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Thought for the Day: To Tovel or Not To Tovel...

Let's say -- hypothetically of course -- that you toured an American "beer" brewery.  I am saying hypothetically because what they are able to pass off as beer because of the crazy alcohol taxation policy is barely potable.  At the end of the tour they allow the victims/visitors to taste their concoction, fresh as a daisy and less than 5 hours old from 1000 gallon vats -- in a real, authentic beer glass.  Apparently even they have limits, and so to ease their consciences they allow the tourists to keep the glass.  To tour, then drink, but when one has shuckled off that mortal brew, the glass is his to keep as his own.  Aye, there's the rub!  For once having acquired that coveted kleii, a chiyuv is born.  To tovel and when to tovel, that becomes the question.

First order of business, if this brewery were in Israel, we would have a lot less to worry about.  First, because the beer would be much better.  Second, and more to the point, because you only have to tovel a kleii that is acquired from a non-Jew.  But since you do live and drink in America, at least you have options.

First and best option: have in mind not to acquire the glass till after you have disposed of the beer.  The goy can't force ownership of the glass on you.  He said, "You are welcome to keep the glass."  Moreover, since you really do want that beer now (Lord Knows why), it is not even dishonest to have in mind that you are only using his glass till you finish the beer.  After you are finished, you can take him up on his kind offer and take possession of the glass simply by pulling in toward yourself.

Suppose you didn't have that foresight; now what?  Here is something you can't do: you can't use a keili once before toveling it.  That is mistaken idea some people have based on the fact that an aluminum pan bought to use once does not need to be toveled.  The reason for that halacha is that a disposable item is not halachically a keili (which is why you can't use a paper cup for washing "al n'tilas yadayim" or kiddush).  So it is not that you can use it once before toveling, rather since it will be used only one time, you  were never obligated to tovel it in the first place.  If you change you mind and decide to keep it, then obviously you need to tovel it.

The good news, however, is that an un-toveled keili is not like a treif pot.  The food in that keili is just fine.  This is a very useful fact to know when you have non-frum relatives who want to make fresh coffee for you.  Even they they did not tovel the carafe, you can still drink the coffee.  There are plenty of issues when dealing with non-frum relatives, so it's good to have an area or two where you can accommodating.  (Personally, I found it easier to just have non-Jewish relative.)  In any case, in the current situation one can simply pour the beer into a keili that he doesn't plan to keep.  Then he can have his beer and drink it, too.


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