Has Google Rendered Rabbis Obsolete?
by Rabbi Aron Moss
You rabbis are obsolete. With the free flow of information on the internet, is there really any need to ask a rabbi questions anymore? Ok maybe for personal issues you need to talk to a human, but when it comes to technical things like what is kosher and what isn't - can't I get all I need to know from Rabbi Google?
Try this. Google "Is Quinoa Kosher for Pesach?"
You will get, among others, the following answers:
Quinoa is kosher for Pesach.
Quinoa is not kosher for Pesach.
Quinoa needs to be certified as kosher for Pesach.
Quinoa does not need to be certified for Pesach.
Quinoa is only suitable for Sephardim for Pesach.
Quinoa is acceptable for Ashkenazim for Pesach.
Quinoa must be checked for foreign grains before use on Pesach.
Quinoa is acceptable for Pesach, but those who are strict refrain from using it.
Quinoa was eaten by the ancient Israelites as a gluten-free option.
Along with the treasure trove of information on the net, there are piles and piles of misinformation. You need an expert to distill fact from falsehood. The crazy thing is, in this particular case, every one of the statements above may be correct. Except perhaps the gluten-free bit. Even contradictory statements may both be true, depending on the circumstances.
So as a disciple of Rabbi Google, do you eat quinoa on Pesach or not?
There is no way to answer that based on your Google search alone. Because there is one aspect of answering questions that no search engine can mimic. The personal touch.
When you ask a rabbi a question, he takes into account not just the question being asked, but also the person asking it. While many questions only have one definitive answer, and that same answer will be given to anyone who asks it, Jewish law recognizes that certain observances are not uniform. A well-versed expert in Jewish law will know when to take note of extenuating circumstances, such as financial difficulty, health problems, level of observance, family custom and family dynamics. Any or all of these factors may influence the answer to a question.
Google has a scary amount of background information on its users. But it still doesn't know us. You will always need a local Rabbi who does.
So is quinoa kosher for Pesach? Ask your rabbi.