Halacha Date: 24 Tammuz 5777 July 18 2017
In the previous Halacha, we have explained that vessels and utensils bought from a non-Jew, for instance, when a non-Jew produced them, require immersion in a Mikveh before use. However, only vessels that are used for a meal, such as cups, plates, bowls, kettles, and the like which are used for eating and drinking purposes, require immersion. Other vessels, such as scissors and the like, do not require immersion in a Mikveh. A nut-cracker would seem to retain the same law as scissors, which is not considered a vessel used as part of a meal even if one uses it to cut vegetables and the like; this is especially true since a nut-cracker only comes in contact with the shell and not with the actual nut. Nevertheless, Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l rules that one should immerse a nut-cracker without reciting a blessing. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that according to the letter of the law, one need not immerse a nut-cracker; however, it is preferable to act stringently and do so without reciting a blessing.
Only vessels made of metal or glass require immersion in a Mikveh, as the Torah states regarding the vessels of Midyan (Bamidbar 31), “However, regarding the gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, and lead etc.” From here we learn that metal vessels bought from a non-Jew require immersion. Our Sages enacted that one must immerse glass vessels in a Mikveh as well, as the Gemara (Avodah Zara 75b) states, “Rav Ashe said: Since when glass is broken it may be repaired, it is similar to metal and requires immersion.” Rashi explains that broken glass can be melted down and formed into a vessel; thus, it retains the same law as metals and requires immersion in a Mikveh.
Earthenware and wooden vessels do not require immersion. Earthenware vessels coated with glass inside and out (such as coffee mugs made of ceramic and china plates, especially those made in the Far East) require immersion with a blessing. If it is only coated with glass on the inside, it requires immersion without reciting a blessing. The laws of porcelain vessels shall be discussed in the next Halacha, G-d-willing.