dinonline (here) writes that

The hagalah [koshering of non-kosher utensils] should be done before the tevila [immersion in a mikve].

Are there other sources saying so? Are there sources saying the reverse is also possible?

I do not understand the rationale for the above and would like to know more.

2 Answers 2


Avodah Zarah 75b:

ת"ר הלוקח כלי תשמיש מן העובדי כוכבים דברים שלא נשתמש בהן מטבילן והן טהורין דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י צונן כגון כוסות וקתוניות וצלוחיות מדיחן ומטבילן והם טהורין דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י חמין כגון היורות הקומקמוסון ומחמי חמין מגעילן ומטבילן והן טהורין דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י האור כגון השפודין והאסכלאות מלבנן ומטבילן והן טהורין

The Rabbis taught in a Braisa: Utensils nought from a non-Jew which were never used, immerse them and they are pure. Ones used with cold food, [...] rinse them and immerse them and they are pure. Ones used with hot food, [...] perform Hag’alah and immerse them and they are pure. Ones used with fire, [...] perform Libbun and immerse them and they are pure.

The discussion revolves around whether this Braisa is specific when it says Hag’alah and Libbun are done before immersion.

Rosh, Avodah Zarah 5:34:

ודברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י חמין כגון יורות וקומקמוסים ומחמי חמין מגעילן ומטבילן והן טהורין. דברים שנשתמש בהן ע"י האור כגון השפודין והאסכלאות מלבנן ומטבילן והן טהורין. פי' רשב"ם דוקא מגעילן או מלבנן תחילה. אבל הטביל תחלה הוי כטובל ושרץ בידו.

”Things which were used with hot food, [...] perform Hag’alah and immerse them and they are pure. Things which were used with fire, [...] perform Libbun and immerse them and they are pure.” The Rashbam explains it’s specifically kashering it first, but if he immersed first, it’s like one who immersed while holding a sheretz.

ולא נהירא דהך טבילה לא משום טומאה דאפילו חדשים צריכים טבילה. אלא גזירת הכתוב הוא אם ירצה יטבילנה וישתמש בה צונן. וכשירצה להשתמש בו חמין יגעילנה. ויש הכשר לחצאין כדאמר במתניתין הסכין שפה והיא טהורה. ואע"פ שצריך עדיין להגעיל לחתוך בה צונן ולא יצא מטומאה ולגמרי.

This is not clear, as this immersion is not because of impurity, as even new things need to be immersed. Rather, it’s a Gezeiras HaKasuv that if he wants he can immerse it and use it cold, and if he wants to use it hot, he must perform Hag’alah. It is possible to kasher something halfway, as we say in the Mishnah, “A knife - polish it and it is pure,” even though he still needs to perform Hag’alah to cut cold things with it, and the impurity didn’t leave it entirely.

ועוד ראיה מדאמר בזבחים פרק דם חטאת (זבחים דף צג.) נדה מזין עליה והיא טהורה. וכי היכי דהזאה מועילה בימי נידות ה"נ מהניא טבילה מקמי הגעלה. והאי דנקט הגעלה תחילה משום דהוא עיקר הכשר פליטת האיסור. ועוד משום דגבי צונן איצטריך למתני מדיחן מקמי טבילה משום חציצה:

Another proof from that which we said in Zevachim 93a: “A Niddah - we sprinkle on her and she is pure.” Just like sprinkling works even during her days of being a Niddah, so, too, immersion will work before Hag’alah. This that it picked Hag’alah first is because that’s the main part of the Kashering process, removing the prohibition. Further, because by cold food it needed to teach to rinse them before immersing them, due to [the residue being] a separation [between the Mikva water and the utensil].

Ritva to Yevamos 47b DH Shihuyei Mitzvos

ותדע דהלוקח כלים מן העכו"מז שצריכים להטביל ולהגעיל הגעלה קודמת ואע"ג דהתם בדיעבד אם הקדים טבילה יצא

You should know, one who buys utensils from an isolated that need to be immersed and kashered, the kashering comes first, but even though there, after the fact, if he immersed first, he fulfills his obligation.

So we have two main opinions:

  1. Rashbam - Kashering must be performed first, by comparison to one who immerses while holding a sheretz, who doesn’t become pure.
  2. Rosh - Kashering does not need to be performed first, by comparison to a Niddah who can be sprinkled upon before her Niddah period is finished. Halfway Kashering is a thing, as proven by the case of the knife.
    2a. Ritva - Ideally one should kasher first, but it’s fine if he does it second. Doesn’t explain his reasoning.

Accordingly, the Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 121:2):

לקח מהם כלים שנשתמש בהם בחמין בין שהם של מתכת או של עץ או אבן מגעילן ואחר כך מטבילן אם הם של מתכת והם מותרים ואם הטבילן ואחר כך הגעילן מותרים ויש אומרים שצריך לחזור ולהטבילן:

If he bought from them utensils which had been used with hot food, whether made of metal, wood, or stone, he must perform Hag’alah, and then immerse them if they’re made of metal, and they are permitted. If he immersed them and then performed Hag’alah, they are permissible, but some say that he needs to go back and immerse them.

In other words: he rules like the Rosh/Ritva, but quotes the Rashbam as a “some say.”

  • Thanks for this. I asked R Binyamin Tabady who told me that in practice one should go back and immerse but without a blessing. The tension is that, one one hand, the utensil is not called a utensil before one can use it, therefore tevila before hagala doesn't help, on the other it is permitted to use once (and in a non-regular manner) a non-kosher utensil if used cold.
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 4:08
  • @mbloch odd that he'd say that, since neither of those reasons are the ones Rishonim actually say for their positions.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 4:29

Both opinions are quoted in Shulchan Arukh YD 121:2. Commentaries there discuss reasons, background and applications.

  • Thanks for the reference
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 12:53
  • 2
    @mbloch if I had known what Doniel was planning I probably wouldn't have bothered :) be sure to see the discussion about intending to use vessels for cold only, so they are effectively kosher already
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 16:24

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