Markets in everything, Kosher gasoline edition

by on March 19, 2007 at 1:04 pm in Religion | Permalink

Yaniv Ban-Zaken, a local gas station owner, will be selling Kosher for Passover gasoline during the holiday this year.  The move, Ben-Zaken says, has become necessary due to the increased ethanol content in gasoline required by the government.  The ethanol is typically derived from corn, which is a forbidden food for Jews on Passover.  And, according to Ben-Zaken [TC: do note that qualification], under Jewish law, it is also forbidden to derive any benefit from corn.

The gas will sell for $9.69 a gallon.  Yes the story sounds funny, but can the Bergen County Jewish Times be wrong?  Here is more, and thanks to Brendan Nyhan for the pointer.

Addendum: This market is only imaginary.

Bruce G Charlton March 19, 2007 at 1:29 pm

wrt the ‘Markets in Everything’ concept – I think the assumption behind this column – that markets are expanding in scope – may be totally wrong. Probably the opposite is true.

The genius systems theorist/ sociologist Niklas Luhmann emphasized that the economic marketplace was getting progressively smaller over time. In the past is use to be possible to buy almost anything: political position, justice, a wife.

Modernity entails economics markets shrinking in their range. The examples Tyler gives are just noise, not a trend.

ZH March 19, 2007 at 1:52 pm

I am an Orthodox Jew and a Rabbinical student (in addtion to being an undergrad econ major) and I can tell you that the laws on Passover forbidding the derivement of benefit from forbidden foods only apply to chometz, that which is actually made from leavened bread and similar products. Kitniot (or kitnios), which is the category that corn is included in, is forbidden only for eating and not the derivement of benefit. Addtionally, the prohibition against the eating of kitniot is only a custom (albeit one that has existed for a thousand years) and not a law, and this custom exists only for Ashkenazic Jews (those from Europe) and not Jews from other parts of the world. In Halacha (Jewish law) one can be much more lenient with regard to customs as opposed to actual laws, even if corn derivatives were included in the custom. On top of all this, most rabbinical authorities hold that the prohibitions regarding the derivement of benefit from forbidden foods does not apply to food derivatives that are in a state where the derivative is neither edible for people nor animals, a category which ethanol and gasoline are definitely included. I do not know, nor have I heard of, either of the Rabbis quoted in the article, but this is a total load of garbage.

c March 19, 2007 at 2:43 pm

but can the Bergen County Jewish Times be wrong?

File under Questions that Answers Themselves.

Emery Johnson March 19, 2007 at 3:24 pm
Avinash Goldfish March 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm

I am no Jew, but I am an economist and Brazilian, and as such, I think it is a shame that this story isn’t true.

If it were, at least we could count on the Jewish people to lobby against the tariffs your government imposes on our amazingly more efficient sugar cane-based ethanol…

BL March 20, 2007 at 12:29 am

i agree wit Emery because there really is no sense to pay that much for gas or anything else and if this were true i would say that we would have to find other ways to get gas…Thank god this is not true though

Shmuel March 20, 2007 at 1:42 pm

15 pounds? We could eat that at one seder.

wkw March 20, 2007 at 11:32 pm

A. Goldfish –

as soon as that line forms, you’ll find me standing in it. and probably nearly everyone else on this site as well.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: