March 23, 2020
There has been much concern expressed about the possibility of performing tevilat kelim this year. According to the best medical information that we have, The previous guidelines that we distributed— maintaining social distancing, washing hands both before and after immersing vessels, wiping down surfaces— is still valid. However, with the pre-Pesach rush, the mikvaot May not be able to handle the volume.
Rav Schachter said that the Rav was meikil to allow being mafkir keilim. (This is a leniency that not everyone accepts but was the standard practice in Lithuania.). In order to be mafkir, one must make such a statement that he is being mafkir these kelim in the presence of three people, two of whom are kasher le-edut, not related to each other or the owner of the vessels. It is sufficient to make such a statement over the telephone or the Internet. The owner should reacquire these vessels when he/she will be able to tovel them.
It is also possible to sell these vessels to a non-Jew. There are a number of shtarei harsha’ah floating around the internet (see for example: https://nirshamti.co.il/e-%D7%98%D7%91%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%94/) by which an owner can appoint a rabbi to sell the vessels. The mechirah of metaltelin requires hagba’ah by the purchaser— impossible if the Rav is a go between. Like mechirat chametz, this can be done by using both kinyan agav and kinyan chatzer.
מפני דרכי שלום
Our past president, Rav Heshie Billet, stresses the importance of reaching out beyond our own communities to offer help and support. Our experiences, in our well organized and close knit communities, can be helpful to those of other faiths. Reaching out to our neighbors is the decent thing to do and, in the long term, may also create beneficial results for us as well.