The Mitzvah of Tevillat Keilim
The mitzvah of Tevillat Keilim requires immersing in a mikveh (a ritual bath) or certain natural bodies of water certain food related utensils acquired from non-Jews. Under normal circumstances, after purchasing a new utensil, tevilla, ritual immersion, is performed before one begins using the utensils.
When Tevillat Keilim is Unachievable
A prevalent understanding of the mitzvah is that one is forbidden to use one’s newly acquired utensils before the mitzvah is fulfilled. Therefore, in situations where the mitzvah cannot be fulfilled due to extenuating circumstances, one should find an alternative means of ensuring they are not using their utensils before they have been ritually immersed.
The Option of Selling the Utensils to a Non-Jew
The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch O.H. 323:7, Y.D. 120:16) states that one who forgot to ritually immerse a newly acquired vessel before Shabbat may sell the utensil to a non-Jew and then request the rights to use the utensil over Shabbat. After Shabbat he may reacquire the utensil and then ritually immerse it. Generally these sales are done for a very short time, but certain authorities allowed this method of selling certain utensils and requesting usage rights when regular tevilla involved great difficulty (see Ben Ish Chai 2, Matot 8).
Temporary sale of food utensils to a non-Jew
Since there are situations where a Jew is not in the vicinity of Keilim Mikveh and has to use new dinnerware for example during a trip abroad or when in quarantined, we temporarily offer immersion services for regular food utensils. You can sell kitchenware that needs Tevila and that are non-electric for a temporary period of one month (29 days). After that time, the sale will expire and the dishes will once again become obligated in Tevillat Keilim and they should be immersed with the blessing. If a person wants to immerse the dishes before the end of the month, he can immerse them without a blessing and immediately the sale will stop, without having to let us know. This is one of the terms of the selling agreement with our non-Jewish person.
By purchasing a “ticket” sale, for a symbolic price of NIS 10, you can sell all the utensils that need Tvila for one family.
Rabbi Menachem Pearl,
Head of the Zomet Institute