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Immersing keilim in snow

Question:

Were in lockdown and mikve keilim are closed. I need to immerse new utensils in the mikve. I’m in Canada and there is plenty of snow outside. Can I immerse utensils in the snow? Somebody told me its a possibility. If yes – how exactly I need to get it done? With blessing or not? To fill utensils fully with snow or not? Thanks a lot.

Answer:

It is controversial if we are allowed to tovel thing in the snow or not. If you can manage without the utensil that is best, but if you can’t here is what you can do.

In a situation such as your when you have no other choice and there is no mikvah that you can go to, it is permitted to tovel utensils made of glass in the snow, but not metal utensils. When toveling the utensil, it should be in a place that there is a lot of snow. It is important to make sure that the snow indeed touches all parts of the utensil, the same way we need that the water of the mikva should touch all parts of the utensil. I would suggest that you go to place that the snow is still soft, so that you can make sure that indeed the snow gets to all the outer parts of the utensil. When toveling you would not make a bracha.

Regarding metal utensils, we can’t tovel them in snow, however there is another option, which the poskim say can be done in your situation, since you need the utensil, and there isn’t another option. That is to your husband should make the utensil hefker, by saying (and meaning what you are saying) in front of 3 people, that you are relinquishing ownership of the utensil, and now it is ownerless, you can even inform them via e-mail, text, etc. Additionally, the utensil should be taken out of your property, so that technically anyone can come and take it.  When picking up the utensil again, make sure to have in mind that you are not acquiring the utensil.  Hopefully the mikvaos will open again soon and you should then tovel the utensil in a proper mikva. Without a bracha.

 

Sources:

Y:D 201-30, Shach ibid 71, Chochmas Adom brought in Pischei Teshuva Y:D 120-4, R’ Asher Wiess (Issues regarding Corona) 2-37, Minchas Shlomo 2-66-(15), Rav Schachter on Corona – 2 pg. 6, Poskim. Regarding saying a bracha on the tevila see Piskei Teshuvosv 160 ftnt. 78 however see Chazon Ish 23-12.

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