Tevilat Keilim: Chatzitzot

One is required to immerse food utensils that are made from metal or glass into a mikva before their first use if they were purchased from a non-Jew.[1] In order for the immersion to be valid, the utensil must be immersed in its entirety. As such, one must ensure that the mikva water reaches all areas of the utensil, both inside and out, at once.[2] If this was not done, then the immersion is invalid, and it must be repeated.[3]

Most types of interpositions between the utensil and the waters of the mikva are considered to be a chatzitza and will invalidate the immersion. The laws of chatzitza regarding food utensils are similar to the laws of chatzitza regarding a woman's immersion after her menstrual cycle, as well as those regarding netilat yadayim.[4] It is especially important to remove all stickers, labels, and price tags that are on the utensil.[5] So too, dirt, rust, and any other interposition between the utensil and the waters of the mikva must be removed, as well.[6] One who realizes after immersing a utensil that there was a chatzitza will often be required to reimmerse the utensil. This is especially true regarding chatzitzot that most people would remove from new utensils before using them.[7]

Nevertheless, one is not required to remove a small chatzitza that one is not particular about or bothered by.[8] So too, a sticker that one would like to see remain on the utensil, such as a company label or logo that adds prestige to the item, need not be removed.[9] However, something that covers the majority of the utensil must be removed regardless of whether or not one is bothered by it. If after trying to remove all the possible chatzitzot there is still some rust, sticker, or label remains that simply won't come off , the utensil may be immersed and the immersion is valid.[10] Air pockets will also invalidate the immersion. As such, one must ensure that there are no air pockets present when immersing cups and bottles, especially those with narrow openings.[11]

[1] Avoda Zara 75b; YD 120:1.

[2] YD 120:12; Chochmat Adam 7:15,16.

[3] See for example: YD 120:2,13.

[4] Aruch Hashulchan, YD 202:1,2.

[5] YD 120:3; Chochmat Adam 73:14; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 37:10.

[6] YD 202:1; Chochmat Adam 73:14.

[7] Nidda 67b.

[8] Aruch Hashulchan, YD 120:3; Chochmat Adam 73:14; Chayei Halevi 1:57.

[9] Chayei Halevi 1:57; Teshuvot V'hanhagot 1:452 and 2:406. See alos Tevilat Keilim 5 foonote 20,21.

[10] YD 120:13; 202:2.

[11] YD 202:6,8; Chochmat Adam 73:17,18.