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Do electric appliances need to be dunked (toveled) in a mikva?

Obviously, if the parts that touch the food are removable (e.g. an electric mixer's bowl and blade, or a blender's carafe, or the removable plates on the recent models of "George Foreman" grill), then I just remove those and dunk them in a mikva.

But what if the appliance doesn't come apart? Like a toaster, or an old-style George Foreman grill? Then what do I do?

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3 Answers

As a child, when my parents would buy a sandwich maker or something of the sorts, we would give the ownership to our Non-Jewish friend and use it in our house. Our friend always gave us permission to use it ;)

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Thanks for this answer to the last part of the question, and welcome to the site: I hope you stick around and enjoy it. –  msh210 Jan 3 '13 at 21:54
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TL;DR: Consult your LOR.


The CRC's website has a convenient chart of items that need toiveling, and for those that can't be toiveled, what should be done. For example:

  • Coffee Maker - Glass parts - Tevilla. Machine - "clean well, do not use for 24 hours, and then run through one cycle"

(Note that the CRC includes this paragraph:)

Under no circumstances may something be kashered if there is a concern that it’ll break, as this might lead the person performing the kashering to be apprehensive and therefore not perform the kashering properly.For this reason, some items are listed as not being eligible for kashering even if technically there is a way that kashering can be done.

They do not mention George Foremans, unfortunately. Luckily, the Star K does:

  • George Foreman Grill - Tevila w/o Brocha
  • Toaster which will not break - Tevila w/o Brocha

The Kof-K says pretty much the same thing as Shalom did:

Electric Items

There is a dispute among the poskim if electric utensils require tevilah. Some say electric appliances are not considered utensils and do not require tevilah at all since they are regarded as being attached to the ground (while plugged in). Others say being plugged in is not considered attached to the ground. Others say since electric appliances may get ruined by toveling them there is no obligation to do so. Others say one should take it apart and have a yid should put it back together. In this situation one would not be obligated to tovel the utensil since it is considered as if the yid created a new utensil. Others say that one should tovel such utensils and they will not get ruined if they are left to dry for 24 hours before being used. This is the custom of many people.

(I've omitted the sources, but they're all at that link.)


From Kashrut.com:

  • Grill (electric “George Forman ” ) - tevilah - b’rachah
  • Toaster - tevilah - no b’rachah (Some poskim contend that it requires no tevilah. Consult your Rav.)

From Chabad.org:

The obligation to immerse vessels also applies to electrical appliances used in food preparation that touch the food directly (for example: a toaster, deep fryer, George Foreman Grill, or electric kettle). Experience has shown that electric appliances can be safely immersed if, after the immersion, one allows them to dry for three days before plugging them in. To speed up this process, one can direct a fan at the area of the motor.

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Isn't your first half of your answer off topic (the question asked aboutTevilah, not Kashering)? –  Seth J Apr 29 '12 at 22:26
    
@SethJ the CRC seems to cover both, and to mix the terms a bit. –  HodofHod Apr 29 '12 at 22:43
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That is odd that they'd mix them up. –  Seth J Apr 29 '12 at 22:47
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Firstly, an appliance made by a Jew doesn't need to be dunked in a mikva. If you can "break" and then "fix" the appliance yourself, that works. (What's called "breaking" and "fixing"?)

I've seen some electric pump pots that say on them "made by a Jew, doesn't need dunking in a mikva, don't dunk me!"

But otherwise, here are three answers I've heard from different rabbis:

  • Yes it needs to be dunked in the mikva. Anything without a microchip should work okay afterwards if you give it a very long time to dry properly. (Although these days, more and more appliances contain microchips.)
  • It should, but because of the risk of electrocution, don't.
  • Anything that plugs into the wall is considered "connected to the ground", is insusceptible to "tum'ah", and therefore needs not be dunked in the mikva.
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The third answer is the Shittah of Rav Moshe ZT"L. –  Yahu Apr 22 '10 at 17:23
    
Breaking does not mean that it can not work. As long as what you are doing affects the vessel in a 3 dimensional manner, e.g. adding on or engraving, then it is considered a vessel you made. It goes to follow that unscrewing a screw, taking it out, reinserting and tightening it would be enough. –  Yahu Apr 22 '10 at 17:26
    
Do you guys have a source for the breaking solution? Is it universally accepted? This sounds quite handy. –  Isaac Moses Apr 22 '10 at 18:23
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Are you sure about that? I thought I recall seeing somewhere that it has to be something that is "maaseh uman" - that only a craftsman would be able to fix. –  Alex Apr 22 '10 at 18:40
    
maasah uman is a whole other discussion... Something that in the old days when tools were scarce is commonly done today by many due to availability of tools and information - is that no longer maaseh uman? –  Yahu Apr 22 '10 at 19:33
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