The Torah requires us not only to ensure that our utensils are kosher , but they must also be spiritually “purified” when ownership is changed from that of a gentile to a Jew. As such any vessels or utensils that are purchased from a Gentile must be immersed (toivelled) in a kosher Mikvah ( unless the utensil was originally made by a Jew)
The Torah in the book of Bamidbar specifically lists various metals in relation to this obligation; therefore the immersion of all metal utensils is a biblical requirement. The sages added to this glass utensils, as they can be made molten like metal, and as such are Rabbinically included in the requirement. Utensils that can not be made molten such as wood or earthenware are not included in this obligation either biblically or rabbinically. Therefore a blessing is made only on metal or glass utensils.
The Kashrut Authority takes the view of those decisors who rule that Corelle dishes and Pyrex cookware, as they are also made of glass (albeit toughened), are rabbinically required to be immersed, and a blessing should be made on those utensils.( Some opinions liken Corelle to chinaware and do not require the making of a blessing. KA research however has confirmed that Corelle is indeed a form of glass.)
Porcelain and China crockery and tableware, do not require to be immersed .( This is based upon the rulings of the Pischei Teshuva and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein). Porcelain and china should not be confused with utensils that are glazed with a thick glass coating, which are mentioned in some of the Responsa as requiring immersion , as modern day porcelain and china only have a surface glaze. While the glaze on thickly glazed item could in theory be made molten,and therefore require tevilla as above, it is impossible to make molten the coating on our utensils and as such they have the same status as earthernware that require no tevilla. (Never-the-less in deference to the earlier mentioned view, some customarily do immerse china and porcelain without a blessing.)
Plastic utensils do not require immersion. ( Again plastic can not be melted and re-used like metal or glass. Indeed it burns. However because it gives the appearance of melting some customarily do immerse them.)
Wooden utensils and Earthenware utensils, as mentioned earlier, do not require immersion nor is there any custom to immerse them .
As a general rule all utensils used in a modern kitchen, which come in direct contact with food prepared for the table, must be toivelled. This includes griller trays or rotisserie spits that all require tevilla with a blessing because they are made with metal. Also the removable trays from Sandwich and toaster ovens must be toivelled. Oven racks that support utensils that do not come into contact with food, do not require tevilla.
Utensils such as sandwich press makers, toasters, or Brevilles that all come into direct contact with food require tevilla. Similarly hot water urns require tevilla. This poses a difficulty in relation to water not affecting the electric wiring etc – However it is the experience of the KA that if the equipment is thoroughly shaken out , and left to dry for at least 48 hours after immersion, or dried with a blow drier, then the immersion will not affect the electronics of the equipment ( provided the controls are not digital).
However If one is concerned one may rely on the lenient view that opines that any utensil that needs to be plugged into the wall does not require tevilla as it is considered “connected to the Earth” and not subject to the laws of ritual impurity. However there is a large body of halachic opinion that does not accept “plugging in” as a solution as the plugging in is not permanent. Their solution is to either :
- dismantle part of the utensil and reassemble it by a jew – this effectively creating a “new “ utensil made by a jew not a gentile, thus obviating the requirement for tevilla ;
- or giving the utensil to a gentile as a gift – and then borrowing it back from the Gentile. Only a vessel that has transferred ownership from a gentile to a jew requires tevilla, however a vessel while belonging to a gentile requires no tevilla.
An item that requires tevila must have all intervening substances such as price stickers removed. However stickers that the user wishes to remain, such as stickers identifying the type of crystal or the like , need not be removed.
While some opinions do not require utensil used in a commercial setting to be toivelled – the Kashrut Authority policy in relation to the utensils of Jewish Caterers or licensees is as follows: All metal, glass, corelle and pyrex utensils are toivelled. China, porcelain, plastic and wooden utensils are not toivelled. Electric utensils that are not toivelled are gifted to one of the gentile staff and and borrowed back for on going use.