Note that a spring is usable as a mikva for some purposes (e.g., a zav or m'tzora's dipping) and in some conditions (viz, with fewer than forty s'a and/or while not pooled) that a mikva is not. Sometimes, though, stuff can happen to spring water, after it has come out of the earth, that renders it no longer considered spring water. For example, Mishnayos Mikvaos 5:2 says:

העבירו על גבי כלים או על גבי ספסל רבי יהודה אומר הרי הוא כמו שהיה רבי יוסי אומר הרי הוא כמקוה ובלבד שלא יטביל על גבי הספסל

If he caused [spring output] to go over [the outsides of] receptacles or over a bench, R. Y'huda says it's [considered a spring] like it was and R. Yose says it's considered a mikva provided he doesn't dip on top of the bench.

Rambam rules (Yad, Mikvaos 9:10) like R. Yose.

(Rash and Rav explain that the tanaim are arguing over whether it's considered a spring so that it doesn't require forty s'a or to be pooled in order to be used as a mikva. Rosh explains that they're arguing over whether it's considered a spring so that it can be used by a zav or a m'tzora.)

The problem here is that one cannot dip in a receptacle. That, Rosh explains, is why R. Yose says the rabbis decreed that one cannot consider this water a spring. And that, too, Rosh and Rav explain, is why one cannot dip on top of the bench.

I can't pretend to know much about mikvaos, but am wondering as follows. It seems that the rabbis decreed against dipping on receptacle-like things. My local mikva for kelim provides a very holey basket for people to put, e.g., cutlery in, so that they don't have to put the pieces in one at a time and so that there is less risk of dropping them to the bottom of the mikva. That seems to me to be a receptacle-like thing that people are dipping in. Is this a problem? Or why is it different from the case in the mishna?

  • What does that even mean, passing it over a receptacle or bench?
    – Scimonster
    Feb 28, 2016 at 7:49
  • @Scimonster, better now?
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2016 at 8:26
  • I think so. Like, putting a bench in the water so that the stream flows over it.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 28, 2016 at 8:33
  • Two points of concern here: it's specifically where A PERSON alters the flow of a spring to create the mikveh - he'eviru. The dispute is whether this deliberate, man-made alteration is sufficient to change the status of the spring water. The second is the misleading statement that "one cannot dip in a receptacle." One MAY dip in a receptacle PROVIDED that it is large enough (40 sa'ah). At that point, the vessel is considered "fixed" and is akin to the ground. Feb 29, 2016 at 14:59
  • One last point that I'm a little less sure of - the issue is using a vessel AS a mikveh (min hatorah we don't require 40 sa'ah for kelim). In a holey basket, the basket itself retains no water. Putting silverware inside a soup pot may be more problematic, as you are relying upon the pot holding the water (which is technically "drawn" from the existing mikveh) in which the silverware is being toveled. Feb 29, 2016 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


Rama writes (YD 201:9):

ומותר לטבול כלים בסל או בשק דכיון דאינו מחזיק מים עדיף טפי מניקב כשפופרת הנאד
It is permitted to dip vessels in a basket or bag for since [the basket or bag] cannot hold water, they are more preferable than a [large enough hole to combine the water in the basket or bag with the Mikva water].

See too Bavli Chagiga 21b-22a.

Your case is brought later (:12) and the Shakh there (sk 35) comments that dipping on the vessels is only prohibited if the stream from the spring entirely flows over the vessels, but if part of the stream is not over the vessels then it is not a problem.

  • "Or why is it different from the case in the mishna?" Your last paragraph is (I think) meant to address this, but I don't really understand what your last paragraph is saying. When I have time I'll b'li neder look up the SA / Rama and Shach.
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2016 at 8:29
  • @msh210 Seems I missed a word in my summary. Is that better or shall I try again? If you want to edit to clarify that would be fine too
    – Double AA
    Feb 28, 2016 at 8:31
  • I'm afraid I still don't see why :12, where (according to מפרשי המשנה) they decreed against dipping on כלי-like things, is different from :9, where that issue is afaict not raised. (In :12, too, water easily gets to the thing you're dipping.) (The Shach :35 is also in some מפרשי המשנה iirc, but I don't see its relevance to my question.)
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2016 at 20:56
  • Btw: Oddly, the En Mishpat–Ner Mitzva in the mishnayos in the back of the g'mara (which is where I found the Yad) didn't mention YD.
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2016 at 20:58
  • @msh210 I can look again, but I thought the Shakh was saying that if the stream is wider than the vessels than there is no Gezera at all. It's only if the stream is narrower than the vessels that you can't dip on above the vessels. As in, only in the bottom case is the green are no good for dipping i.sstatic.net/zxIgd.jpg
    – Double AA
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:18

