Tevillat Keilim in snow
Shalom to the Rav!
There has been a lot of snow this season and me and a bunch of friends went on a trip to the snow. On the way we bought a new Barbecue and tongs and other utensils we need to make a barbecue there. When we sent to make the barbecue, we realized that we forgot to Tovel the utensils and we are not near nay Mikvah or body of water. Are we allowed to Tovel the utensils in the high snow? Are there any other solutions?
If there is no other way, you may immerse any glass utensils in the snow since it is only a Rabbinic requirement to immerse them there is more room to be lenient. It is even a better idea to melt the snow so it will make a pool of water (not in a bowl) and immerse it in that. If not, you may immerse it straight it in the snow. However, by metal utensils there is no room to be lenient, so you should melt 40 Seah (apx 750 liters) in a hole and Tovel them there.
The Mishna in Mikvaot (7:1): The residents of Meidva testified in R’ Yishmael’s name that he said to them “Go and bring snow and make a Mikvah.”
This Mishna is s the source that one may make a Mikvah out of snow. The Rambam Hilchot Mikvaot 7:3) wrote: Even if one brings 40 Seah of of snow and you put it in a hole and melt (Rasek)it there, it is a kosher Mikvah.
The Rambam adds that one condition, that the snow must be put in a hole and melted, and only then one may immerse in it.
The Rishonim argue in the understanding of the Mishna if it means that one melts the snow first or just immersing in snow form. (BY Yod 201:30)R’ Shemarya ruled that even without melting it is permissible to Tovel in the snow. R’ Eliezer ruled that one must melt the snow. Shulchan Aruch in YOD 201:30 it rules that one may immerse in a mikvah of snow without melting it
However, in Hilchot Netillat Yadyaim (OH 180:12) The Shulchan Aruch rules like the Rambam that one must melt the snow.
However, there is a disagreement among the later commentaries what it means to do Risuk, melting.
The Magen Avraham (160:16) explains that which the Shulchan Aruch writes one is required to ‘melt’ the snow before using it is only if he intends to do Netilah, to put the snow n a cup and pour it one his hands. Then it must be water not snow, and it needs to be melted before doing Netillat Yadayim. However, if he intends to immerse his hands in the snow, Tevillat Yadayim (which there is a separate bracha for) then he does not need to melt the snow but instead he should compact the snow to remove the air pockets, so snow is attached to one another. This is what the Rambam meant by ‘Risuk,’ to compact.
Not only that but a in YOD 201:30 the Shulchan Aruch rules that a woman can do Tevilla in snow without ‘Risuk’. How could it be that for Tevillat Nashim, which is a Torah obligation, she does not have to do Risuk, but for Netilat Yadyaim we do. It must be the Magen Avraham understood that Tevilla is good even without Risuk.
The Sha”ch YOD 201:71 writes that one should not immerse in snow since Tevilla is from the Torah and we then be stringent for the opinion of R’ Eliezer that Tevillah in Snow doesn’t work. or Rabbinic laws it would be fine to immerse in snow.
It comes out her is an argument between the Magen Avraham and Sha”ch whether you can do Tevilla for a Torah law in snow. Tevillat Keilim is from the Torah, so it would seem the argument would apply her as well.
The Shulchan Aruch does no discuss snow in Hilchot Tevillat Keilim. The Chachmat Adom (73:19) does rule that one can Tovel glass utensils in snow if he has no other choice since its only Rabbinic obligations. Metal utensils which require Tevillah from the Torah should not be immersed in snow. The Teshuvot Shoel Meishiv (Mahdura Kamma vol 3:69) rules that one must be sure to only Tovel the utensil in snow which is inside a depression or hole in the ground, like the simple words of the Rambam.
Therefore, one must melt the snow to do Tevilla inside a hole in the ground (1 amah by 1 amah by 3 ammot- which is 40 Seah). If you can’t do that , then one should only Tovel glass utensil but not metal.