By Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

We are all aware that the food we eat must be Kosher. Not so well known is the fact that the Torah also requires that various utensils used for preparing and serving food must also attain a level of holiness before we may use them. This is reflected in the law that certain utensils need to beimmersed in a mikveh before use.

This article offers guidelines to the laws of Tevilas Kelim - ritual immersion of food utensils. In some areas we have presented a number of differing Halachic opinions - each of them valid in their own right. When in any doubt as to a final ruling please contact your own Ravfor the ruling applicable to your particular community.

Not all utensils require tevilah (immersion). Of those that do, it is only utensils that currently belong to a Jew but have previously at some time in the past belonged to a non-Jew that require tevilah. These include utensils manufactured by a non-Jewish company (even ifpartly owned by Jews) and utensils bought from a non-Jewish owned shop.

Utensils that have always been in the possession of Jewish people from the moment of manufacture and those that are currently in the ownership of a non-Jew do not require tevilah. Utensils that have been rented or borrowed from a non-Jew (such as those supplied by non-Jewish airlineswith Kosher airline meals) also do not require tevilah.

Contrary to popular misconception, utensils requiring tevilah that have not been immersed may not be used, even once, until they have been properly immersed.

Food prepared or served in utensils requiring tevilah that have in fact not been immersed as required nevertheless remains Kosher to eat.