Question: [Wednesday, 4th Nissan, 5781]
I have read and heard that it is permitted for one to use his regular yearly hot water water urn [i.e. Kumkum, electric Shabbos urn, etc] for Pesach without needing to Kosher it beforehand. Is this correct as I’ve always been careful to have a special one just for Pesach?
Unfortunately, the above is painfully inaccurate, and indeed everyone is encouraged to purchase a new urn to be designated for annual Pesach use, and not use the year-round urn even if it is Koshered. Certainly, there is no room to allow using the year-round urn without it being properly Koshered beforehand, which often is not possible with electric urns, and therefore a new one must be purchased, or one must find alternative ways to heat up his water for Pesach [i.e. a Pesach pot over a flame].
Explanation: Indeed, I as well have heard and seen publicized that water urns do not require Koshering for Pesach being that their only used for water which is not a Chametz ingredient. Unfortunately, while in potential and in theory the above could be correct, in actuality it is greatly inaccurate and those who publicize the above have evidently not taken into account the various ways that people use their water urns, which makes it almost a rarity to ever find a water urn that did not somehow absorb Chametz during the year. The usages that cause the urn to absorb Chametz during the year include:
- The urn was placed down while hot onto Chametz;
- The urn was washed in a sink with hot Chametz
- One had Chametz soak in the urn for 24 hours
- One poured hot water from the urn onto Chametz [such as onto instant noodles, a Chametz soup mix, or he poured the leftover hot water into a Chametz sink]
- One heated a Chametz food, such as bread, on top of the urn
- One placed citric acid in the urn to dissolve the calcium, and the citric acid was not Kosher for Pesach.
- One has worked with flour in his kitchen while the water urn is exposed [i.e. not in the closet], hence causing without doubt some of the flour dust to settle on his water urn.
Only if one is certain that none of the above was done with his water urn throughout the year, such as if throughout the year he was careful to avoid doing so in order so he can use it on Pesach, then technically the above statements that are publicized would be correct and it would not be required to be Koshered. However, realistically speaking, the majority, if not all people have either certainly done some of the above uses, or are at least unsure if they have, and therefore the urn requires Koshering, and if it cant be Koshered than a new one must be purchased.
Accordingly, that which was printed in the most recent Sichat Hashavua that from the letter of the law it is not necessary to Kosher the water urn, is inaccurate and may not be relied upon. We have contacted the author of that article and made him aware of the issues at hand for which he thanked us for bringing it to his attention. Likewise, all of the Rabbanei Chabad in Eretz Hakodesh who we contacted, which included Rav Farkash and Rav Eli Landau Shlita, have agreed with us and stated there’s absolutely no room to use a year-round urn for Pesach and that rather a new one must be purchased. We were told that a clarification would be published in the next week’s Sichat Hashavua.
Sources: See Admur 451:21, 51, 60 and 72; Rama Y.D. 105:3; Darkei Teshuvah 105:96-100; Shach Y.D. 105:23; P”M 173 A”A 1 that it possibly transfers 60x since there is liquid inside; Maharsham 5:76 that it only transfers a Kelipa; Admur 451:26-27 regarding minority versus majority usage and the law Lechtachila versus Bedieved; Even Yisrael 7:21; Piskeiy Teshuvos 451:14; Nitei Gavriel 84:8;