Toveling Utensils

Tevila is the Hebrew word for immersion.  You must tovel (immerse in a mikva or other halachically purifying water) new utensils made of metal or other materials that require tevila unless you know that they were:

  • Made by a Jew,
  • Sold by a Jew, and
  • Not owned by a non-Jew in between.

How To Tovel

To tovel a utensil, you may go to any kosher natural mikva (see section on natural mikvas) or to a mikvat keilim (a small mikva for utensils, often attached to the outside of a regular mikva building). To tovel several items, some of which require a blessing and some on which there is doubt whether a blessing is necessary, say the blessing over the item that requires the blessing and have in mind that the blessing will cover all the rest of your items.

Remember to remove all stickers, rust, etc., before you begin. Nail polish remover may help with stubborn stickers. Say the blessing al tevilat keilim and then let the item free fall through the water. Unlike with hagala, during which the item may be immersed in sections, when you tovel a utensil, the entire item must be in contact with the water at the same time, even if only for an instant.

What Gets Toveled?

NOTE: The main halacha applies to metal utensils that will be used repeatedly.

Say the blessing al tevilat keilim on metal or glass items–including Pyrex, Duralex, and Corelle– that come in contact with food. Items that require toveling include:

  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Forks
  • Knives
  • Pans
  • Plates
  • Pots
  • Spoons
  • Storage containers (only if they are brought to the table).

Toveling: Utensils: Stickers

Before immersing a food utensil in a mikva, remove anything attached to its surfaces.

SITUATION: A sticker or something similar is found on a plate or other utensil after tevila.

WHAT TO DO:

  • If the sticker is less than half of the surface area and does not bother you by being there, the tevila is valid.
  • If the sticker interferes with your use of the utensil or if you just want it removed, it must be removed and the tevila must be repeated.

Electrical Cord or Heater

A utensil that requires immersion in a mikva should be immersed even if the utensil is connected to an electrical cord or heater, unless by immersing it you will ruin the entire appliance.

Toveling: Lid

You must tovel a cooking-utensil lid bought from a non-Jew before you use the lid.

Toveling a Disposable Aluminum Pan

If a disposable aluminum pan will be used once, tovel it without a blessing. If a disposable aluminum pan will be used more than once, tovel it with a blessing (al tevilat keilim). Even if you will line it with a double layer of foil, still tovel it.

Mixed Materials

When toveling a utensil that is partly made of metal (which requires tevila) and partly made of plastic, wood, or another material that does not require tevila, you must dip all parts of the utensil into the mikva, even the parts that would not require tevila on their own.

Kasher or Tovel First?

If you have a non-kosher food utensil, kasher it before you immerse it in a mikva (tevila).

Giving a Toveled Utensil to another Jew

If you toveled a utensil and gave it to another Jew, the Jew does not have to tovel it again.

Giving a Toveled Utensil to a Non-Jew for Repair

If you give a utensil to a non-Jew for repair or to have a new part added, consult a rabbi.

Borrowing Back Un-Toveled Utensils from Non-Jew

Do not use utensils bought from a non-Jew or made by non-Jew until you tovel them. Instead, you may give them to a non-Jew and borrow them back, but you may only do this for 24 hours.
Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their website for more information.