5 Shevat 5771
January 10, 2011
This past week, an ad appeared in many newspapers here in Eretz Yisrael, stating that the Badat”z Eida Chareidis has halted its supervision on Sultam brand pots. Therefore, the Eida announced that those purchasing the pots should be aware that hagala and tveila are required. This left many puzzled, as this “requirement” to kasher new pots is not mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch. Is this halacha? Chumra? Why do some people do it and others do not?
To address these issues, and to hopefully shed some light on the halachic issues involved, I wrote a short overview posted on Jerusalem Kosher News.
This is a much expanded version, including source notes and the sevaros behind the psakim.
Please see the endnotes:
Kashering New Pots?!
By Rabbi Yehuda Spitz
There are many different sniffim to be lenient in this case, as I will explain.
First of all, the reason manufacturers generally add this “sheen” is to increase appeal for purchase, as people seem to prefer a shiny look over a dull one, and not to cause a kashrus concern. The problem arises when the product used, the compound needed to lubricate and facilitate this buffing in to achieve this purpose, is a non-kosher oil or fat. The Eidah Chareidis and different hechsherim give hashgachos on various keilim (ex. aluminum disposable pans) to 1. Show it came from a Jewish owned company and therefore not come into the question of tevillah. 2. To make sure that any oil used in manufacturing is vegetable or petroleum based and therefore not have this problem.
However, even without a hashgacha, it is far from a forgone conclusion that haga’alah is required.
1. It is not certain that these pots have this sheen (maybe a rov, but not vaday).
2. The majority of oils used in this part of the world, as well as in U.S., is vegetable or petroleum based, not animal based. Only in South America would we have to assume it is animal based. Therefore, min harov, even with a sheen, the probability, in all likelihood, is with kosher oils.
3. Even if one wants to assume that the oils used are indeed non-kosher, and therefore problematic and the pots require kashering [like the Chazon Ish (Y"D 44, 4) and Har Tzvi (Shu"t Y"D 110) who say haga'alah is required and not libun], it should be noted that they were referring to a scenario where the pots were vaday smeared with vaday issur while on the fire, which is fairly uncertain here.
4. Many contemporary Poskim, including the Minchas Yitzchak (Shu”t vol. 4, 112 – Ga’avad of the Eidah Chareidis), the Tzitz Eliezer (Shu”t vol. 12, 55), Rav Menashe Klein (Shu”t Mishna Halachos vol. 7, 112), the Rivevos Efraim (vol. 6, end 212), and Rav Ovadia Yosef (Shu”t Yabia Omer vol. 6, Y”D 10), all maintain that even if it was smeared with vady issur, nowadays it is “barur” that the oils used are completely Pagum from achilas Adam as well as probably Pagum from achilas Kelev and therefore do not present a kashrus concern. See also in the Kovetz Hilchos Pesach of Rav Avraham Blumenkrantz (5769 p.66) where he writes that even for Pesach one does not have to be machmir due to the above-mentioned reason.
5. Rav Moshe Feinstein, (heard from Rav Shmuel Feurst of Chicago) was lenient as well, but for an entirely different reason: The reason why we hold a pot with aino-benyomo bleeyos (absorbed taste more than 24 hours prior) still remains assur – is because gezaira Atu ben yomo – one might make a mistake and use a pot that was used for non-kosher within 24 hours prior and transgress an issur d’oraysa. But with these pots, it is not physically possible for someone to buy a new pot within 24 hours of its manufacture, and therefore in this scenario Chazal would not have been Gozer (Similar to the case of pala in Y”D 108, 3) and therefore one does not have to kasher the pot.
6. And, most tellingly, due to the above reasons, the Eida Chareidis themselves, in their annual Madrich Kashrus -[in their most recent edition -Pesach 5770 pg.25-26] – state that after buying new pots that have this she’ilah, ‘the “custom” is to be “stringent” to Kasher it. It does not state that this oil used makes the pot assur until it is kashered, rather that the minhag is to be machmir to do so because of the chashash. In other words, the Badat”z themselves hold that issue falls under the category of chumra and not din, most assuredly due to the safeikos involved as well as the lenient ruling of the Gedolim, including their own Ga’avad.
In conclusion, it seems that if one would like to be machmir and kasher his new pot in order to remove any doubt, tavo alav bracha. But l’halacha, with or without the hashgacha, the new pots do not require kashering m’dina before use; ergo, it is customary to do so, especially here in Eretz Yisrael.
I hope this helps to clarify the issue.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
Rabbi Yehuda Spitz, of Yerushalayim, learned in the Yeshiva Gedolah Ateres Mordechai of Greater Detroit, as well as Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim and Beis Hora’ah Toras Shlomo.
He received Semicha from Rav Moshe Halberstam zt”l, Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit”a, Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg shlit”a and Rav Yosef Yitzchok Lerner shlit”a.
A former Co- Rosh Chabura in the Mir, Rabbi Spitz currently serves as the Rosh Chaburah and Shaul U’ Meishiv of the Halacha Kollel of Ohr Lagolah.
 It is possible that at the time of this buffing, the temperature may not actually be Yad Soledes, and therefore may not truly assur the pot at all. Furthermore, the Tzitz Eliezer (quoted, s.k. 5) adds that it is not completely clear that these Gedolim actually maintain that haga’alah is required, as they are trying to disprove others who assert that libun is necessary and haga’alah would not be sufficient; the Har Tzvi and Chazon Ish merely state that haga’alah would definitely work.
