Vaad Hakashrus Five Towns Far Rockaway Tue, 03 Mar 2020 20:49:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Starbucks & The Kashrus of Coffee Tue, 03 Mar 2020 20:49:04 +0000 Shiur on Starbucks & The Kashrus of Coffee By Rabbi Ephraim Polakoff Shlit”a

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Shiur on Starbucks & The Kashrus of Coffee By Rabbi Ephraim Polakoff Shlit”a

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Kosher Butter Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:22:40 +0000 Shiur on Kosher Butter by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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Shiur on Kosher Butter by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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Gevinas Akum Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:18:49 +0000 Shiur on Gevinas Akum by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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Shiur on Gevinas Akum by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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At Someone’s House Where Tevila Was Not Done Mon, 03 Feb 2020 17:40:31 +0000 Shiur on Tevilat Keilim By Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim.

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Shiur on Tevilat Keilim By Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim.

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Doing Tevila For Someone Else Mon, 03 Feb 2020 17:36:08 +0000 Shiur on Tevilat Keilim By Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim.

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Shiur on Tevilat Keilim By Rabbi Mordechai Benhaim.

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Kashrus of a Microwave Mon, 03 Feb 2020 17:20:34 +0000 By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz Shlit”a I. Introduction. As modern technology continues to develop, and to shape our daily lives, the פוסקים of our generation have risen to the challenge of applying הלכה to each innovation. There is certainly no greater example of this than the response of contemporary פוסקים to the common use of a […]

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By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz Shlit”a

I. Introduction.
As modern technology continues to develop, and to shape our daily lives, the פוסקים of our generation have risen to the challenge of applying הלכה to each innovation. There is certainly no greater example of this than the response of contemporary פוסקים to the common use of a microwave in a kosher kitchen. Certainly, the הלכה has dealt with כשרות of ovens for many centuries. However, due to the completely different way in which a microwave cooks food, each element of הלכה must be reinterpreted as it applies to a microwave. In this essay we will outline the fundamental issues of classical הלכה that one must understand in order to fully comprehend our approach to microwave ovens. We will also outline the differences between our halachic approach to conventional ovens and to microwave ovens. Finally, we will survey the opinions of the leading פוסקים relating to how to keep a kosher microwave for both meat and dairy use.

II. The Issues of כשרות in Ovens.
A. ריחא. The גמרא פסחים דף עו: records a dispute whether the aroma emitted by foods that are baking in an oven can affect the כשרות of other foods in the oven. For instance if one cooks non kosher meat (uncovered) in an oven together with kosher meat (uncovered) does the kosher status of the latter change. The שולחן ערוך (יו”ד סימן קח סעיף א’) rules that initially we do concern ourselves with the aroma of foods, but after the fact we do not assume the aroma has caused another food to lose its כשרות. The רמ”א (שם) helps to define the parameters of what we consider לכתחילה and בדיעבד. He states that bread baked simultaneously in an oven with meat should not be eaten with dairy foods unless no other bread is available. Also, one may not purchase a food that was baked simultaneously in an oven with non-kosher food, as each of these cases is considered לכתחילה. If, however, one already owns a food that had been cooked in the same oven as non kosher food, or a dairy food cooked in the same oven as meat food, he may eat the foods. Although technically only fatty foods can produce a significant amount of aroma, our custom is to avoid the ריחא of even leaner foods. If either of the foods in the oven are covered at the time that they were cooked together, the ריחא cannot transfer from one food to the other, and the foods may be cooked together in this way.
1. The issue of ריחא is only relevant in small and enclosed areas. It is difficult to define exactly what is considered “small” for the purposes of ריחא. Based on the measurements suggested by בינת אדם  כלל סב אות פא), virtually all פוסקים assume that ריחא is an issue that we must contend with in our standard kitchen ovens. The ש”ך points out that even vented ovens can pose a problem of ריחא
(שם ס”ק ח).
2. Although we generally don’t cook meat foods together simultaneously with dairy foods, or kosher foods with non-kosher foods, the issue of ריחא is certainly relevant to our normal kitchen activities as any spillage in the oven (or microwave) that remains behind from previous cooking will pose a problem of ריחא.

B. זיעה. In addition to the aroma emitted by foods, the (תשובות הרא”ש כלל כ’ אות כו) points out that the rabbis were also concerned with steam emitted by foods that may transfer from one food to the other. Unlike ריחא, steam can pose a problem even when the two foods are not in an oven at the same time. If one cooks a dairy food in an oven, we are concerned that the steam will rise to the top of the oven, and become avsorbed in the oven ceiling. When one subsequently cooks meat in the same oven, droplets of stem will condense on the oven ceiling and fall back into the meat dish, causing the food to become prohibited. There are many details and discussions about זיעה that are relevant to cooking meat and dairy in the same oven, but we will only cite those issues that have particular significance in a microwave oven:
1. The (פתחי תשובה סימן צב אות ו’) writes that the concern of זיעה only applies to liquids, but not to solids. Others disagree, but Rav Moshe Feinstein (שו”ת אגרות משה יו”ד חלק א’ סימן מ’) limits the application of זיעה in solid foods to circumstances that you can visually detect steam rising from the food.
2. If steam is cold by the time it reaches the oven ceiling, it is rendered ineffective in causing any change to the status of the oven (רמ”א סימן צב סעיף ח’).
3. (רמ”א סימן צב סעיף ח’) adds that if a pot is covered, steam cannot escape, and therefore foods of different types may be cooked in the same oven so long as one type is always covered.

