Thanks to modern technology, come Pesach, the store shelves are chocked full of a myriad of varieties of Pesach cookies and cakes, even frozen, even dairy, which look, smell, taste, and even have the same textures just like their chometz made counterparts, and even the same names!
Why is this permitted?
It would seem that there are at least three considerations here to be reckoned with:
1) the very spirit of this holiday, which at its essence, is to be completely separated from every possible form of chometz, even if it just looks like chometz.
On one hand, we bake matzohs, on the other we eat these cookies and cakes which completely resemble their actual chometz counterparts.
2) perhaps it should be a logical extension of the laws and customs of kitniyos, which were concerned with foods that could resemble chometz, or the baking of bread.
Here, they totally resemble them, even in texture and even by name!
3) I know that in Eretz Yisroel the Eda HaCharedis requires certain dairy mezonos products to actually be a different shape.
Even so, someone who does not eat dairy products would not be familiar to discern the difference.
I cannot eat dairy, and even though I am a learned extremely charedi Jew, I find myself over the years asking in stores and bakeries about certain items, only to be told that they are in fact dairy, which I totally would not have known otherwise.
So here, if it would not be labeled “Kosher for Pesach,” there would actually be no way to determine if this was a chometz item or not.
Also, observant Jews who are not so knowledgeable, or non observant Jews who simply don’t know, could be extremely confused by this similarity.
- Your concern was written very well, and in theory I agree with you. Looking for all the taavos and ways to wiggle around the spirit of Pesach is incorrect. The idea of eating matzoh, which is “lechem oni” is brought in numerous seforim that it is because matzoh is bread that is missing in taava, because it isn’t as tasty as fresh challah etc. Therefore, this is the spirit of the Yom Tov- to connect with Hashem while reducing our taavah level. However, on a practical halachic level these products are permitted to eat, and we can’t forbid people who want it, from doing so.
- Regarding making takanos on these products in general we are not on the level of making new takanos on Klal Yisroel.
- What the Eida Hachareidis requires regarding diary bread is not something new, but all hashgachos have to abide by this, because it is specifically mentioned in Yora Deah 97-1, that dairy bread that might be eaten with a meaty meal has to be apparent that it is indeed dairy. Regarding other milky products that are not marked, they should be, because even if you won’t eat them with meat, we don’t eat them even after meat.
As far a Passover is concerned, products that look like chametz but are really kosher for Passover are usually marked very clearly that they are “Kosher for Passover” use.