 The Mishna Halachos adds several more reasons to be lenient: 1. It’s possible that due to the intense heat used in forming the pot, the actual issur might get burned off. 2. A sheen is not considered a real issur [See Shu”t Tuv Ta’am V’Da’as (Mahadura Kama 182)] – since it’s only a mashehu and not genuine mammashos of issur, and can not actually impart a taste [The Rivevos Efraim also brings this sevara]. Furthermore, the fact that it is absorbed in the metal for so long will likely render it Pagum. (See also Y”D 99, 7, that according to all opinions, by a bleeya of issur mu’at which is pagum, the pot does not need to be kashered.)
 Even though Halacha normally dictates that something that becomes Pagum (unfit for consumption, completely inedible) is only muttar bedieved, nevertheless, in our scenario, the Poskim [including the Rema (Toras Chatas 85, 23), Minchas Yaakov (ibid. s.k. 73), Pri Toar (Y”D 103, 7), and Pri Megadim (Y”D 103, S.D. end 11, M.Z. 6 end s.v. Da)] differentiate that something that is starting out Pagum, it is muttar even l’chatchila. The contemporary Poskim apply this to our case as well, that since the issur involved would be rendered pagum long before the pot’s initial use, one may therefore rely on this even l’chatchila.
 This psak was related to me by my former Chavrusa and Co-Rosh Chabura in Yeshivas Mir, Rabbi Aver Jacobs, currently a Rosh Kollel in Denver, Colorado. It is also brought in Ohalei Yeshurun (vol. 1, Ch. 4 note 23).
 See also Kovetz Yagdil Torah (5640, vol. 4, 19, brought in the aforementioned Tzitz Eliezer s.k. 3) – which states a similar sevara, that Chazal were not gozer on something completely non-common, and therefore since it’s not possible to use the pot on the same day that it absorbed the issur, one does not have to be choshesh for gezeiras Chazal. However, the Seridei Aish (vol.2, end 35) does not accept this comparison, as the case in Y”D 108 is where one has no other options; in our case, he maintains that one has alternative solutions available: to buy from a fellow Jew or at least kasher the pot if bought from a non-Jew. [Yet, it must be noted that from the way the Seridei Aish addressed the issue, it seems that he understood the problem to be referring to mammashos on the pot, as he compares our case to one of an oven that’s coated in grease and almost impossible to clean properly, and not a problem of absorbed taste, which is the actual issue.]
 I spoke with the Badat”z mashgiach in charge of overseeing pot production, who clarified their shitta. He explained that sometimes treif oils are used in the process, even though generally kosher is used, and this oil is definitely ”aino rau’i l’achilah” – not fit to be eaten. However, they are choshesh that it is not truly Pagum, and therefore maintain that based on this chashash one should definitely kasher a new pot. [He added that it’s possible the process of manufacturing pots may have changed from the time the Minchas Yitzchak wrote his teshuva.] See also Kovetz M’Bais Levi (vol 1, page 32, footnote 1), where Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner writes similarly: That even though he maintains that one should kasher a new pot, he explains that it is only m’taam chumrah, based on a slight chashash that indeed the oil used was possibly not kosher and also not pagum; however, he acknowledges that m’din there is no obligation to kasher it. See also Shu”t Avnei Yashpei (vol. 2, 58) who rules similarly in the name of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Shu”t Teshuvos v’Hanhagos vol.1, 442 and Shu”t Moadim U’Zmanim vol. 4, 282, 1) writes likewise, that it’s kdai l’ha’agel v’lo l’hakel. For an opposing view to all shitos mentioned above, see Shu”t Kinyan Torah B’Halacha (vol. 4, 92 s.k. 5) who asserts that nowadays the oil used (cheilev) is vaday treif and vaday not Pagum, and maintains that one is obligated to do haga’alah on all new pots. However, renowned kashrus expert Rabbi Mordechai Kuber pointed out to me that Kinyan Torah was probably referring to cast iron pots (as opposed to the ubiquitous stainless steel pots), which come with an oil coating to prevent rust; but they use lard, not cheilev in the manufacturing process.
 Even among those Poskim who are of the opinion that one should kasher a new pot, many feel that the usual requirements of haga’alah are relaxed in our case. For example, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Wosner and Rav Feinhandler (quoted in last footnote) all maintain that since the kashering in our case is only m’taam chumrah, in order to kasher, all that is required is to do haga’alah on the inside – let the pot fill up and heat it until a rolling boil where it will splash. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo Moadim vol. 2, Hilchos Pesach, Ch. 3, Dvar Halacha end 4, footnote 12, based on Shu”t Minchas Shlomo Tinyana end 51) was even more lenient. He held that since the whole problem is a “chashash b’almah”, all one has to do is add a little water to the pot and heat it until it’s Yad Soledes; by doing so, the walls also heat up and are considered kashered. The Tzitz Eliezer (quoted above) who holds that there is no reason to do haga’alah, adds that if one wants to be machmir, he can rely on kashering through Iruy (pouring), even though normally that would not be sufficient.
 The Mishna Halachos (cited above) writes that the minhag is to be lenient – “Puk Chazi Mah Ama davar”, and not to require kashering at all.