By: Halacha Yomit team of OU KOSHER
I Bought A Set Of Used China Dishes (Not Kosher). Is There Any Way To Kasher Them?
China dishes are made from clay and are therefore categorized as klei cheres (earthenware). The Gemara (Pesachim 30b) writes that earthenware utensils cannot be kashered with hagalah (by immersing in boiling water), since boiling water alone will not completely purge the absorbed flavor that is embedded inside the cheres. The Baal Ha’Itur (12th century) permitted kashering cheres provided that it had not been used for 24 hours, by performing hagalah three times, in three separate pots of boiling water. Most Rishonim did not agree with the Baal Ha’Itur, and the Shulchan Aruch as well does not accept this ruling. However, the concept is not completely rejected. For example, the Shulchan Aruch (YD 113:20) relies on the Baal Ha’Itur for a cheres pot that had been used to cook bishul akum. It may be kashered with three hagalot, since we are dealing with a rabbinic prohibition. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (Iggerot Moshe YD 2:6), relied on the Baal Ha’Itur to allow baalei teshuva to kasher china dishes with three hagalot.
In addition, Rav Moshe added another stipulation that the dishes not be used for one year. The Chacham Tzvi maintained that non-kosher vessels do not require koshering if not used for twelve months. Ordinarily, we do not accept the opinions of the Baal Ha’Itur or the Chacham Tzvi, but to facilitate a baal teshuva’s return, Rav Moshe relied on the combination of both leniencies, together with other considerations. One who purchased used dishes should not kasher them with hagalah, but it is recommended that they consult with their rav.