C. Cooking meat and dairy in the same oven. Although a thorough explanation of each opinion is well beyond the scope of this essay, it bears mentioning that the leading פוסקים differ on the issue of how to keep an oven kosher for both meat and dairy use. Some permit cooking meat and dairy consecutively in our ovens so long as the oven is clean (ערוך השולחן סימן צב אות נה), others suggest waiting for the oven to cool down in between meat and dairy use (Rav Herschel Schachter). Some require a wait of 24 hours or koshering the oven between meat and dairy use (Rav Ahron Lichtenstien). Rav Moshe Feinstein required that one type of food (meat or dairy) always be covered when used in that oven. Yet others strongly recommend that we purchase two ovens, one for exclusively dairy use and one to be used exclusively for meat.

III. The differences between microwave ovens and conventional ovens. 
While there is a significant range of opinions relating to use of an oven for both meat and dairy, the microwave oven is a completely different matter, as there are many considerations that are unique to the specific way that a microwave operates:
A. Reasons to be stricter with a microwave than with a conventional oven.
1. The (ערוך השולחן שם) suggests that זיעה is only a problem in small confined areas. While our ovens are normally large enough to avoid this problem (in the view of the ערוך השולחן), microwave ovens are almost certainly not large enough to avoid problems of זיעה. Indeed, we can easily see that microwave oven chambers often fill with steam.
2. While food that spills in an oven often slips between the grates and burns immediately, the same cannot be said of a microwave oven. Food that spills often sits on the oven floor and remains there until the oven is thoroughly cleaned. This obviously causes a major concern for ריחא when we cook other food together with the spilled substances.
3. Unlike in conventional ovens, where the liquid is the last part of the food to become heated, microwave ovens heat the liquid molecules within the food first, and those molecules cause the rest of the food to become warm. As a result, a microwave oven produces significantly more זיעה than a conventional oven.
B. Reasons to be more lenient in a microwave oven than in a conventional oven.
1. While the chamber of a conventional oven is extremely hot, which allows for an easier transfer of taste, the cooking chamber of a microwave oven does not become hot, which may inhibit the transfer of taste from the food to the oven and vice versa.
2. In terms of the halachic definition of בישול, the leading פוסקים of the previous generation developed two basic approaches. In the view of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach זצ”ל, any method of cooking that does not employ a normal heat source would be considered an unconventional method of cooking, and would therefore not be defined as בישול. Rav Moshe Feinstein (in a תשובה dated תשל”א), on the other hand, ruled that since it is very normal in our times to cook with a microwave oven, and people use it more frequently than they use their normal ovens, it would certainly fit within the definition of בישול. This dispute has great relevance to many issues of הלכה, most notably to בישול עכו”ם. According to רב שלמה זלמן אועירבך a gentile may cook food for a Jew in a microwave, as this is not considered to be בישול. According to רב משה פיינשטיין, however, a gentile may not cook for a Jew in a microwave oven. While the large majority of ראשונים generally assume that the exact parameters of בישול are irrelevant when it comes to issues of כשרות (because our concern relates to the taste transferred through the medium of heat, and not to the act of cooking itself), a minority opinion of ראשונים maintains that when one does not do an act of cooking he cannot effect the transfer of taste in the realm of כשרות. If this opinion were to be accepted, and we were to accept the opinion of רב שלמה זלמן אועירבך that microwave cooking is not called בישול, one may suggest that there are no issues of בישול whatsoever in a microwave.
a. Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky שליט”א, while obviously unwilling to rely on this assessment (because most פוסקים maintain that the parameters of בישול do not relate to the laws of כשרות), concedes that this point may be combined with other lenient considerations to perhaps form a more lenient approach to microwave usage.
b. Rabbi Binyamin Forst, however, strongly objects to any analysis that attempts to equate the parameters of בישול with the laws of taste transfer in the area of כשרות. (The Laws of Kashrus page 233)

