The Right of Return June 23, 2022 Q: As a retailer, am I obligated…
Dayan Yehoshua Grunwald
February 10, 2022
Q I toiveled a new pot, but only after reaching home did I discover that there was a sticker on it. Must I redo the tevilah without the sticker?
A There is a de’Oreisa obligation to toivel metal food utensils that were owned by a gentile and are now owned by a Jew. If they are glass rather than metal, the obligation is deRabanan. (Contemporary poskim consider Corelle, Pyrex, and Duralex to be glass for this application. A full discussion of which utensils require tevilah is beyond the scope of this article.)
A chatzizah (obstruction) invalidates the tevilah of a utensil as it does that of a person, so stickers must be removed, as well as the residual glue. (WD-40, nail polish remover, Goof Off, Goo Gone, and similar products are quite effective for this application.)
Mide’Oreisa, only an obstruction that a) covers most of the body or utensil, and b) whose presence one minds, is a chatzitzah. MideRabanan, an obstruction that meets only one of these qualifications is still a chatzitzah. Lechat’chilah, even an obstruction that meets neither criterion should be removed before tevilah.
Stickers on keilim rarely cover a majority of the item, but if they’re intended to be removed prior to use, they would be a chatzitzah mideRabanan. If you forgot to remove them before toiveling, repeat the tevilah with a bracha. If you would mind the sticker but most people wouldn’t, or vice-versa, omit the bracha.
A sticker that you’d like to keep permanently on the utensil, e.g., one containing instructions or warnings, or one that increases the utensil’s value by displaying the name of its prestigious manufacturer, need not be removed. Because you want it there, it is tafeil to the pot and not a chatzitzah.