Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Immersing a New Pot On Shabbos

The Shulchan Aruch (323:7) brings a machlokes whether or not it is permitted to immerse a new pot (that was bought from a non-Jew and thus requires immersion before using it to cook food) on Shabbos.  We typically don't worry about tuma nowadays, so when we think of immersing keilim, we are usually thinking about pots, pans, hot water urns, and the like that we recently acquired or received as a gift.  In order to understand this machlokes, however, we need to be more broad minded.  There are two basic factors that contribute to this machlokes.  First, while pots and pans are keilim, so are blankets and sofas.  Second, there are two reasons one might want to tovel a keili: (1) remove the tuma; (2) allow a cooking utensil that was acquired from a non-Jew to be used.   (More details about what a keili is and under what circumstances it need to be immersed can be found here: A Deep Dive Into T'vila.)

The biur halacha (d.h. mutar l'hatbil v'chulu v'yeish osrim v'chulu) explains the machlokes based on the four reasons given (TB Bei'a 18) that Chazal forbade immersing tamei keilim (vessels/clothing) even on Yom Tov:
  1. Raba says it is a hedge (g'zeira atu) against carrying in a public domain on Shabbos (ie,  against not even within an eiruv because sometimes there isn't an eiruv; not even on Yom Tov because folks sometimes mix up what is allowed on Shabbos with what is allowed Yom Tov).
  2. Rav Yosef says it is a hedge against wringing out clothes after immersion (not even non-absorbent keilim because of absorbent keilim).
  3. Rav Bibi says it to prevent people from keeping tamei pots around their house till they have all that free time on Yom Tov and Shabbos, and in the meantime forgetting themselves and cooking up some yummy t'rumah in a tamei pot.  T'ruma cooked in a tamei pot needs to be destroyed; a serious offence.  (So all Jews because of cohanim.)
  4. Rava says because is similar to repairing a vessel.
The Ri"f brings only the reasons given by Rav Yosef and Rav Bibi.  Note that neither of those reasons apply to pots and pans that need to be immersed before first use.  Rav Yosef's reason doesn't apply, because pots and pans are not absorbent and never need to be wrung out.  Rav Bibi's reason doesn't apply because cooking food in an untoveled pot does not assur the food.  It is certainly forbidden to use that pot (perhaps even d'oraisa), but the food is not damaged in any way.  (Good to know if you are offered coffee cooked by a non-frum Jew using their untovled coffee maker.)  Therefore, the Ri"f paskens it is permissible to immerse pots and pans for first use, even on Shabbos.

Ro"sh paskens that the issur is due to the reasons brought by Raba and Rava.  Both those reasons -- a hedge against carrying in the public domain and because it looks like fixing -- have nothing to do with the use of the keili or why it needs to be immersed.  Hence, the Ro"sh paskens that it is forbidden to immerse pots and pans for first use, even on Yom Tov.

This seems to be one of those cool cases where you can see reflected in halacha l'ma'aseh how the rishonim learned a gemara.  The Ri"f is learning that the four reasons given apply to specifically to the immersion of keilim to m'ta'her them; therefore he only brings the reasons of Rav Yosef and Rav Bibi when it comes to the immersion of new keilim for cooking.  The Ro"sh, on the other hand, is learning that (to paraphrase a not-so-recent-ad-anymore) "keilim are keilim"; the g'zerios immersion to m'ta'her apply equally well to immersion of new cooking vessels.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…