Distilleries Selling Their Hametz

Introduction
For the 65th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show, Rabbi Chaim Litvin returns to the show to discuss distilleries selling their chametz for Passover.

Guest Bio

Bourbon Rabbi’s first whiskey released (photo via Bourbon Rabbi)

Rabbi Litvin is a Chabad rabbi based out of Louisville, Kentucky. Rabbi Litvin provides kosher supervision to distilleries in Kentucky, and received the moniker “Bourbon Rabbi” from this Wall Street Journal article. He previously appeared on episode #52 of The Jewish Drinking Show, in which we discussed providing kosher supervision to distilleries in Kentucky.

Rabbi Litvin recently released his first Bourbon under the “Bourbon Rabbi” appellation. If you would like to be notified when Bourbon Rabbi products are released, you can sign up here.

Episode
The episode is available in both podcast and video formats:
Podcast:

Video:

Episode Clip
Here is a clip from the episode:

Related Episode
For those interested in further on the origins of whiskey-selling over Passover, you can check out the 24th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show on “How Whiskey Became the Catalyst for the Selling of Chametz”, featuring Prof. Joshua Kulp.

Proposed Outline
Here is the outline off of which we roughly based our discussion (not that we hewed exactly to it):

RDK: Welcome to the 65th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show! I am your host, Rabbi Drew Kaplan, and I am excited to welcome back second-time guest, Rabbi Chaim Litvin!

RCL: Thank you so much for having me back!

  • RDK: My pleasure. For those less familiar with Rabbi Litvin, he is a Chabad rabbi based out of Louisville, Kentucky. Rabbi Litvin provides kosher supervision to distilleries in Kentucky, and received the moniker “Bourbon Rabbi” from this Wall Street Journal article . He previously appeared on episode #52 of The Jewish Drinking Show, in which we discussed providing kosher supervision to distilleries in Kentucky.
  • RDK: I am very excited to take a deeper dive into one of the topics we discussed: distilleries selling their חמץ – since some distilleries in Kentucky are owned by Jews, a significant issue that arises is that of Jew-owned distilleries possessing חמץ.
  • RDK: Rabbi Litvin, how many distilleries are Jewishly-owned these days in Kentucky? How widespread is this an issue?
  • RCL answers
  • RDK: One of the most fascinating aspects when it comes to חמץ on Passover is that, around the turn of the 17th century, Rabbi Yoel Sirkis permitted Jews to sell their whiskey for Passover, since it was so financially significant, which then led to other foods and beverages to be sold for Passover, as is commonly done nowadays. For those interested in further on this topic, you can check out the 24th episode of The Jewish Drinking Show on How Whiskey Became the Catalyst for the Selling of Chametz, featuring Prof. Joshua Kulp.
  • RDK: Fortunately, Rabbi Litvin, due to the aforementioned selling mechanism, how many Jewishly-owned distilleries in Kentucky sell their חמץ? Also, do you have a list of Kentucky distilleries that are Jewishly-owned that sell their חמץ for Passover?
  • RCL answers
  • RDK: Was it your father who approached Jewishly-owned distilleries in Kentucky to sell their חמץ for Passover? How did that transpire?
  • RCL answers
  • RDK: How does it work now? What is your involvement in facilitating the selling of חמץ for these distilleries?
  • RCL answers
  • RDK: I just want to take a moment to give you a sneak peak at the next episode of the show, which will be publishing on April 13th, featuring Rabbi Dan Margulies on “Maimonides on Kiddush & Havdallah for Shabbat” … and now back to our episode with Rabbi Litvin
  • RCL answers
  • RDK: Thank you so much, Rabbi Litvin, for this informative and insightful conversation. Speaking of Bourbon, you have some interesting Bourbon news of your own, to share, right?
  • RCL: That’s right, I’ve released a label….
  • RDK: That sounds wonderful! L’chaim!
  • RCL: L’chaim!

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