Eatting Out on Pesach
Question: I have some very close friends who I would like to invite for a holiday meal. I have the feeling, however, that they are very reluctant to eat in our home on Pesach despite the fact that we keep an extremely kosher home and they would have no qualms about eating by us any other time of the year. How should I relate to this situation?
Answer: There are different customs in different communities and one must respect them. Customs vary most when it comes to Pesach. Ashkenazic Jews avoid eating rice, beans and anything else which comes under the classification of kitniyot, while Sephardic Jews use them. Some families eat only hand-baked matzot while others use machine-baked ones as well. In some communities matzot or matza meal soaked in a liquid (shruya in Hebrew and gebroktz in Yiddish) are avoided, while in others matza-ball kneidlich form a popular Pesach dish.
Because of these varying customs and the different standards families may have in their adherence to the strict laws of Pesach, there are communities that have adopted the practice of not eating outside of the home on Pesach. You should therefore not view the reluctance of your friend to accept your invitation as a put-down of your kashrut observance, but rather as his loyal adherence to his community’s customs. At the same time you must not look askance at those Jews who do eat in the homes of others or spend their Pesach in a hotel with reliable kashrut supervision.
Have a Happy and Kosher Pesach!