There are three main categories of immersion pools (fit and unfit)

  1. Those who dug into the floor;
  2. those who are made out of the ground and then embedded in the ground
  3. those who are not attached to the ground
  1. Preliminary remark about spring water

    The Mishna Mikvaot 1, 8 says that the strongest rank of mikvaot is:
    ‏ ”לְמַעְלָה מֵהֶן, מַיִם חַיִּים, שֶׁבָּהֶן טְבִילָה לַזָּבִים, וְהַזָּיָה לַמְצֹרָעִים, וּכְשֵׁרִים לְקַדֵּשׁ מֵהֶן מֵי חַטָּאת” ‏
    ("Living" (= spring) water, merging from a source an not from the rains or snow melt). spring water: the only to be able to clean a Zav (it is not equivalent but superior to standard mikve)
    Regarding the Metzora, his sprinkling, but not his immersion requires white water.
  2. the usefulness of spring water to make fit an unfit Mikveh

    we learned a case in Mishna 1, 7 A mikveh in-ground, was earlier filled with drawn water (which constitutes the majority of the water). A spring flows into The Mikveh, the flow is weak and the majority of water in the Mikve is drawn water. The mikveh becomes fit thanks to the spring.
  3. For an "abreuvoir" (watering trough) cemented to the ground inside of which flows a spring

    This watering trough Mishnah 5, 1 was a stone, firstly excavated and then set up at floor. In this case the immersion on the watering trough is not conform to the Halacha when the dishes is dip at the bottom of the waterer. When the watering trough is fixed, it is concerned by a decree which prohibits to immerse small tools into fixed vessels, even if their opening is wide. We are worried they make immersions when the opening isnarrower than the spout of a skin-bottle.
  4. Vessels within vessels may be immersed (together) inside a Mikveh, three cases

    Vessels within vessels Mishna 6,2
    1. If the exterior vessel is not fixed on the ground, we are allowed to immerse the interior vessel in the exterior v. when the orifice of the exterior v. is large al least as the size of a spout of a skin-bottle. (The Rama reported by Double AA speaks of a basket or a net there are closed and said that although he does not have a hole as a spout of a skin-bottle, it's even better than a container because it does not retain water.).
    2. If the seal that contains the small dishes has an small hole of less than the spout of a skin-bottle and it needs itself to be quenched (because unclean), one can dip the seal into the Mikveh leaving the small dishes inside the seal.
    3. But if the seal is already clean (e.g. if it has been immersed beforehand), it can not be used to dip the dishes into the mikveh unless its hole is at least as the spout of a skin-bottle
  5. A bench that is fixed and is flooded by a stream

    Mishna 5, 2 If a spring passes over a bench (a bench fixed to the ground), we can not (according to Rabbi Yossi) clean vessels above the bench . The Tosfot Yom Tov explained in the name of Rash that it is the continuation of the Gzera (decree) on fixed waterer trough (above-mentioned)
  6. The basket which is used to dip the cutlery in the Mikve

    1. I feel that in the OP case, the basket has an orifice greater than the spout of a skin-bottle. It will not be liable to any gzera.
    2. in the case of the waterer trough itself, it is kosher if it has holes in the bottom and can not hold water.
    **The basket is good**. **The stringency of your Mishna it true for fixed objects only**

  • "white water"... did you translate mayim chayim as eau vive and this as white water? I think both those translations are correct sometimes, but I think mayim chayim is not white water. White water is moving, frothy water. Rapids. Mayim chayim I think is spring water, eau de source.
    – msh210
    Mar 30, 2016 at 14:58
  • @msh210 Yes a difference is for example in river as perat, see gemoro with abuah deshmuel, in Bechorot. this even i'll try to exend this running is a problematic term, Maym Chaym is the appropriate, as a cascade or a torrent but not as a river because river is mixed מים חיים זוחלים נוטפים
    – kouty
    Mar 30, 2016 at 15:09
  • @msh210 spring water in common language may be in bottle...
    – kouty
    Mar 30, 2016 at 15:18

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