12. Glassware

A dispute arose in the time of the Rishonim regarding glass kelim. Some say that since glass is smooth and hard, and even if it held hot foods, the taste of those foods is not absorbed into it and does not adhere to it. Therefore, even if glass kelim were used with prohibited foods or ḥametz throughout the year, it is sufficient to clean them thoroughly to enable their use for kosher food or on Pesaḥ (Raavyah, Rosh, Rashba, Ran, SA 451:26).

Others disagree, saying that since glassware is made of sand, like earthenware, even if glass kelim do not actually absorb, they have the status of earthenware, which cannot be kashered. Therefore, if one used them with hot ḥametz foods, there is no way to kasher them for Pesaḥ (Rabbeinu Yeḥiel, Smag, Rabbeinu Peretz, Terumat Ha-deshen, and Rema).

Still other Rishonim adopt a middle position. In their view, glass kelim have the same status as metal kelim. If they were used with boiling hot ḥametz food, they must be kashered by means of hagala in boiling hot water (Rambam, Or Zaru’a, and Shibolei Ha-leket).

Many Sephardim follow the lenient opinion and kasher glassware by rinsing it only, and many Ashkenazim have the custom not to kasher glassware. In practice, however, it seems that the middle position, according to which glassware has the same status as metal kelim and can be kashered by means of hagala, is primary. Those whose family custom is to be lenient may maintain their custom, and those whose family custom is to be stringent should maintain their custom.[12]


[12]. In Peninei Halakha: Kashrut 32:5, n. 3, this issue is addressed extensively. The following is a summary: Most Sephardic rabbis rule leniently that glassware may be kashered by rinsing, in accordance with SA 451:26, Pri Ḥadash, Shetilei Zeitim, and Sha’ar Ha-mifkad. Many contemporary poskim ruled likewise, as cited by Alei Hadas, Netivei Am, Shemesh U-magen, and R. Ovadia Yosef. Some are stringent and require hagala, including: Rav Pe’alim, R. Ḥayim David Ha-Levi, R. Mordechai Eliyahu, R. David Shloush, and R. Kapaḥ. It seems that in the past, glass was not strong and durable enough to be used in a kli rishon on a flame, so the Rishonim and Shulḥan Arukh, who permit glassware with rinsing and without hagala, were referring to kelim whose most intense use was at the level of irui or kli sheni. There are also differences of opinion among Ashkenazic poskim. Rema 451:26 rules stringently that glass kelim cannot be kashered for Pesaḥ by means of hagala, but be-di’avad, if they were cleaned, hot food placed in these kelim is not forbidden (Darkhei Moshe 451:19; Taz 451:30). According to MA 451:49, one may be lenient, be-di’avad, only after kashering by means of hagala. Ḥok Yaakov 451:68, SAH 451:73, Mekor Ḥayim 451:46, and Maharsham concur. Some rule that hagala should be performed three times on glassware, because according to Itur, hagala three times is effective after 24 hours even for earthenware kelim (Tzitz Eliezer 9:26, quoting R. Tzvi Pesaḥ Frank). Many have written that we rule stringently and do not kasher glassware only when it comes to ḥametz, but one may kasher kelim from other prohibitions by means of hagala. This is the view of Maharam Brisk, Seridei Esh, Beit Avi, and Minḥat Yitzḥak. According to She’elat Ya’avetz 1:67, technically one may kasher glass kelim by rinsing them, but due to the severity of the ḥametz prohibition, the custom developed to avoid using them. Beit Leḥem Yehuda, Ḥamudei Daniel, and Yad Yehuda state similarly. Since there are differences of opinion among both Sephardic and Ashkenazic poskim, I wrote in favor of the middle position for all communities.

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Editor: Nechama Unterman