A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the
week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.
TEVILAS KEILIM REVISITED: QUESTIONS and ANSWERS
Last week's column concerning tevilas keilim generated much discussion and
requests for clarification. The following is a summary of questions and
Do utensils which are manufactured by a Jewish company but sold in
a store owned by non-Jews require tevilah?
Yes, they must be immersed.(1) While most poskim hold that a
blessing is recited,(2) some hold that no blessing is recited in this
Is it permitted to eat food that was inadvertently cooked in a pot
which was not immersed?
Yes. Non-immersed utensils are not treif utensils and the food
cooked in them does not become non-kosher.(4) Even if one knew that the pot
was not immersed and cooked food in it anyway, the food may still be
Do utensils manufactured by a company owned by non-observant Jews
Do utensils which were manufactured by a Jewish-owned company
whose workers are not Jewish, or vice-versa, require tevilah?
Most poskim maintain that the determining factor is the owner of
the factory or company which manufactures the utensil - who the workers are
is irrelevant.(7) The following rules apply:
If the manufacturing company is -
a. owned by a Jew, no tevilah is required even if the workers are
b. owned by a non-Jew, tevilah is required even if the workers are
c. co-owned by a Jew and a non-Jew, tevilah is required.(10)
d. a public corporation (or a government agency11) which is controlled by
non-Jews, tevilah is required. If the corporation is controlled by Jews,
tevilah is not required.(12)
Important note: As stated before, if the utensil was bought from a
non-Jewish store, it still requires tevilah even if it was manufactured by a
Jewish-owned company. For example, utensils that were made in Israel are
only exempt from tevilah if they are bought in a store owned or controlled
What should be done if - after research - one cannot determine if
the utensil was manufactured by Jews or non-Jews?
If the item was manufactured anywhere in the world except
Israel, the utensil should be immersed and the blessing recited, as the vast
majority of manufacturers world-wide are non-Jewish.(13) If the item was
manufactured in Israel and the item was bought in a Jewish store, no tevilah
is required at all. If one cannot determine where the item was manufactured,
tevilah should be performed without reciting the blessing.
Does a sticker left on a utensil invalidate the tevilah?
In most cases, when the sticker should have been removed or will
be removed at a later date, the sticker is considered a chatzitzah which
invalidates the tevilah and the immersion must be repeated. In the atypical
case where the sticker is supposed to remain on the utensil, then the
sticker does not need to be removed before tevilah and is not considered a
If a utensil inadvertently falls into the mikveh, is the immersion
valid or must it be repeated l'shem mitzvas tevilah?
The immersion, although inadvertent, is valid and does not need
to be repeated. Tevilas keilim does not need to be performed l'shem
May a a boy under the age of thirteen or a girl under the age of
twelve be given the task of performing tevilas keilim?
Technically speaking, yes. As mentioned earlier, even utensils
which fell into the mikveh inadvertently are considered immersed; surely
then, if they were immersed by a child the tevilah is valid. But practically
speaking, if an adult did not supervise the tevilah, we have no assurance
that the utensil was immersed properly. Merely relying on the child's
say-so, even a child who is generally responsible and trustworthy, is not
always halachically sufficient, especially in cases where the obligation of
tevilah is Min ha-Torah. The following rules apply:
1. Utensils made of gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead, which require
tevilah min ha-Torah, may not be immersed by a minor(16) unless an adult
supervises the tevilah.(17) If an adult failed to supervise the tevilah,
then it must be repeated by an adult. The blessing, however, should not be
2. Utensils which must be immersed mi-derabanan, such as those made of
aluminum,(19) glass(20) (including, pyrex, duralex and corelle), glazed
earthenware, lead-coated earthenware, china, corningware or porcelain
enamel,(21) l'chatchilah should also be immersed by an an adult.(22) But if
an adult is not available, they may be given to a responsible and
trustworthy minor for tevilah.(23) The minor then recites the blessing over
May tevilas keilim be performed by a non-Jew?
Since tevilas keilim does not need to be performed l'shem
mitzvah, it is permissible for a non-Jew to perform the tevilah as long as a
Jew is standing by and supervising that it is being done properly.(25) It is
permitted even l'chatchilah for a Jew to recite the blessing and immerse the
first utensil and then have a non-Jew immerse the rest of the utensils.(26)
If a non-Jew claims that he immersed utensils but there was no proper
supervision, the tevilah must be repeated. Whether or not a blessing should
be recited over this tevilah will depend on several factors. A rav should be
If a utensil was mistakenly used several times without immersion,
does it still need tevilah?
Yes. The obligation of tevilah remains no matter how many times
a utensil was previously used, even if years elapsed from the time it was
purchased. Thus a newly-observant family must immerse all of their old
dishes. If the dishes also need to be koshered, then the koshering is done
first, followed by the tevilah.(28) But, b'dieved, if the tevilah was done
first, the immersion does not need to be repeated after the koshering.(29)
1 Based on Y.D. 120:11.
2 See Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 120:81 and Tevilas Keilim 3:2. See also oral
ruling by Harav M.
Feinstein (quoted in Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 41).