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Sunday
May192019

Do I have to Tovel a popcorn machine?

A collection of frequently asked halachic questions on the mitzvah of Tevilas Kelim
from AskTheRav.com & Halacha2Go.com

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

Toveling Electric Appliances

Electric keilim (utensils) are becoming increasingly prevalent, and the consensus among poskim is that even they need to be toveled (immersed in a mikvah). While many of these keilim come with a warning that immersion in water will ruin them, nonetheless the mitzvah of tevilas keilim applies. Generally, if after tevilah the keili is dried very well and left to air dry for a couple of days before being used, it will function normally. However, there will probably be a problem with digital keilim, such as some premium coffee machines which will be ruined if they are immersed in water. In addition, very often the water cannot reach all the parts of this type of appliance, which in itself poses a problem for tevilah. There are those who wish to suggest that since it is a mitzvah to tovel keilim, in a case where it is not possible, we are exempt from the mitzvah. However, that opinion is rejected by the majority of poskim, and thus it should not be followed. Others suggest gifting the keili to a non-Jew, and then borrowing it from him. Since it will be considered that we’re using a non-Jew’s keili—and as a non-Jew’s keili is exempt from tevilah—we may use it without tevilah. However, this is only a short-term solution, since an object that remains in a Jew’s possession long term requires tevilah. The only solution that exists for the dilemma of toveling the kind of electric appliance that would be ruined if it were immersed in water is to take it to a Yid (Jew) who is an uman (professional) and knows how to take apart and reassemble the appliance in question. After the uman takes the keili apart and puts it back together, it is considered a utensil made by a Jew, and consequently does not need to be toveled. #359

Do I have to tovel oven racks?

The general rule is that dishes and portable surfaces that come into contact with food require tevilah (immersion in a mikvah) prior to use. This raises the question of whether refrigerator shelves and oven racks need to be toveled as well.

While some contemporary poskim do rule that refrigerator shelves and drawers require tevilah, the common custom is not to tovel them. This is presumably because food in the refrigerator is generally stored in containers and isn’t placed directly on those surfaces; even though food may occasionally come into contact with the shelf, it isn’t how the shelves are regularly used, so one may be lenient. For various reasons, the custom is to be lenient and not tovel even the drawers used for fruit and vegetables, despite the fact that the food touches the drawer.

Similarly, although it’s relatively more common to put food directly on oven racks, food is generally placed on a cookie sheet, tray or baking pan, so there’s room for leniency here as well. While some poskim argue that silver foil or oven paper don’t serve as a proper hefsek (separation) between food and the oven rack, other poskim rule leniently, so this can be taken into account as well.

On the other hand, barbecue grill racks certainly require tevilah since they are always in direct contact with food. #523

“First use” TEVILAS Keilim Myth

There is a popular myth that one can use a keili, a vessel or utensil, without toveling it in a Mikvah, without immersing it, the very first time, or even two or three times. This is total nonsense, as according to Halacha, if one buys a keili from a non-Jew, they are not allowed to use it, even for the very first time, without first dipping it in a Mikvah. I do not know where this myth came from; perhaps the source of this myth is that there are disposable keilim, where the first time one uses such a keili, it is still disposable, and therefore it does not require tevila. Once one is planning to use a disposable keili on a regular basis, there is a reason to suggest that it should require immersing in the Mikvah. People must have assumed that this is the case with everything, and that there is a one-time dispensation. This is absolutely incorrect, and any regular keili needs to be toveled even for the first time it is used. #12

 

Please note that these halachos apply in general situations. In unique circumstances, a different halacha may apply. If you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rov.

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