IV. Practical approach to microwave use.
A. Consistent use for both meat and dairy. As we have mentioned there are three potential problems to be aware of when cooking in a microwave.
1. Spills. The most stringent issue relates to food that spills onto the floor or splatters onto the walls of the microwave. If meat juice has spilled on the floor of the microwave and has not been adequately cleaned when one cooks dairy (or with a dairy dish) on that same floor, the meat juice will certainly become absorbed in that which is directly above it. As such, it is certainly advisable to have two separate plates (preferable glass but not necessarily so), one for dairy and one for meat, on which to place all plates of food. This way, anything that may have spilled will remain contained on that plate or will only cause the taste to become absorbed in that plate, leaving the food and dish completely unaffected.
2. Splattering. If food has splattered onto the wall of the microwave or remains near, but not directly touching, a dairy food that is being cooked in the microwave, a serious issue of ריחא can apply. As noted earlier, any issue of ריחא can easily be avoided by simply covering the food that you are cooking in the oven.
3. זיעה. The final problem associated with microwaves can even apply in a perfectly clean oven. If one cooks dairy in the oven and the steam rises to the ceiling of the microwave oven, and then subsequently cooks meat in the microwave with the steam again rising to the ceiling of the oven, the oven has become non kosher, which raises the risk of any food cooked in the microwave to have droplets that are not kosher fall into it. As noted earlier, this concern can also be addressed by simply covering each food.
a. Based on all that we have explained it seems that if one places a separate plate for dairy and meat under each food AND covers all foods in the microwave, he can effectively avoid any כשרות problems in the microwave. It should be noted that the covering does not have to be airtight. Indeed, an airtight cover will just pop off in the microwave. The cover must only be secure enough not to fall off as it rotates in the microwave, and cover the food in a way that will inhibit the passage of ריחא and זיעה. A paper towel wrapped tightly around the plate would seem to satisfy these requirements, as would the hard plastic food covers marketed specifically for the purpose of covering food in a microwave (even though they have air vents on the side). However, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky has recommended the people use a double covering to further inhibit the passage of ריחא and זיעה through the covering.
B. Kashering a microwave. The generally accepted method of koshering a microwave oven relies on the principle of כבולעו כך פולטו, which suggests that flavor absorbed in a utensil can be expelled from the utensil in the same manner with which it was absorbed. Since the primary absorption of non kosher flavor in a microwave comes through steam, one can expel those flavors through steam. Therefore if one were to boil a cup of water in a microwave to the point that the entire microwave fills with steam (usually assumed to be about five minutes), he has effectively koshered the microwave. A few points should be noted when koshering the microwave in this way:
1. Rabbi Binyamin Forst points out that although most tastes do get absorbed in the microwave through steam, foods do often spill as well causing the tastes to be absorbed more strongly through irui kli rishon, which cannot be koshered by simply steaming up a cup of water. Rabbi forst leaves it as an open ended question how we can rely on steaming up the microwave to rid the oven of all non-kosher tastes absorbed in it.
2. When koshering through steaming up a cup of water, it is important to note that the spot on which the cup rests is not koshered and the cup must therefore be moved to a different location and steamed up again in order to kosher the entire microwave.
3. Any microwave that can also be used as a convection oven can certainly not be koshered with the normal method of koshering a microwave. Rather, it must be koshered the same way one would kosher a regular oven (a topic that is far too broad to discuss in this essay).

V. Conclusion.
We have outlined the issues that arise when attempting to keep a microwave kosher. Unfortunately, there are many people who neglect to take the necessary precautions when using their microwave and may therefore cause serious kashrut problems. The problem becomes particularly acute when children frequently use a microwave causing spills that are not immediately cleaned up. It is imperative that we take the few simple steps necessary to ensure that all food we put into our microwaves remain kosher.

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Cholov Yisroel Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:43:31 +0000 Shiur on Cholov Yisroel by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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Shiur on Cholov Yisroel by Rabbi Yoni Levin Shlit”a

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Shabbos Gift Platters to dip or not to dip? Wed, 22 Jan 2020 17:25:53 +0000 The Candy Dish Problem By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz Shlit”a   I. The Problem In recent years, it has become customary in our community for guests to bring gifts to their hosts as a sign of gratitude for the hospitality shown to them. There now exists an entire industry to meet the consumer’s demand for such […]

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The Candy Dish Problem

By Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz Shlit”a


I. The Problem

In recent years, it has become customary in our community for guests to bring gifts to their hosts as a sign of gratitude for the hospitality shown to them. There now exists an entire industry to meet the consumer’s demand for such “Shabbos gifts”. Sometimes these gifts are a simple plate of candy, where the primary gift is the candy and the plastic or wicker plate is discarded once emptied. For those who are interested in presenting a more generous gift, however, an increasing number of stores now offer beautiful glass or metal candy dishes that are pre-filled with candies. In these cases, the dishes are not intended to be discarded like their simpler counterparts described above. Instead, they are meant to be saved and reused like any other dish in one’s home. Generally speaking, the stores purchase the dishes from gentile manufacturers.

The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 75b) clearly states that one who acquires “food utensils” from a gentile must immerse them before they can be used. While the Rishonim debate whether this obligation is biblical or rabbinic in nature (see Rashi, ad loc.; Rambam, Hil. Ma’achalos Assuros 17:5), all agree that such an obligation exists. Additionally, there is a further dispute amongst the Tannaim whether glass utensils require tevilah (immersion) on a biblical or rabbinic level. Ultimately, the Shulchan Aruch assumes that glass utensils only require tevilah rabbinically. Accordingly, it would seem that the above described candy dishes made from glass would at the very least require tevilah rabbinically. In practice, however, most people who receive a candy dish first eat all of the candy from the dish in the normal manner and only later (if at all) immerse the utensil before using it a second time. The problem is that the candies are initially eaten directly from the unimmersed dish, a seeming blatant violation of the halacha. This problem is not discussed by the leading poskim because the concept of selling pre-filled dishes that are intended for future use is a relatively new phenomenon.1

In this essay, we will outline the proposed solutions and demonstrate that the halachic challenge posed by this practice may prove too formidable to overcome, unless the tevilah is done by the store prior to the original sale.

