Holly Leaves as Sechach

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I just was wondering if I’m allowed to use holly leaves as my sechach?

Dear David,
Yes you may, if they are real, not the decorative artificial kind popular in December (!).
Best to use the leaves that are still attached to the branches or tendrils, as the leaves on their own may dry fairly quickly which could have implications for the extent of the shade they provide. So use enough cover to provide reliable shade throughout the seven days of the festival.
Hag same’ah
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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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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