What Should Diabetics Do Regarding Seder?

10 Nissan 5774
April 10, 2014
The following information was released by the spokesman’s office for the Chief Rabbinate of Israel pertaining to how a diabetic may contend with the yomtov demands of seder night. The responses were provided by Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau Shlita.

This refers to a diabetics using diet, tablets or injections of insulin.

The Mitzvah of 4 Cups of Wine:
A diabetic may fulfill the mitzvah by drinking four cups of grape juice. Every 100cc of grape juice is less than 70 calories. Therefore, one may fulfill one’s obligation if one drinks the majority of a revi’is for the first three cups, and an entire revi’is for the last cup. If he drank 45cc (32cc) for the first three cups and 90cc (which is 63 calories) he will end up having ingested 160 calories.

In cases of need, one may drink only a majority of a revi’is for the last cup too.

The Mitzvah of Eating Matzah:
Each machine made matzah contains 100 calories. One may be lenient and measure the shiur for matzah as being one-half of a machine matzah. We eat this amount three times; for achilas matzah, the korech sandwich, and the afikomen. Therefore, one may have to eat fewer calories than one is accustomed to during the meal (like rice/potatoes) towards fulfilling the mitzvah of matzah.

Eating Charoses:
One may avoid eating charoses if one wishes or one may eat a minute amount.

A diabetic who uses injects insulin numerous times or receives insulin via a pump usually checks blood sugar levels a number of times daily to adjust each dose. Such a person may ingest the wine and matzah and adjust the insulin accordingly to compensate, giving oneself a bit more than usual to address the increase in blood sugar.

Click on the Word document to the right for the original Hebrew text:    What Does a Diabetic do on seder night



  • Tsvi Rogin
    April 13, 2014 - 09:44 | Permalink

    He left out that if it is pure grape juice, and can be diluted at least to 51:49 (and probably more. Rav Chaim Naeh’s shiur for a cup is 86.4 cc’s and the Rambam’s is 74-76 cc’s

    He calls eating half of a machine matsah being lenient. The Chazon Ish in Kuntres Hashiurim says haalf a machine matsah, so it is not a kulah at all. Breuer’s (the big Yekke shul in Washington Heights) up until the current “yeshivish” rav said 1/3 of a machine matsah.

    There is room to be more meikel, but the above are for sure yotsei y’dei chovah.

  • Hillel Levin, Shiloh
    April 13, 2014 - 18:31 | Permalink

    Actually, there are less calories in a dry red wine then in grape juice and the wine can interacts positively with the diabetic meds.

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