- Question: [Monday 2nd Teves 5782]
How many times is one required to immerse a vessel in the Mikveh Keilim? I have heard that one time suffices but have been told that the custom is to immerse them three times.
From the letter of the law, a single immersion suffices to fulfill the mitzvah, and so is the custom of many even initially. However, some are accustomed to immersing it three times as a mere Hiddur Mitzvah. Regarding the Chabad custom in this matter, it is told of the Rebbe Rayatz and Rebbe that they instructed for it to be immersed three times [although I do not have access to the quoted source of the statement to verify its authenticity]. In response to our question, Rav Eliyahu Landa stated that he has never heard amongst Anash of a stringency to immerse each vessel three times. Practically, if one desires, he may certainly immerse it three times, however not on the expense of others who are waiting in line. Thus, if he has a lot of vessels to immerse and people are waiting, he should suffice with immersing one time, or come back another time when the Mikveh is not so busy to immerse three times.
Explanation: The law by all immersions of impurity is that a single immersion suffices, and so is explicitly ruled in the Rishonim that a single immersion suffices for Tevilas Keilim. Nonetheless, some are accustomed to immersing it three times, seemingly out of a Hiddur Mitzvah, as we are accustomed to do many things three times for the sake of Chazakah, such as by Hataras Nedarim we say Mutar Lach three times, Tevilas Nashim is done three times. Alternatively, the reason that this is done is because we suspect that perhaps the first time one’s hands were not properly wet and prevented water from touching the area where one’s fingers were, and hence we immerse it a second and third time to make sure the water touches everywhere on the vessel at least by one immersion. According to this latter reason, one would need to hold onto the vessel in a different area each time that he immerses it. Whatever the case, there is no known source in Poskim that writes to immerse the vessel three times, and hence certainly one should not do so on expense of others waiting in line.
Sources: See regarding that immersing one time suffices: Or Zarua Avoda Zara 289, brought in Hagahos Ashri on Rosh Avoda Zara 5:35 “immersing them one time in water suffices”; Sefer Hakashrus [Fuchs] 4:55; See regarding the custom of immersing three times: Beis Aba 4:463; Sefer Hakashrus [Fuchs] 4:55; Sefer Tevilas Keilim 10:12 footnote 28; Madrich Kashrus of Belz says the custom is to immerse three times; Minhag Chabad: See Kefar Chabad Magazine Vol. 772 p. 299 that so instructed the Rebbe Rayatz and Vol. 1912 p. 66 that so instructed the Rebbe [I do not have access to these magazines to verify what they say exactly]; See regarding tevila of person in Mikveh: Admur 606:11; Michaber and Rama O.C. 606:4; Y.D. 200:1; Sefer Chassidim 394