The daf yomi cycle finished Mesechta Avodah Zara over Pesach. The end of the mesechta discusses the biblical mitzvah of tevilas keilim. Therefore, it is appropriate to point out some of the biggest myths related to this mitzvah.
Myth # 1: One may temporarily use an item without tevilah.
This is clearly not true. One may not use a utensil that is obligated in tevilah even one time prior to tevilah. This myth is born from the fact that there is a firm basis to permit using disposable aluminum pans without tevilah. However, while a disposable aluminum pan can be used without tevilah, a non-disposable pan cannot be used even temporarily without tevilah. This often comes up on camping trips where inexpensive grills are purchased. Perhaps the cheapest of grills—the ones that sell for nine dollars and use charcoal—are considered disposable; however, one cannot use the metal grate for a non-disposable grill even temporarily.
Myth # 2: Food prepared in an item that was not toiveled should be treated like treif.
The halachos of tevilah and kashrus may overlap in some areas but in fact are totally different. A brand-new metal utensil that is generally used with food requires tevilah. This is true even though the item is brand-new and certainly kosher. Food that was inadvertently prepared in a non-toiveled utensil may be eaten. The fact that the utensil was not toiveled does not make the food prepared in it non-kosher.
Myth # 3: A large utensil may be partially submerged in the mikveh water and then re-submerged to immerse the other side.
The halachah is quite clear that the entire utensil must be submerged at the same time.
This myth also has its roots in halachah. When kashering a pot, the whole pot need not be kashered at the same time. Sinks are routinely kashered piecemeal. (If possible, it is meritorious to kasher an entire utensil at the same time.) However, for tevilas keilim, the entire utensil must be submerged at once. Care must be taken with large pans to immerse the entire pan at the same time.
Myth # 4: Items purchased from a Jewish store do not require tevilah.
Items purchased from a Jewish store require tevilah if either the manufacturer or the distributor is part of a gentile-owned company.
Myth # 5: Every lake is a kosher mikveh.
Not every river or lake can be used as a mikveh. A man-made lake filled with rainwater and replenished by rainwater cannot be used for tevilas keilim. For a lake to be a valid mikveh, it must be formed by a natural spring. This issue also comes up on camping trips where people generally assume they can use any lake to toivel their grill.
Myth #6: Silver Judaica items do not require tevilah.
Very often, silver Judaica items—even with the stamp of famous Israeli manufacturers such as Hazorfim or Hadad—are not made in Israel. Many Kiddush cups, fountains, and even Seder plates are made in Italy, Hungary, and Turkey. Please see the accompanying photos of silver Judaica pieces that were all manufactured outside of Israel and require tevilah.
(If one has any question about the country of manufacture of his silver item, he may e-mail a picture to Chaim Holzberg of 925 Sterling at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow leads a daf yomi chaburah at Eitz Chayim of Dogwood Park in West Hempstead. He can be contacted at ASebrow@gmail.com.