II. The Potential Heterim

Having identified the problem above, it is important to present the potential leniencies and evaluate whether their application to a candy dish is compelling.

A. The One Time Use Heter

There is a very common misconception that a utensil may be used a single time before requiring immersion. The Rema (YD 120:8) clearly rules to the contrary. The leading poskim have debated the status of disposable utensils (e.g. aluminum pans) but have never questioned the requirement to immediately immerse any legitimately long lasting “food utensils” prior to their first use.2

B. Dry Food

Rav Moshe Feinstein3 was asked about a person who, while eating in somebody’s house, discovers that the utensils he has been given have not been immersed. Rav Moshe suggests that the prohibition of eating from a utensil that hasn’t been immersed only applies if one is actually using the utensil for a practical reason. If, however, the utensil does not aid in the eating, but is simply used to maintain proper manners (e.g. a plate used to hold dry chicken or kugel where the chicken/kugel can just as easily be eaten off of the table), there is no prohibition to use the utensils. Some have suggested that the same logic may be used to permit using a candy dish that has not been immersed. The dish does not aid in the eating of the candy at all. It is only there because it is not considered proper manners to serve candies directly on the table. However, this leniency is highly questionable for several reasons.

First, candy dishes do in fact serve a practical function. While the function of a candy dish does not match the function of a soup bowl, its utility is undeniable. If jelly beans, for instance, are not served in a bowl or dish, they will roll all over the table. The dish makes the candies easily accessible and keeps them in one place.

Second, it is clear that Rav Moshe would not permit one initially (לכתחילה) to eat from dishes that haven’t been immersed. Rav Moshe was addressing a specific situation where one finds himself as a guest in a home where the utensils haven’t been immersed. In fact, Rav Moshe suggests trying to avoid accepting any such invitation in the first place.

Finally, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach disagrees with Rav Moshe’s leniency and rules that a guest may be lenient for an entirely different reason.4

C. The Pickle Jar/Coffee Can Heter

The halachic literature that most closely resembles our issue is that of substantial packaging, such as glass pickle jars or metal coffee cans. These are legitimate utensils, yet the overwhelming majority of poskim5 have ruled that one is not required to empty their contents immediately upon purchasing them in order to immerse them. At first glance, the candy dish seems to be subject to the same leniency. However, a closer look at the logic for the permissibility of the coffee can and pickle jar will reveal that many (if not all) of the arguments made in the case of the coffee can and pickle jar will prove irrelevant in the case of our candy dish. The following is a comprehensive list of arguments made by leading poskim to permit usage of the coffee can and pickle jar without proper immersion. Following each point we will discuss whether the leniency applies equally to a candy dish.6

1. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach7 argues that when a Jewish consumer opens a sealed can, he is creating a utensil at that time. Prior to being filled in the factory, the can has sharp edges that make it dangerous to use. Once sealed, the can becomes unusable because the food is trapped inside. Only when the consumer opens the can does it become useful for the very first time. It is therefore considered a utensil made by a Jew, which does not require immersion at all. (See also Chelkas Yaakov vol. 2 no. 57 who presents a similar line of reasoning).

This leniency clearly has no application to our case of the candy dish (or to a glass pickle jar). In our case the utensil was certainly usable before being filled in the store, and the Jewish consumer makes no changes to the utensil at all.

2. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach offers another reason to permit usage of a coffee can or pickle jar without tevilah. He writes that the consumer never intends to use the jar as a utensil. Therefore, as long as he hasn’t decided to use it long term as a meal utensil it is considered as if he is temporarily using merchandise for a meal.8

This leniency would also not apply to our candy dish. The glass dishes sold in the candy stores typically sell for at least double the price of the same candies sold in a plastic dish. The clear intent is to provide a dish that can be used long term.

3. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, YD 2:40, 137) provides a third reason to be lenient with the pickle jar or coffee can. He argues that in these cases one is only interested in purchasing the food. That fact that it comes packaged in a utensil is insignificant, as the utensil is subordinate (batel) to the food. Only when, and if, the consumer decides to use it again, does it become an actual utensil. As a result the Jewish consumer is the one who actually produced the utensil, thereby exempting it from any requirement of tevilah. Rav Shlomo Zalman Braun (Shaarim Metzuyanim BaHalacha 37:8) similarly argues that the utensil may be deemed insignificant in light of the clear primacy of the food. He points to a Gemara (Eiruvin 66b) that states that although one may only use maaser sheini funds to purchase food, one may purchase wine in a cask with the maaser sheini money. Apparently we ignore the value of the cask when determining how the maaser sheini money was spent because it is negligible when compared with the primary status of the wine.

This leniency would also not apply to our case of the candy dish. As noted above, the fancier candy dishes typically cost more than the food they contain. Additionally, someone interested in only purchasing the food can purchase the same food for a fraction of the price in the same store, albeit in a plastic container. It is impossible to argue that the utensil is secondary to the food.

