Valuable book, questionable source

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This Q&A took the form of a text message exchange

YHA: Hi Rabbi Simon. I was just recommended this book [Cheshbon HaNefesh] but wondering if the author (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Levin of Satanov) is questionable. I’ve found that he was an early haskalah founder. It seems he was also very down on Chassidim and kabbalah.

Rabbi Rashi Simon: True. The author also drew substantially on the writings of Benjamin Franklin (polymath and Founding Father of the USA). But this book was endorsed and popularised by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. I believe one who reads it and takes it to heart will not be led astray. We need not be drawn into pro and con chassidut or kabbalah. There is much that we can learn from all of these sources.

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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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