use coffee beans and cocoa beans (chocolate) during Pesach is that new world foods don't count as "kitniyot", then why is corn forbidden?

  • 4
    It's usually not worth reading what Sefardim have to say about how Ashkenazim should keep their tradition of Kitniyot, and this is no exception.
    – Double AA
    Apr 26, 2016 at 18:36
  • 1
    @NoachmiFrankfurt And Rav Feinstein?
    – Aaron
    Apr 26, 2016 at 18:44
  • 1
    possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56551/759
    – Double AA
    Apr 26, 2016 at 19:28
  • 1
    @DoubleAA It is close. But in the end the OP is asking for a source that forbids corn, i'm asking why is it forbidden when other similar kitniyot that are not.
    – Aaron
    Apr 26, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    @Aaron what's the difference?
    – Daniel
    Apr 26, 2016 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


According to Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin (chabad.org): The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orech Chaim 453:3-4) applies the prohibition of kitniyot to any legume-like foods which look similar to dishes made from grain when cooked. Also, certain foods, such as mustard seeds, are prohibited because they grow in pods similar to legumes; and cumin is prohibited because its seeds are similar to grain. So corn would be considered kitniyot because it grows in a similar fashion to the traditional grains and legumes and can be made into flour and bread.


Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote (Iggrot Moshe, Orech Chaim 3:63) that the custom not to eat kitniyot on Passover was not created by a group of rabbis issuing a formal ban; rather different communities developed the custom of refraining from certain foods on Passover because they could be mistaken for chametz or they were grown or processed in proximity to flour. These customs eventually became accepted among Ashkenazic Jews, and once a custom has become widely accepted, it has the force of Jewish law.

thefreedictionary.com has this to say about the word corn:

Originally, the English word corn meant any rounded grain or seed whatsoever. In particular, it was used to refer to the kind of grain most often grown in a certain region. Thus in England, a cornfield is usually a field of wheat. The pretty blue cornflower is a Eurasian weed that originally plagued fields of wheat, not maize. In Scotland, on the other hand, corn can mean "oats," the grain that thrives best in Scotland's cool and damp climate. To modern North Americans, however, corn means maize.

According to Yehuda Shurpin (chabad.org), it appears that the popularity of corn to the extent that it was named as the grain in North America – was sufficient cause for the custom of kitniyot to be extended to this previously unknown "grain". A custom which has now become widely accepted.

  • 1
    Why was this answer downvoted? Constructive criticism would allow me to correct whatever it is about the answer that is not found pleasing.
    – Baruch
    Apr 27, 2016 at 21:32
  • I wasn't the downvoter so I can only guess, but perhaps s/he felt that there needs to be a stronger case presented to prove that kitnios were abstained from based on names and word associations.
    – user6591
    Apr 27, 2016 at 22:23
  • I'm fairly certain that in Scotland, "corn" refers to maize too and not oats. I'm saying that as someone who lives in the North of England. To the best of my knowledge, the whole of the UK normally refers to maize as "corn". Apr 28, 2016 at 14:57
  • @wizzardmr42 english.stackexchange.com/q/96522/73878
    – Baruch
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:00
  • @Baruch I'm not convinced that answer is up to date. I have never heard anyone refer to any other grain with the word "corn" in the UK and I have lived here my whole life (33 years). It may have been true in the 19th century and some dictionaries still seem to reflect that, but in practical terms these days "corn" in the UK means maize. Apr 30, 2016 at 22:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .