Halacha for Monday 22 Adar 5777 March 20 2017

The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

In the previous Halachot, we have explained that one should not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since they have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Since the laws of koshering vessels for Pesach are difficult both from a halachic and a practical perspective, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l has arranged these laws for us in a clear and concise manner in his lectures as well as in his works.

A vessel is koshered in the same manner it is generally used, for we have a rule, “The same way it absorbs is the same way it releases.” Therefore, any vessel which is used for cooking, such as a pot, the method of koshering it is the same way it is used, i.e. a process called “Hag’ala” which is immersing it in a pot of boiling water. The boiling water must be in “Keli Rishon” (meaning that the vessel must be immersed into boiling water which is in the original vessel where the water was boiled in and is still on the flame; however, one should not perform Hag’ala in a vessel which the water was not originally boiled in and was merely poured into from the original vessel which was on the fire, for this vessel is not considered a “Keli Rishon” and is merely a “Keli Sheni.” The water in a “Keli Sheni” is not considered boiling enough to cause the vessel immersed into it to release its Chametz flavor). Thus, knives, spoons, and the like can be koshered by immersing them into water boiled in a pot on the flame or an electric kettle by first immersing one end of the knife followed by the other end. (If the handle of the knife is made of wood, it cannot be koshered through Hag’ala.)

Before performing Hag’ala, one must clean the vessel thoroughly and make sure no residue or rust remains.

Skewers and spits which are used with fire but without liquids must be torched with fire until sparks emerge, i.e. when the metal turns red. The same applies to a “Wonder Pot” which is used to bake Chametz cakes throughout the year which can only be koshered by torching it with fire until the metal turns red-hot. Usually, this is not practical with regards to pots and one must therefore purchase new pots for Pesach. Nevertheless, a pot which was used only for cooking Chametz throughout the year can be koshered with Hag’ala as we have explained.

The grate, which is the square or round metal piece which the pots and pans sit on the stovetop during cooking, should be koshered by cleaning it well and immersing it into boiling water in a Keli Rishon. However, if one pours boiling water from a Keli Rishon onto it, it is nevertheless koshered and is then permissible for use on Pesach.

In the next Halacha, we shall, G-d-willing, discuss this matter further.

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