Viagra ruled kosher for Passover

Looks like those who adhere to Passover laws forbidding the consumption of leaven can make an exception when it comes to one type of rising agent--Viagra.

According to Wednesday's Jerusalem Post (free registration required), rabbis have found a way to work around the fact that the pills' coating contains leaven, which is to be avoided during Passover to commemorate the story that Jews escaping slavery in ancient Egypt were too hurried to let their bread rise.

The Jerusalem Post points out that drugs taken for life-threatening conditions, even if they contain yeast, baking powder or other "hametz," can--and must--be taken during Passover. Since erectile dysfunction can hardly be considered life-threatening, few rabbis approved Viagra's use during the upcoming festival of freedom, which begins on April 23.

But after receiving queries from religious men and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals-Israel about whether Viagra can be taken during the holiday, prominent rabbi Mordechai Eliahu ruled that men can take the drug if they purchase special empty capsules made from kosher gelatin before the holiday, then insert the blue pill into the capsule and swallow.

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