kosher plates?

So, I’m basically a non-practicing Jew. My mom’s Jewish, but my dad’s catholic. My mom’s family is conservative. I don’t think any of them even try to keep kosher. I think some effort may be made during the holidays, but who knows. In any case I’m pretty ignorant about this stuff. Last week my Aunt(Catholic) went to visit an orthodox jewish neighbor. They served her food, some sort of snack, on a napkin. I didn’t think much of this, but they I was told that if they’re orothodox and she used one of their dishes, they’d have to throw it away. I know creating a kosher kitchen is a fair amount of work, but does one gentile eating cookies off one of a plate really contaminate the whole thing? I’ve heard gentiles can’t touch kosher wine bottles, but the plate thing seems a bit extreme. So, what’s the truth?

Whoever told you this is wrong. Having a non-Jew eat your food off your plate, in your own house, does not inpunge on the plate’s kashrut.

Serving deserts and snacks on napkins is a fairly common custom. My mother does it all the time.

If the wine is yayin mevushal, then the wine has been processed in such a way that the bottle may be handled by non-Jews without infringing on its ritual usability. This is, in fact, the point of making a wine mevushal.

The Hebrew word yayin means wine. I don’t know what mevushal translates into; I’m sure someone will be along with a translation pretty soon.

As Alessan said - there’s nothing about a non-Jew using one’s plate that renders it non-Kosher. It would take non-kosher food to make it non-Kosher…and hot food, at that…unlikely (though not impossible) for a little snack.

Probably this family just saves its plates for genuine meals and eats snacks in a less formal manner.


“Mevushal” means “cooked.”

The original proscription on non-Jewish wine was made because it was common for non-Jews to consecrate wine for idol-worship, and it is forbidden for Jews to benefit from anything used for idol-worship. But the non-Jews of the time would never use cooked wine for the purpose, so if the wine had been cooked, there are no such restrictions on it.

These days, many wines are pasteurized, which satisfies that requirement (though of course, no Orthodox Jew would assume that unless a Rabbi certified that it was true).

But it’s OK once you wash it, right?


If the non-kosher food is cold, that’s all that’s necessary.

If the non-kosher food is hot, it depends what the utensil is made of. Metal would need to be placed in boiling water. Glass or earthenware would need to be discarded (although many of today’s glass or earthenware dishes are covered with some form of enamel, which changes that status). Plastic I think might just need a regular washing.

Chaim Mattis Keller

And this, my friends, is why many of my orthodox family and friends just maintain two sets of plates and silverware and somesuch. One kosher and one not for guests. It makes it all simpler.


FWIW (I observed kashruth when I lived with my parents, who are conservative), my understanding for rekoshering dishes:

Earthenware would be discarded, but glass could be soaked for a long period of time (3 days, maybe)? I believe it has to do with the porousity of the material; glass is understood not to be porous, but china & ceramics are. We always threw out any plasticware that had been rendered traife; that was according to our rabbi.

Jonathan Chance:


That’s just strange. Assuming that they wouldn’t allow non-kosher food into their house…which is pretty darned typical of Orthodox Jewish families…there’s no need to maintain separate dishes for guests. We keep two sets of dishes one for meat and one for milk, both kosher.

Running with scissors:

Perhaps this is one area where Orthodox and Conservative authorities differ; I’m rather certain that Orthodox Rabbis treat glass the same as earthenware because it’s made of sand, so it falls under that Biblical category despite the fact that it is not necessarily porous.

As for plastic, I could be wrong. I was under the impression that plastic is non-absorbent enough (and there’s no Biblical category that applies to it) to not require some form of purging. But I don’t recall ever needing to deal with the issue myself, and I’d certainly double-check with a rabbi…if I had a plastic dish or utensil that would be worth the bother.

Chaim Mattis Keller

And two dishwashers and two sinks as well, right?

(Just checking my Jewish IQ).

Right. Two sinks isn’t strictly necessary…you can get by with one, by having two different racks for the bottom of the sink. But these days, most Kosher people who design their own kitchen (including myself and my wife, when we bought out house three years ago) would have two sinks installed.

Chaim Mattis Keller

This is the accepted ruling among Ashkenazic Jews. The Sefardic position is that it does not absorb anything, so may be used without koshering.

I’ve never heard of the three day soaking, for either group.

Not so. There is some question as to whether it even can be koshered, but the generally accepted position is that it can be. But it certainly needs it.

Thanks for the correction, Izzy.

Chaim Mattis Keller

There are many different kinds of plastic, and some are more absorbant than others. I have a set of bowls which are permanently slightly stained by repeated servings of ramen, for instance. I assume that that would be enough to render my bowls non-Kosher. But there are other types of plastic which would not take on that stain.