Switching Pesach China Dishes Not Used for 12 Months from Meat to Dairy

QUESTION

Jerusalem, IL

A family that uses their (flieshig) grandparent’s Pesach china has gone vegetarian. They would like to turn the china dairy. Obviously, they haven’t been used since last Pesach. Any room for to allow this?

ANSWER

Yes they can. They should kasher through iruy and—when it comes to the tureen and serving dishes and possibly the soup bowls (see below), they should ideally wait 12 months from last fleishig use, which means the Pesach after this. The reason to allow this is:

1. We are only going from fleishig to milkhig, so what is balua (absorbed) is taam heter (permissible flavour) to begin with. While one is not allowed to use such a dish for the other min (meaning meat for dairy or vice-versa) even when it has been 24 hours because gezeira atu ben yomo (one will come to use it when it is ben yomo), it is nevertheless not a “kli issur” (forbidden vessel), which gives us some more latitude in determining what is needed to kasher it.
2. The leniency of 12 months. (See Chacham Tzvi cited in Pitchei Teshuvah, Yoreh Deah 122:3, Igrot Moshe YD 2:46)
3. Me’ikar ha’din, if we are being honest, the plates probably don’t really need kashering—ikar tashmisho (its main usage) is with keli sheini (from serving dish onto plate). The soup bowls might be iruy keli rishon, but if the soup was poured from a tureen, it would only be iruy keli sheini. The tureen is a problem (it is iruy keli rishon, although it is via the ladle) as are the serving dishes (iruy keli rishon but only via nisfak hakiluach—see Shulchan Arukh, YD 92:7).
4. The glaze on over the china is non-porous, so there is a good argument to be made that this doesn’t have the status of klei cheres (earthenware) (see SA OH 451:26).

So—kasher them through iruy and (ideally) wait until next Pesach to use the serving dishes and the soup bowls (if they were poured into directly from the pot).

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