4. Rav Yakov Breisch (Chelkas Yoav vol. 2 no. 57) and the Pri HaSadeh (vol. 3 no. 109) suggest that the reason we are not required to immerse coffee cans is that the purchaser never intends to purchase the can, only the contents. He cites a comment of the Taz (OC 448:3) that we assume a Jew would have no interest in acquiring that which is forbidden. The Jew would never intend to purchase a utensil that he has no plans of immersing, since using it would be forbidden. The fact that the purchaser discards the can after the first use is a clear indication that he has no interest in the utensil. Rav Breisch contends that the Jewish owned factory need not concern itself with the problem of filling the utensil with food because the factory does not have the halachic capacity to effect a proper immersion and the consumer will not be in violation of any prohibition so long as he does not intend to acquire the item.

This leniency would also not apply to our case. The purchaser clearly intends to purchase the candy dish, as is evident from his continued use of the utensil.

5. Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin, in a brief and cryptic response,9 writes that when one purchases a utensil that is already filled with food, one need not empty its contents immediately since you are using it passively (shev ve’al taaseh), which is not an active violation of the mitzvah of tevilas keilim.

The applicability of this leniency to our case would depend on how one understands it. Perhaps Maharil Diskin means to say that the only prohibition is for a Jewish person to place the food into the utensil. Using a utensil that already has food is not considered at all problematic. If this is his intention, it would seem to apply equally to our case of the candy dish. The logic for such a ruling would be that the real issur of using non-immersed dishes is in placing food into the dishes, not in usage of the dishes during the course of a meal – an assertion that is difficult to accept without substantial proof.

Maharil Diskin may simply mean that so long as one is not actively using the utensil, it does not require tevilah. When unpacking groceries, it is not necessary to immediately empty the coffee cans for immersion. Instead, one may put them away in the pantry until the time comes to use it. At that point, though, one may certainly not eat straight from the non-immersed utensil. If this is Maharil Diskin’s intention, the candy dish would similarly be prohibited to use at a meal.

6. Rav Moshe Shternbuch10 writes that the reason we have always been lenient to use pickle jars and coffee cans is that they are technically not considered meal utensils and therefore do not require tevilah at all. Only utensils that are used either in the preparation or eating of the food are considered meal utensils. Indeed, Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth11 writes that one may only rely on the aforementioned leniency of Maharil Diskin for coffee cans when combining with this additional lenient consideration as well. Rav Neuwirth cites this leniency from the Misgeres HaShulchan12 who rules that any bottle that is neither used during the cooking or eating of a meal is not considered meal utensils and would not require tevilah. This additional leniency does not apply to candy dishes since we eat directly from them at the table. Rav Neuwirth implied that Maharil Diskin’s leniency insufficient grounds on its own for leniency.

This leniency clearly does not apply to our case of a candy dish which is used at the table during the course of a meal. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach13 ruled that even wine bottles that one does not drink from, but are used to pour wine into smaller cups, are considered meal utensils since they are brought to the table. Certainly a candy dish which is both brought to the table and eaten from directly would qualify as meal utensils.

7. Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg14 offers a final reason for leniency in the case of the coffee can and pickle jar. He argues that one is indeed required to empty the can or jar after purchase. However, when emptying there is no prohibition to eat the food as he is emptying from the can/jar. There is also no timeframe within which the can/jar must be emptied. Rav Weinberg argues, therefore, that slow usage over time, where one eats from the jar, is just a slower way to empty it prior to tevilah.

While this leniency would seem to apply equally to our case of the candy dish, Rav Weinberg was not comfortable to rely on this logic alone. Instead, he suggests that one have specific intention not to acquire the utensil whenever purchasing a can of coffee or a jar of pickles. In this way, the utensil remains in the possession of the non-Jew and never requires tevilah. Clearly, most people who purchase candy dishes have the express intent to purchase the dish along with the candy.

Perhaps Rav Weinberg was not entirely comfortable with this leniency because a clear distinction can be made between one who empties the entire contents of a dish at once and one who brings it to a dining room table to present dessert in an appealing way. The former may not be considered usage, while the latter is certainly considered usage as meal utensils. Indeed, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach15 explicitly disagrees with Rav Weinberg’s leniency. Rav Auerbach suggests a slightly more nuanced leniency, arguing that there is no prohibition to eat from a container that was pre-filled with food. However, any action taken to use the container as a legitimate utensil, such as heating up the food while still in the container, would be prohibited prior to tevilah. While not abundantly clear, it would seem from Rav Auerbach’s statement that serving a beautiful candy dish as part of a dessert to a table full of company would be prohibited, as it is an active use of the utensil.

D. Store Toveling

The simplest solution to this problem would seem to be that the store should immerse all of their utensils before filling them with food. Upon closer examination, however, this solution appears to be insufficient. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 120:8) writes that one who purchases utensils with which to cut parchment (and not for meal usage) is not obligated to immerse them. The Taz (no. 10) cites the Beis Yosef who says that the same would hold true even for one who purchases “food utensils” to sell, rather than to use themselves in the context of a meal. Such utensils would be labeled merchandise and not meal utensils and would therefore be exempt from tevilah. Rav Yitzchak Weiss16 notes that for this reason a store cannot immerse the utensils; they are the store’s merchandise. Rav Weiss17 explains that it is useless to immerse a utensil that is exempt from the requirement. Immersing it will not exempt it from further tevilah after it becomes designated a meal utensil. He proves this assertion from a comment of the Taz (ibid.). The Taz notes a debate among Rishonim whether one who borrows utensils from a Jewish storekeeper is obligated to immerse them. Considering the debate, the Taz recommends immersing the utensils without reciting a bracha. However, the Taz states that when the storekeeper ultimately sells the utensils, the purchaser must immerse them again, but without a bracha, in deference to the opinion that the utensils did not require immersion when they were immersed the first time. The implication is that if the borrower had no obligation when he immersed the utensils, the purchaser will be required to immerse them again. Apparently, an immersion at a time that the utensil is exempt has no effect whatsoever. We may conclude that tevilah of utensils is fundamentally different from tevilah to purify an object. When an object is purified through tevilah, it is clear that the absence of an obligation does not affect the tevilah. However, the tevilah of utensils is only effective once the obligation sets in.

