Can You Drink Coke During Passover?

Answers to your questions about the news.
April 10 2001 2:57 PM

Can You Drink Coke During Passover?

What foods are prohibited during Passover?


Passover, which is being observed this week, is the holiday that celebrates Jewish freedom from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. Because the Jews fled so quickly, they didn't have time to prepare leavened bread. As a memorial to this, according to Exodus 12:17, "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread." But how this is observed is interpreted differently both by the three major branches of Judaism--Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform--and the two major ethnic groups: the Ashkenazim of central and eastern European extraction, and the Sephardim, originally from Spain and Portugal. (Explainer is now wondering why she thought this would be an easy Explainer.)

The Orthodox and Conservative movements both prohibit any foods made from barley, oats, rye, spelt, and wheat. The Reform movement leaves it up to each individual to decide how to observe dietary rules. Ashkenazic Jews are also not supposed to eat corn, legumes, millet, or rice. Sephardic Jews can. Everyone can eat potatoes.

But aren't matzos, the staple food of Passover, made from flour?

Yes. But kosher-for-Passover matzos are made under strictly supervised conditions in which no more than 18 minutes pass between the mixing of the flour and water and the completed baking. In that way, the dough is considered unleavened because it didn't have time to rise.

Your last question seems to imply that not all matzos are acceptable for Passover. Could that be?

Yes. Matzos made during the year are prohibited because they are not made under such careful conditions.

If Jews are not supposed to eat anything that rises, how come they can eat matzo balls, which expand from ping-pong ball size to tennis ball size during cooking? And why are there special Passover cakes that rise when baked?

Because these are made from matzo meal, or ground matzos. The rule is once Passover matzos are baked, they are acceptable, even if they get mixed with other allowed ingredients and rise during rebaking. However, some Hasidic Jews, an Orthodox sect, forbid the eating of these products.

Can observant Jews drink Coke during Passover?



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 18 2014 9:34 AM How to Order Chinese Food First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?