- Question: [Wednesday, 17th Iyar, 5782]
Is there any issue with performing Tevilas Keilim [i.e. immersing new vessels] at night? I have heard many times that we don’t do so at night. Is this true?
It is permitted even initially to immerse vessels at night. Nonetheless, one should only do so if there is proper lighting to make sure that the vessel is fully immersed underwater, and should only do so if the Mikveh Keilim is not near the entrance to the women’s Mikveh during opening hours.
The notion that one may not immerse vessels at night does not contain any known source in Jewish literature, and on the contrary, we find explicitly stated in Poskim that one may immerse vessels at night. This is aside for the fact, that the Talmud and Poskim do not differentiate and mention any such restriction against immersing vessels at night, even though other time restrictions are mentioned, such as not immersing them on Shabbos or Yom Tov. There is also no logic or reason to restrict immersing vessels at night. Now, although by a woman who is a Nida we rule that she may not immerse at night, this is due to a separate reason known as Serach Bita, which is completely irrelevant to the subject of immersion of vessels. Thus, it is clear that there is no issue with immersing vessels at night and that it may be done even initially. Nonetheless, obviously one may only do so if he can properly ensure that the vessel is fully immersed, either through using his hands to place the vessel deep in the water, or through proper lighting. This is especially important in vessels that contain a vacuum such as a pitcher or cup, of which air bubbles are commonly found upon immersion, and hence proper lighting is necessary to verify that water has fully entered it. Likewise, obviously one is not to immerse the vessels in a Mikveh Keilim that is near a woman’s Mikveh during their opening hours at night. Perhaps it is due to these reasons that some communities were accustomed not to immerse vessels at night, even though there is no intrinsic restriction against doing so, and from this the rumor spread to others. It is entirely possible, however, that such a custom never existed in any community [as I’ve yet to find any documentation of such a custom] and it is simply a misconception spread due to ignorance of the law.
Sources: Poskim who explicitly mention the ability to immerse vessels at night: Shaar Hamelech Shofar 4:6; Teshuvah Meahavah 2:244; Sefer Tevilas Keilim [Kohen] 6:1; Shut Metziyon Teizei Torah Y.D. 339; Ohel Yaakov Kitzur Seder Tevilas Keilim p. 133