Rav Breisch18 absolves a store of any responsibility to immerse utensils that it sells to Jews since the store is only using the utensils as merchandise. However, it would seem to be a violation of lifnei iveir (placing a stumbling block in front of the blind) to sell a utensil that requires tevilah to a Jewish consumer who will likely not do so.19 Since the average recipient of a gift, even if normally scrupulous about immersing utensils, may not realize that the candy dish that came full of candies will require tevilah the store bears some responsibility to inform the consumer. Indeed, in an OU document, Rav Hershel Schachter and Rav Yisroel Belsky have ruled that a kosher supervision agency cannot in good conscious put their seal of approval on a product that the consumer is likely to use without realizing that it requires tevilah.

Rav Asher Weiss20 disagrees with Rav Yitzchak Weiss and maintains that although a store is exempt from immersing the utensils that it sells, if it does immerse the utensils, the immersion permits the consumer to use the utensil without further immersion. Rav Weiss cautions that it is best that a store that sells utensils not immerse them, since a bracha may not be recited for the tevilah done by the store. However, given our case of a store that is selling utensils with food already in them, it would seem that the best option may be for the store to immerse the utensils.

E. Corporations

An additional lenient consideration may be in determining the status of a publicly owned corporation. Tevilas Keilim (p. 64 n. 1*) cites the ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein that if Jews do not have a controlling interest in the corporation, even if they are shareholders, the company’s utensils are considered to be made by gentiles. On the other hand, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach rules that a corporation is considered an independent entity that is neither Jewish nor gentile. Whether the utensil purchased from a corporation requires tevilah may depend on whether the primary obligation of tevilah is due to bringing the utensil into Jewish ownership or due to removing the utensil from gentile ownership. If the former is true, utensils purchased from corporations should require tevilah. If the latter is true they would not require tevilah. Rav Hershel Schachter rules that utensils purchased from a corporation should be immersed without a bracha, out of concern that there is no tevilah requirement when purchasing from a corporation. Rav Schachter’s opinion notwithstanding, it seems that the majority of poskim rule that utensils purchased from corporations where Jews do not have a controlling interest, would require tevilah with a bracha.

III. The Solutions

Even if one concludes, based on the arguments presented, that a nice candy dish indeed requires tevilah prior to use, we may still suggest several creative solutions to allow a store to sell glass and metal dishes pre-packed with candy. Some of these solutions may not be very practical and others have halachic weaknesses. Some of these solutions involve the store immersing the utensil prior to filling it while others require no tevilah before the first usage.

A. The solutions that don’t seem to work

1. No Direct Touching

The Aruch HaShulchan (YD 120:32) rules that any utensil that does not come into direct contact with the food does not require tevilah. Some have suggested that one can easily solve our problem by lining the dish with a napkin or plastic to ensure that the utensil does not touch the food. However, Tevilas Keilim (ch. 1 n. 7) points out that the halacha is not fundamentally about whether the food actually touches the plate, but whether the utensil is a meal utensil. Part of the definition of meal utensil is that it is made to be used with direct contact to the food. Therefore, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach21 rules that a utensil that is primarily used with a plastic partition between the food and the utensil (such as the holders for bags of milk in Israel) does not require tevilah because it is not a meal utensil. But those utensils that are primarily used with direct contact between the utensil and the food require tevilah, even if a napkin or plastic is used.

2. Having a Party

If the store were to use the utensils as meal utensils before selling them, perhaps the store would have the right to do the tevilah. This would mean that the employees of the store would have to use each of the candy dishes before selling them. It seems, however, that this option is neither practically nor halachically viable. On a practical level, it is difficult to imagine how a place of business will find a use for such a high volume of utensils. On a halachic level, the status of the utensils depends on their primary use. Even if the store uses each utensil once, their primary use for the utensils are for business, thereby labeling the utensils as merchandise for which tevilah is both unnecessary and ineffective.

3. Not Acquiring

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach22 rules that if you never intend to acquire the utensil, it is considered ownerless and exempt from the tevilah requirement. Once you acquire it, though, rendering it ownerless does not remove the requirement because when you use the item it is clear that you are re-acquiring it. If the customer has in mind not to purchase the utensil, it may never become obligated in tevilah. This solution too seems both practically and halachically flawed. On a practical level, it would be difficult to explain to each customer (and each recipient of the dish as a gift) that they should have in mind not to acquire the item. Halachically, it is questionable whether one can specifically pay extra for a nicer dish, bring it home and use it like all his other dishes, and still claim that he has never acquired it.

