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Q&A from the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline
A Sticky Situation
January 26, 2023
Q May I tovel a utensil in the mikveh with a sticker attached?
A All parts of an item that requires tvilah must contact the waters of the mikveh. An attached foreign object is considered a chatzitzah (obstruction) and disqualifies the tvilah. But not every sticker would pose a problem, because Chazal teach that unless the object covers most of the kli, only a davar hamakpid (something the user is particular about removing prior to use) is considered a chatzitzah.
Bar codes and price stickers are considered davar hamakpid, because people generally remove them. But stickers that display instructions may remain, because people often leave them on (Chut Shani, Tvilas Keilim p. 53).
A brand-name sticker would generally be a problem, but the sticker of a high-end brand is not, because it confers value on the utensil (Mesores Moshe p. 227).
If a sticker was removed but residue remains—a common problem—the residue is a chatzitzah if it can be felt. If it cannot, even if it is visible, it is not a chatzitzah (see Chut Shani, Nidah p. 309). If tangible residue cannot be completely eliminated, it suffices to remove enough that what remains is a davar she’aino makpid (Shiurei Sheivet Halevi, Nidah 198:17). One may be lenient about an unremovable sticker in an unnoticeable area, like the underside of the kli, because it is a davar she’aino makpid (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:406).