Propane Flames Keep the Kitchen Kosher for Passover

Rabbi Naftali Marrus shoots a purifying propane flame around a kitchen in New York, destroying any morsels of leavened bread in preparation for Passover. (image: Wall Street Journal)

During Passover, observant Jews do not eat leavened bread — and some take careful precautions not to consume even the tiniest crumb. So how do the kosher kitchens of New York City make sure they follow the strict dietary code?

With the Inferno, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Inferno is a three-and-a-half foot long propane torch that fires a sanctifying flame at the pots and pans, nooks and crannies of city kitchens. Rabbi Naftali Marrus has been wielding the Inferno in anticipation of Passover, which begins tonight at sundown and continues for the next eight days.

One Manhattan eatery, My Most Favorite Food, had already cleaned the kitchen with everything from ammonia to boiling water. But before it was Passover ready, Marrus deployed the Inferno.

“To me, it is a renewal. You start over again,” owner Doris Schechter tells the Journal.

And mindful of his propane safety, the rabbi observes, “You have to be respectful to the blowtorch.”

Rabbi Marrus works for the OK Kosher Certification company in Brooklyn, whose stamp is a K inside a circle on the back of products. Many major brands — including Coca-Cola, Tootsie Roll, and Coors beer — have kosher products.

The Passover tradition of eschewing leavened bread stems from the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. It is said the Israelites fled so quickly that they couldn’t wait for their bread to rise.