4. Third Party Acquisition

The store may be able to have a third party (perhaps the mashgiach) acquire the utensils on behalf of the consumer and then do the tevilah for the customer. Although the store does not yet know which customer will buy which utensil, perhaps we may rely on the concept called breira, retroactive clarification. In this case, the acquisition is made by the third party for whomever should buy this utensil. The advantage of making the consumer the owner of the utensil prior to filling it is that as soon as the customer owns the utensil, it becomes a meal utensil that is eligible for tevilah. One potential problem with this solution is that we only rely on breira for rabbinic obligations, not biblical.23 While tevilah of glass utensils is only rabbinic, which would allow us to rely on breira, this solution will not work for metal utensils, which are biblically obligated in tevilah.24

B. The solutions that are likely to work

1. Relying on Rav Asher Weiss

As noted above, Rav Asher Weiss rules that tevilah of merchandise is effective, even if normally not recommended. Given the lack of other options it would seem that Rav Weiss would acknowledge that the store doing the tevilah is the best option in our case of a pre-packed candy dish. While the Rav Yitzchak Weiss clearly rejects this possibility, one may choose to rely on Rav Asher Weiss in this unusual circumstance.

2. Special Order

The author of Sefer Shiurei Halacha Al Purim25 writes that he asked Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach whether, in a situation in which the buyer has paid for the item but not yet done any formal acquisition, the store may then do the tevilah for the buyer. Rav Shlomo Zalman ruled that while payment alone does not effect a transaction, it suffices to turn the utensil into meal utensils. Similarly, Ohalei Yeshurun (p. 64 n. 212) cites the ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein that as soon as a purchaser expresses clear intent to buy an item, it is classified as a meal utensil and is therefore ready for tevilah. A viable solution may be to have stores only sell glass and metal candy dishes with advance orders. Once the item is ordered and payment is made, the store can immerse the dish on behalf of the customer. While this may prove tedious for the store, it is a halachically viable option.

3. Other Materials

A simple solution is that stores be careful not to use glass or metal utensils in these pre-packaged gifts. There is a wide selection of beautiful dishes that may not require tevilah at all. Wooden utensils and pottery utensils do not require tevilah.26 If stores limit their stock to those decorative utensils that do not require tevilah, they may offer less of a selection but avoid the tevilah problem. Indeed, a visit to one of the popular candy stores in the Five Towns reveals that the vast majority of the expensive candy arrangements use dishes that do not require tevilah.

4. Filling the Utensils with Packaged Goods

Another solution is to fill the utensils with separately packaged goods (e.g. bag of potato chips, individually wrapped sucking candies, plastic bags filled with candy). These items will be eaten from their wrappers, not straight from the dish. However, the utensil should have a sticker indicating that it hasn’t been immersed, informing the consumer that it may not be used for direct usage until immersed.

IV. Opinions of Poskim

Rav Hershel Schachter has ruled that candy dishes require tevilah even before the first usage. The recipient is obligated to empty out the contents and immerse the utensil before eating anything from the plate. While this ruling was delivered orally, there is written evidence of Rav Schachter’s stringent ruling on this issue. In an OU document27 Rav Schachter ruled that a company that wanted to sell pre-filled salt shakers cannot be given a kosher certification because the consumer assumes that the certification permits normal use of the item, while the salt shaker would need to be emptied and immersed before being used. The parallel between the case of the salt shaker and that of the candy dish is clear – both are being sold primarily as a utensil and only contain food to provide for a more complete gift. Both will be used again after the initial product is empty. In both cases, Rav Schachter and Rav Belsky, the two leading poskim for the leading kashrus organization in America, have ruled stringently. Rav Yosef Eisen reports that this is also Rav Feivel Cohen’s view. Therefore, the solutions proposed above seem like the best avenues for selling this type of “Shabbos gift.”

