Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
“You must sanctify yourselves and be holy,” the Torah tells us, “for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” The service of God in our lives should simulate the service of God in the Temple. Just as the kohen, the priest, was required to enter God’s Temple in a state of taharah, spiritual cleanliness, we are required to enter God’s world in a state of taharah.
Natural water gathered in a mikveh is our spiritual purifying agent. That is why the Torah asks of the woman, God’s partner in creation of the human being, to spiritually purify herself before conceiving a child. The convert, who has not been born to a Jewish mother, must be purified in a mikveh before becoming Jewish.
Following the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish table replaced the altar. Not only the food offered on the table but the serving utensils as well must be pure. Accordingly, utensils owned by a non-Jew, like the non-Jew himself, must be consecrated by immersion in the mikveh before entering the Jewish world. The process of consecration of utensils owned by non-Jews is known as tvilat keilim, and is colloquially referred to as “toveling.” The scriptural source for tvilat keilim is the prohibition placed on Israelite soldiers, upon returning from war carrying the spoils of Midian, from using Midianite eating utensils without first kashering and toveling them.
Eating and drinking utensils and utensils made of metal or glass that are used in the preparation of food and come into direct contact with food (such as cups, plates, silverware, pots and pans – but not coasters, knife sharpeners or other utensils, which have only indirect contact with food), and which were manufactured by or acquired from a non-Jew, require tevilah before they can be used by a Jew.
Wooden, earthen (if unglazed), bone and paper utensils, as well as disposable eating utensils, including aluminum foil and baking tins, are exempt from tevilah. The blessing Al Tevilat Keilim is recited immediately before toveling utensils made of metal and glass.
All Jewish persons, men, women and children, may tovel with a blessing. Utensils with which food is prepared or in which food is stored but not eaten – such as a meat grinder, potato peeler, slaughterer’s knife or sugar container – are immersed without the blessing unless immersed together with other utensils, which require the blessing. Whether plastic or nylon utensils require tevilah is debatable. Some authorities suggest they require tevilah without a blessing while other authorities rule they require no tevilah at all.
Eating utensils, which would require tevilah if acquired from a non-Jew, are exempt from tevilah if the non-Jew retains ownership over them, such as when the Jew rents or borrows them. Accordingly, if one finds oneself in a place with no toveling facilities, one may, as a temporary solution, use utensils even without tevilah by employing the following device: One may give the utensils to a non-Jew as a gift, thereby transferring ownership to him and then borrow them back. If no other eating utensils are available, this device may also be employed on Shabbat or Yom Tov, when it is forbidden to tovel utensils.
All dirt and adhesive labels (other than brand name labels that would ordinarily be considered part of the utensil) must be removed before tevilah so as to ensure 100 percent water contact on all inner and outer surfaces. For the same reason, the utensil should be lowered into the water in a perforated container – or if hand dipped, held with a loose grip.
An electric appliance, such as a coffee percolator or an electric toaster, acquired from or manufactured by a non-Jew and which would be damaged by tevilah, can be dealt with as follows: One may ask a Jewish electrician to dismantle the appliance into its separate parts to the point where it loses its original identity and then to reassemble it. The appliance is then considered as manufactured by a Jew and no longer requires tevilah. Alternatively, one can give it as a gift to and borrow it back from a non-Jew in the way already described. Tvilat keilim may also be performed in the sea or in a river so long as the river contains the minimum amount of required water for a kosher mikveh. In the absence of other facilities, glass utensils (but not metal utensils) may be toveled in snow.
About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.
Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]
Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments
The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”
Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.
Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?
Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?
Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.
Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.
Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.
One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.
Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land
Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews
Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.
The combination of the severity of the punishment and the ease with which the prohibition may be forgotten require that the smallest amount of chametz – chametz bemashehu – be prohibited.
If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.
Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.
Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.
Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/toveling/2013/03/13/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: