Tevilas Keilim under Quarantine-Giving the vessel to a gentile and then borrowing it back

Audio Part 2

Circumventing the need to Tovel-Giving the vessel to a gentile and then borrowing it back:

Vessels that are borrowed or rented from a gentile do not require immersion.[1] Accordingly, in a case that one is unable to immerse a vessel in a Mikveh, such as on Shabbos or in an area without a Mikveh, he can give the vessel to a gentile and then borrow it back and use it without immersion.[2] However, this only helps to allow one to use the vessels without immersion on temporary basis. It is however forbidden to use the vessels permanently without immersion, even though they are considered borrowed from the gentile. He is to thus immerse the vessel without a blessing [or immerse together with a vessel that requires a blessing[3]] in a Mikveh at his first opportunity.[4] [See Q&A for how long one has]

How to give the gentile the vessels as a gift-Which Kinyan must be done?[5] When a gentile is given a present from a Jew, according to all it suffices for him to carry the object in order for a valid acquisition to take place. [Accordingly, every person who has a gentile adjacent to him and the vessel, can perform the above acquisition with the gentile by simply giving him the vessel and placing it into his hands and then borrowing it back.] If, however, one sells him the item, then additional Kinyanim are needed and it is only to be done through a Rav who is expert in this field. [Thus, if one does not have a gentile adjacent to him and must thus do the acquisition over the phone, and the like, then a Rav is to be contacted. See our Sefer “The Laws & Customs of Pesach” Chapter 5 Halacha 6 for the full details of this subject!]

Tevilas Keilim under Quarantine:

Due to the coronavirus breakout many individuals in many different countries are unable to immerse their new vessels either due to quarantine laws or due to the closing of the Mikvaos. This poses a dilemma especially prior to Passover when it is commonly accustomed to purchase new vessels in honor of the festival. In Halacha, there exists a precise solution for this situation, to temporarily circumvent the need to Tovel the vessel in a Mikveh. This is done through giving the vessels to a gentile as a gift and then borrowing them back, as stated above.

 

Q&A

For how long may one retain the “borrowed” vessel of the gentile without it requiring immersion?

As stated above, the vessel is to be immersed at its first opportunity. This applies even if the vessel is still within 30 days of the borrowing.[6] From some Poskim[7] it can be understood that the maximum limit for this is 30 days, and hence after 30 days, even if the opportunity has still not risen, it becomes forbidden to use the vessel. Practically, however, one may continue to use it even after 30 days so long as a Mikveh has not yet become available.[8]

 

Does it help to be Mafkir the vessels and then take it back from Hefker without intent to acquire?[9]

No.[10] Nonetheless, some Poskim[11] suggest that in a time of need one can be Mafkir the vessel by throwing it into a public area and declaring it Hefker and then take it back with intent to not acquire it. [Practically, one should not rely on this opinion.]

Where to find a gentile to perform the sale:

Not everyone has a gentile available to perform the above-mentioned acquisition. One should try calling his local rabbi or Kashrus organizations to see if he has set up with a gentile the above procedure of acquisition. Otherwise one could do so online for a small fee, using the Israeli Tzomet organization’s sale. The following is the link for their website https://tickchak.co.il/10922/form/tickets. Another possibility is to do so through the Montreal Beis Din using the following link https://mk.ca/mechiras-keilim-form/ 

Other websites: https://mk.ca/mechiras-keilim-form; https://www.chabadhouston.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/4690840/jewish/Mechiras-Keilim-Authorization.htm

 

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[1] Michaber Y.D. 120:8

[2] Michaber Y.D. 120:16 and Admur 323:8 regarding Shabbos; Rama 120:16 that so applies even during the week in an area without a Mikveh; Mordechai Beitza Remez 677

Other opinions: Some Poskim question this allowance to give a vessel as a present to a gentile and then to take it back, as this is not a true acquisition to the gentile and is rather Harama. Additionally, it is forbidden to give a present to a gentile. [Rashbash 468; Pischeiy Teshuvah 120:15] See M”A 13:8 and Yeshuos Yaakov 13:4 who invalidate this option regarding Tzitzis Vetzaruch Iyun as to why they allow it regarding Tevilas Keilim

[3] Taz Y.D. 120/18; Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 6 that this applies even according to Admur, and the reason Admur did not state this explicitly is because he is dealing with a case that one only has this vessel to immerse.

[4] Admur ibid; Taz Y.D. 120:18; Chelkas Binyamon 120/133

The reason: One cannot use the vessel forever on the basis that it belongs to a gentile as when an item remains forever in the hands of the Jew it is similar to him having acquired it. Furthermore, it is similar to a borrowed Tallis which requires Tzitzis after 30 days being that after 30 days it appears as if it belongs to him. Based on this it should be immersed even with a blessing. Nevertheless, since I have not found the matter explicitly ruled in Poskim I am hesitant to rule this way, and rather one should immerse another vessel that requires a blessing together with it. [Yoreh Deah Taz 120/18]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is not necessary to immerse the vessel. [Kneses Hagedola 120]

[5] Admur 448:9

[6] Taz ibid “This Takana is only temporary, meaning for that Shabbos, or on a weekday so long as a Mikveh is not available.”; Implication of Admur ibid who instructs to immerse the vessel after Shabbos.

[7] See Taz ibid who brings a proof regarding Tzitzis that it can only be used without Tzitzis for up to 30 days, from which some Rabbanim understand that past 30 days the allowance become void. Regarding the 30 day period of Tzitzis see: Admur 14:4; Michaber 14:3; Menachos 44a

[8] Setimas Haposkim; See Taz ibid who explicitly writes that one can use it until a Mikveh becomes available, and does not give a time limit of 30 days. His later statement regarding the 30 day period for Tzitzis was simply used as a proof for the idea that one cannot use it forever. As for the difference between Tevilas Keilim versus Tzitzis, one can possibly explain that only by Tzitzis did the sages give a 30-day limitation, while by Tevilas Keilim they did not, as tying Tzitzis to the garment is more feasible then finding a Kosher body of water to immerse the vessels in. See the wording in Admur 14:4 “As after thirty days it appears that the garment belongs to the person, and hence the Sages decreed that it is to have Tzitzis tied to its corners.”; So is also evident from the fact that the M”A 13:8 invalidates the ability to lend the Tzitzis to a friend even though he agrees to the ability to do so by Tevilas Keilim, as he explicitly writes, hence proving a difference between the two and therefore one cannot recruit rulings from Hilchos Tzitzis to that of Tevilas Keilim. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[9] See Minchas Shlomo 2:66-16;  Regarding the ability to not acquire something even though it is in your property by having explicit intent to not acquire it, see: Admur 448:5 [that it helps remove liability]; M”B 448:6; Chok Yaakov 448:8; Mahariy Mintz 82; Mahariy Asad 83; Hamakneh; Beis Meir Sireideiy Eish 2:26; Kaf Hachaim 306:47

[10] Setimas Kol Haposkim; Maharil Diskin Kuntrus Achron 5-136 p. 79; P”M 13 A”A 8 “To make it Hefker was not given as an option as he requires it when he takes it”

The reason: The Shulchan Aruch does not offer this as an option and simply offers the option of giving the vessel to a gentile as a present, as stated above. Seemingly, this is because such an option would be invalid being that he requires it when he takes it, and at the very least it appears as if he has acquired it, and indeed he has total intent to keep the item. [See P”M ibid; Minchas Shlomo ibid]

[11] Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo ibid; See also M”B 13:15; Artzos Hachaim 13; based on advice of brother of M”A

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