  1. There is an abundance of literature on the similar, but different question, of using utensils that are sold as packaging for food and are meant to be discarded after their initial use (see HaMaor, Kislev 5715 for extensive discussion of this question). ↩
  2. R. Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halachos 7:111) argues vehemently, against the majority of leading poskim, that the number of times a utensil is used is irrelevant in determining its status as a bona fide utensil. He assumes that an aluminum pan would require tevilah even though it is commonly used just once before being disposed of. ↩
  3. LeTorah VeHoraah, issue 2 p. 20, cited in Tevilas Keilim, ch. 3 n. 24 ↩
  4. Quoted in Tevilas Keilim, ch. 3 n. 20. Rav Auerbach suggests that since the owner of the house is the one who is required to immerse the utensil, and not the guest, we may permit the guest to remove the food from the utensil and eat it. Although removing food to eat immediately is generally considered to be normal usage of a utensil, and a utensil borrowed from a fellow Jew still requires tevilah, Rav Auerbach argues that we can be lenient for a guest, who has not violated the mitzvah, to eat the food as he removes it from the plate. It should be noted that both Rav Auerbach and Rav Feinstein prohibit using the cutlery to eat the food, as using the cutlery would involve the guest actively bringing the food into contact with non-immersed utensils. Similarly, if the food is served on serving platters Rav Auerbach would prohibit placing the food on one’s personal plate, as this would entail bringing the food into contact with a utensil that has not been immersed. ↩
  5. With the notable exception of the Chazon Ish ↩
  6. It should be noted that in situations where multiple reasons are given to be lenient, the reasons are often not independently accepted. Only the combination of the various reasons can serve to create enough doubt to be lenient. The Chacham Tzvi (73) writes that when a previous authority is lenient based on a combination of reasons, one may never assume that each reason alone would be enough cause for leniency. See also Machatzis HaShekel 453; Shu”t Bris Avraham, OC 54, EH 92; Shu”t Levushei Mordechaimahadura tinyana YD 139, 86; Chelkas Yaakov, vol. 1 no. 52; Shu”t Divrei Yoel, YD 35; Noda BiYehudah, YD 215. It is therefore entirely possible that even if some of the reasons to be lenient with the pickle jar are applicable to our case, it will still not yield enough cause for leniency. ↩
  7. Cited in Sefer HaKashrus ch. 4 n. 80 ↩
  8. Minchas Shlomo vol. 2 no. 66 ↩
  9. Shu”t Maharil DiskinKuntres Acharon, no. 5 par. 136 ↩
  10. Tshuvos Vehanhagos vol. 1 no. 447 ↩
  11. Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasah, ch. 9 n. 49 in revised edition ↩
  12. On Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 37:6 ↩
  13. Quoted in Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasah, cited above ↩
  14. HaMaorKislev 5715 ↩
  15. Cited in Tevilas Keilim, ch. 4 n. 14 ↩
  16. Minchas Yitzchak, vol. 1 no. 44 ↩
  17. Minchas Yitzchak, vol. 8 no. 70 ↩
  18. Chelkas Yaakov, vol. 2 no. 57 ↩
  19. For further discussion of this point see (Tshuvos VeHanhagos vol. 1 no. 467) who distinguishes between a situation where the recipient may not immerse the utensil and a situation where he certainly will not immerse the utensil. See Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s tshuvah in Tevilas Keilim (pp. 239-240), where he presents an innovative reason to permit sale of utensils to people whom we suspect will not immerse their utensils. ↩
  20. Minchas Asher, Bamidbar 68:4 ↩
  21. Cited in Tevilas Keilim, ch. 1 n. 7 ↩
  22. Minchas Shlomo, vol. 2 no. 66 ↩
  23. See Beitzah 39 ↩
  24. It would seem that sets of mishloach manos put together for shul members may be immersed by the members of the mishloach manos committee on behalf of the eventual recipients. Since there is a known pool of recipients, even though at the time of tevilah it is not yet known who will receive each dish, it would seem that acquisition on their behalf would be operative. Additionally, the dishes are not considered merchandise for the members of the committee. They are meal utensils that are purchased for somebody else to use, similar to a restaurant owner or a caterer who certainly are required to immerse their utensils. ↩
  25. Mishloach Manos, p. 36 ↩
  26. See Shulchan Aruch, YD 120:6-7. ↩
  27. Document A-176 ↩

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Quinoa Infestation Alert Thu, 19 Dec 2019 17:26:30 +0000 The Star-K has issued an extremely important alert regarding insect infestation in Brown Rice and Quinoa. As per the below alert; the Vaad HaKashrus does not recommend using Brown Rice or Quinoa without: A mesh strainer (30 mesh) that does not allow the food item to fall through the holes of the strainer. Watching the videos […]

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The Star-K has issued an extremely important alert regarding insect infestation in Brown Rice and Quinoa.

As per the below alert; the Vaad HaKashrus does not recommend using Brown Rice or Quinoa without:

  1. A mesh strainer (30 mesh) that does not allow the food item to fall through the holes of the strainer.
  2. Watching the videos for inspection.

In the event, that even one insect is found (dead or alive), the entire batch should not be used.  One insect is likely indicative of more insects present. 

BROWN RICE sold in the Northeastern USA has been found to be infested due to issues in the distribution chain and storage. According to our continued research, this issue is more widespread than previously thought. Affected batches were found in markets from NY to Maryland.

Our research is ongoing and we will issue updates as warranted. In the interim, we are recommending that consumers in the affected areas check all brown rice prior to use, using the following procedure:

  • Place brown rice in a fine mesh strainer. Shake for 25-30 seconds over a light box or white paper. • Examine the surface of the lightbox or paper under a strong light for any insect presence. Our research identified booklice and mites as the most common insects.

QUINOA has also been found to be infested for the same reason as brown rice. Quinoa in general seems to be more susceptible to infestation than other similar grains. The problem was mainly found in quinoa that had been stored for over a year (i.e., it had been packed more than a year prior). Quinoa packed within the year was generally not infested.

However, due to differences in each company’s date coding, we are recommending that all quinoa be checked prior to use, in the same manner as for brown rice above.

Brown Rice Video Inspection:

Quinoa Video Inspection:


Video of infestation link:    


Link to OU alert –


Feel free to reach out to our office with any questions.

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Travel Article Thu, 05 Sep 2019 08:36:23 +0000 The post Travel Article appeared first on Vaad Hakashrus.

The post Travel Article appeared first on Vaad Hakashrus.