Ask the Rabbi – Hand Sanitizer on Tisha B’Av? (2020 Message from Rabbi Simon)

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A number of people have asked about the permissibility of using hand sanitiser (as recommended by UK public health authorities) on Tisha B’Av this year. Although hand gel of this sort may arguably be an example of either washing or anointing (or both), each of which is normally forbidden on the Fast of Av, nevertheless the use of hand sanitiser is definitely permitted this year. The reason for this is that the purpose in using hand sanitiser is functional (maintaining health in the face of a present [albeit invisible] danger) rather than for pleasure or even comfort. So stay safe and banish those microbes.
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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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