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Immersing Utensils in the Year of Corona

03/27/2020 02:13:41 PM

Mar27

There are two approaches which are only relied upon under difficult circumstances.  This year qualifies if one is hesitant to use the Mikve or the Bay/ocean.

 

Selling
If the utensils are owned by a non-Jew, one does not have to immerse them.  One can therefore arrange a sale with one’s non-Jewish neighbor where the neighbor acquires the utensil for a dollar.  After the virus abates, one can re-acquire the utensils and then take them to the Mikve as one normally would.
A variation: If the utensils are being used for Pesach, one can include them in the sale of Chometz to the non-Jew.  If one wants to do this, please email R’ Feldman directly at rabbi@emekberacha.org to instruct him to include the utensils (which should be listed) in the sale on Erev Pesach.

Hefker (ownerless)
As one is buying new utensils, have the intention NOT to take possession.  It is preferable that one declares to oneself that one is not acquiring them even as one pays for them and takes them home.
If the utensils are already in one’s possession, but one has not yet taken them to the Mikve, then one must remove them officially from one’s possession (even while retaining them).  This is done with a declaration before three people (the telephone or Hangouts/Zoom/Facetime are sufficient), at least two of whom should not be a relative of any kind and should be Kosher witnesses.
One should say: “I hereby declare that all of the utensils that are mine that have not been immersed in a Mikve yet, are now hefker (ownerless).”  The three people should at least respond by saying “Okay.”
This does not work going forward.  That is, one has to do this each time one buys new utensils.
After declaring the items ownerless, one must move them outside of the house for a few minutes to allow someone to at least potentially come and take them.

Again, when the virus abates, one must take the items to be immersed (without a blessing) before using them again. Please mark the utensils that were not immersed yet so that they can be easily identified.

Fri, June 5 2020 13 Sivan 5780