Halacha for Monday 25 Adar 5778 March 12 2018

The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach-Cleaning the Refrigerator

We have explained that on Pesach, one must use vessels and dishes that have not absorbed Chametz, meaning either new vessels (or vessels designated specially for Pesach use) or vessels that have been koshered for Pesach. Usually, the way to kosher a vessel is in the same manner it is normally used.

Koshering Plates
Regarding plates and bowls that hot foods are placed in but are not used as a real “Keli Rishon” (i.e. a vessel with boiling hot liquid directly on the fire or heat source), meaning that when food is placed in them, it is usually dished out of another pot (and this pot was the “Keli Rishon” where the water was actually boiled), their koshering process is in the way it is used, i.e. through pouring boiling water on them from a “Keli Rishon” (for instance, from an electric kettle that water was boiled in) and in this way, it will be permissible to use it on Pesach.

Porcelain or Pottery Vessels
Nevertheless, the above only applies to plates made out of plastic or metal; however, plates made of pottery cannot be koshered for Pesach, for the Torah states that pottery can never release what it has absorbed, as the verse states, “An earthenware vessel that has been cooked shall be broken.” The same applies to ceramic, and china vessels in that they cannot be koshered for Pesach. Once, in the year 5730 (1970) when Maran zt”l was serving as the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Maran zt”l heard that some hall and restaurant owners wished to kosher ceramic dishes for Pesach at which point he sent them a letter stating that according to Halacha, one cannot kosher such dishes for Pesach. Maran zt”l instructed them to purchase new dishes for Pesach and only then would they receive authorization from the rabbinate to open on Pesach. (Yalkut Yosef, Volume 3, page 399)

The Radbaz writes (Volume 3, Chapter 401) that porcelain vessels retain exactly the same law as pottery and it is therefore impossible to kosher it. Several great Poskim concur, including the Peri Chadash, Hagaon Rabbeinu Eliyahu Yisrael in his Sefer Shenei Eliyahu, and Hagaon Rabbeinu Chaim Palagi in his Sefer Mo’ed Le’Kol Chai, among others.

Frying Pans
Regarding pans that are used to fry Chametz foods in oil, there is a disagreement among the Poskim whether it can be halachically considered like a pot that Chametz foods are cooked in and Hag’ala will be sufficient or since not much liquid is used to fry foods in it, it should have the halachic status of skewers which require “Libun,” torching with fire. The custom of Sephardic Jewry is that Hag’ala is sufficient for frying pans (during the rest of the year, if the frying pan absorbed actual prohibited foods, it must be torched with fire even according to the Sephardic custom) while the Ashkenazim customarily require Libun with fire for these pans.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that even according to the Ashkenazi custom, it is not necessary to fire up the pan to such a degree that it turns red-hot; rather, a light Libun, i.e. that it becomes hot enough from the fire that if a straw would come in contact with the pan it would burn, is sufficient.

The Refrigerator
The refrigerator should be thoroughly cleaned so that not even a crumb of Chametz remains and it is then permissible to be used on Pesach without hindrance, for it has never absorbed any Chametz flavor since it is always used with cold foods.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Pausing Silently in the Middle of the Amida Prayer

The Amida prayer must be recited with continuity. One may not interrupt one’s Amida prayer for any reason. In the previous Halacha, we have written that if one begins reciting the Amida prayer and senses a foul odor emanating from a baby and the like, one must stop praying immediately, for......

Read Halacha

Question: What should one do if one senses a foul odor, such as from a baby and the like, while one is standing and reciting the Amida prayer?

Answer: The Torah states, “And your camp shall be holy.” We derive from this verse that one may not pray, recite a blessing, or any other words of holiness when there is something repulsive, such as excrement or a foul odor in the area. Thus, one may not pray when a child is running a......

Read Halacha

Cooking by Non-Jews in Restaurants or Hotels

Question: We have written in the past regarding a restaurant where a Jew ignites the flame in the morning that although a non-Jewish cook places the foods on the fire, it is nevertheless permissible to eat in such restaurants and this does not constitute a prohibition of foods cooked by a non-Jew. R......

Read Halacha

Prayer Texts

The various texts of the prayer found among the various communities of the Jewish nation all have strong and holy roots. Therefore, one should not deviate from the prayer text that one’s forefathers were accustomed to. Hence, a Sephardic individual should not adopt the prayer text of Ashkenazi......

Read Halacha


If One Must Rise Before a Rabbi Every Time He Enters the Room

Question: The custom in our community is to rise every time the rabbi of the synagogue enters the sanctuary. Even if the rabbi enters the synagogue several times, we rise for him every time. Recently though, one of the members of the synagogue raised issue with this and said that the more observant ......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Stand While Kaddish and Barechu are Recited

Question: When the Chazzan or an individual receiving an Aliya to the Torah recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation replies “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must the congregation rise completely or partially or is there n......

Read Halacha

Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, Isra......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b)......

Read Halacha