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Immersing Utensils

Immersing Utensils

Do the Kosher Dip in the Mikvah

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We don’t usually think of the kitchen as a holy space. Yet eating, when done mindfully, is a holy act which renders all your cooking utensils divine instruments. This explains why they need to be immersed in a mikvah―a ritual pool―before use.

What:

If it comes in direct contact with food or drink, it needs a dip. That includes percolators, measuring cups, and those parts of a blender that touch the food. If it doesn’t come in contact with ready-to-eat food (examples: meat grinders or kneading bowls), dip without a blessing. Same with storage utensils that are not brought to the table.

Eating, when done mindfully, is a holy act which renders all your cooking utensils divine instrumentsDip utensils made of metal, glass or Corelle with a blessing. No need to dip wood, stone, paper, bone, unglazed earthenware, plastic, synthetic materials and disposable items, or a utensil that was manufactured and always owned by a Jew. China should be dipped without a blessing.

How:

Head to your local mikvah. Before the dip, make sure your utensil is clear of dirt, rust or stickers. Those stickers often leave their stickiness behind, so check for that as well.

Say:

Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the immersion of (a) vessel(s).

Totally submerge the utensil in the mikvah water. Loosen your grip to allow the water to reach the utensil’s entire surface all at once.

Notes:

  • If your utensil was used for non-kosher food, the dip is not enough. Click here to learn how to make it kosher.
  • Food placed in an un-immersed utensil is still kosher—just remove it from there as soon as possible.
  • Only utensils currently under Jewish ownership require immersion.
  • Utensils that have already been used without immersion still require immersion.
  • No local dish mikvah? There are also certain natural bodies of water where one may be allowed to immerse dishes. Contact a local rabbi for the qualifications.
Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Discussion (11)
January 22, 2014
Anon 16 Feb & Robert
The same mikvah can be used for people and dishes. (Remember both are clean before immersion.) For practical reasons most sizable communities will have different mikvahot for the two. That way people dunking dishes in the evening don't run into any ladies, who need privacy.

Dishes are usually dunked only once. The only reason to dunk something twice is if it had been owned by a non Jew in between ownership of two Jews. For example: A container, made by a non Jew, sold to a Jew, then to a non Jew, and then again sold, to a Jew. While this sounds like a convoluted path, an antique fancy metal bowl could have this history. The second Jewish owner would have to kasher and tovel the bowl. If it went through a third cycle, it would need a third immersion, and so on.

Only pieces that touch food need toveling, so burners of stoves don't need to be dunked.

Coffee urns do need to be toveled. Be quick, and make sure the electrical parts are COMPLETELY dry before using it.
Sarah
WB, MI, USA
January 22, 2014
To Anonymous Germany
Ordinary rivers should not be used, as flowing rainwater does not constitute a kosher mikvah. Rivers that originate from a spring are kosher for immersion, but only as long as there is no significant addition of rainwater. For this reason, it is best to refrain from using a river for immersion unless one is near the actual spring from which it originates
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
January 16, 2014
Dish Mikveh
At the risk of sounding silly, is a regular mikveh (that is, the one people dip themselves in) the same physical mikveh that is used for foodware? Also, is the foodware dipped only once (like when it is first purchased) or before every meal? (If anybody out there is laughing, it's okay.)
Anonymous
January 16, 2014
Natural body for mikvah
Is a river nearby a natural body qualifying for a vessel mikvah? We have no Rabbi in our town.
Marwan
GERMANY
June 27, 2012
electric appliances
how are electric coffee cookers treated. how about the burners on an electric range.
robert
warwick, RI
May 26, 2011
Maria & Marci
I bought a kiddush cup in Israel, made by an Israeli artist/metalsmith. I didn't need to ask if everyone (metalsmith, distributor, store owner) was observant or not. I could assume that everyone involved is Jewish, and that is it. I also bought similar items in New York, and the salesperson mentioned that they did not need toveling, for the same reason.

Marci, my rabbi says that urns do need toveling. Don't soak it, do it quickly, and I usually try to do it on Sunday, so that it has six full days to dry out!

Of course there are different opinions! We are Jews, aren't we? ;-D
Sarah
MI, USA
May 24, 2011
Mikvah for Cooking Utensils
I really liked this article and I will try to do this.. Maybe a class or something? What to do if your kitchen staff is not Jewish and rolls there eyes at Jews while walking thruogh the synangoge on Shabbat?
Anonymous
LA, CA
chabadlosfeliz.org
May 23, 2011
mikvah for electrical appliances
Please address this issue: hot water urns
I heard different opionions about whether or not to dip and how to dip.
Are there valid different opionions.?
Mrs. marci rapp
January 5, 2011
immersing utensils
You say vessels made and always been owned by a Jew don't need to be immersed. What if it was made or owned by a non-kashrut observant Jew? Can you, please, clarify?
Maria
New York, NY
March 22, 2010
Thank you for your help with the blessing for toveling (immersing vessels).
Ronnee Reiss
Flushing, N.Y.
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