Kashering Dentures for Pesach Part III By Rabbi Ephraim Rudolph (’98) DDS


Last week, we suggested possible reasons why one can use dentures previously used for Chameitz on Pesach, analyzing the concepts of Keli Sheini and Davar Gush in light of a number of problems. Another answer, which may deal with all three issues proposed last week, is an idea proposed by the Peri Megadim in a different context. The Peri Megadim (Orach Chaim Siman 105) presents the idea of a Sfeik Sfeika, a double doubt, as a reason to be lenient in the case of a Keli Sheini. He writes that in a case where one knew for sure that an Issur (e.g. a piece of ham) fell into a kosher bowl of food, but does not know if the food was Yad Soledet Heimenu, then the food is Muttar because of a Sfeik Sfeika; the food may or may not have been Yad Soledet Heimenu, and even if it was Yad Soledet Heimenu we may hold that a Keli Sheini does not transfer taste. Perhaps we can say the same thing here: we are not sure the food placed in the mouth is Yad Soledet Heimenu (in accordance with the Ben Ish Chai and the Maharsham cited in last week’s essay), and even if we say it is Yad Soledet Heimenu, then perhaps we hold a Keli Sheini does not transfer taste. Another idea which Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo Tinayana) introduces is the leniency of Notein Ta’am LiFgam. Notein Ta’am LiFgam is when the flavors of the food, or Beli’ot, in the pot become Nifsal, corrode, and lose their good taste. If the Beli’ah of milk or meat in the pot is Notein Ta’am LiFgam, it cannot cause a mixture of milk and meat and prohibit the food. One way the taste becomes LiFgam is if the pot is not used in 24 hours; the Beli’ot in the pot become Nifsal, and are known as Eino Ben Yomo. If one cooks milk in a meat pot that was not used in the previous 24 hours, then the food is kosher (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah103:5). However, one cannot rely on Notein Ta’am LiFgam LeChatchila, only BeDi’eved (Hagahot Rav Akiva Eiger 103:5). If this situation arises, one can eat the food after the fact, but one cannot deliberately use a meat pot that was not used within 24 hours to cook milk. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach writes that perhaps one can rely on this idea for Pesach: one should not eat anything hot within 24 hours of Pesach, and then all the Beli’ot would be Notein Ta’am LiFgam. Even though eating on Pesach would be using Notein Ta’am LiFgam LeChatchila, nevertheless this is a Sha’at HaDechak situation which should allow for this Kula, as otherwise it would be impossible to eat anything hot on Pesach. There is a rule that Sha’at HaDechak is KeDi’eved Dami, meaning that in a case of pressing need, we are permitted to use measures normally only justifiable after the fact. In this scenario, if BeDi’eved Notein Ta’am LiFgam is allowed, then Notein Ta’am LiFgam is allowed in a Sha’at HaDechak situation. The issue is that the Rama (Orach Chaim 447:10) rules with regard to Pesach that we are stringent about Notein Ta’am LiFgam, and food which falls under this classification is forbidden even on a level of BeDi’eved. However, once again for a Sha’at HaDechak one is allowed to be lenient, since it seems from the Rama that this is only a Chumra and dependent on minhagim (Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim 447:21). Therefore, once again we can say that since fillings and dentures are a Sha’at HaDechak, we can rely on Notein Ta’am LiFgam. Perhaps it is better to rely on Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s idea of creating Notein Ta’am LiFgam as opposed to using the earlier leniency of Davar Gush (mentioned last week), because even though both are relying on Sha’at HaDechak or Hefsed Merubah, because a Davar Gush is a debate on a level of De’Oraita. The poskim who are concerned with a Davar Gush hold that a Davar Gush can cook or transfer taste on a level of De’Oraita; the reason why LeChatchilah, one cannot cook in a Eino Ben Yomo is only a rabbinic decree, one may come to cook in aBen Yoma. Therefore, even if eating on Pesach is utilizing the Beli’ot that are Eino Ben Yomo LeChatchilah, this is only an issue on a Rabbinic level. Furthermore, the Rama’s stringency that Notein Ta’am LiFgam does not apply to Chameitz is also a Rabbinic decree. The reason why the Rama is Machmir for Notein Ta’am LiFgam with regard to Chameitz is because Chameitz is Assur BeMashehu, meaning it prohibits a mixture even in the smallest concentration. This idea that chametz is not Bateil, nullified, in any amount is only a Rabbinic prohibition due to the stringency of Chameitz; therefore, the extension to Notein Ta’am LiFgam can only be Rabbinic prohibition. The leniency of Eino Ben Yomo, however, would not work for the rest of the year in between milk and meat, because it is unreasonable to continuously wait 24 hours between each meal. Furthermore, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach brings up another problem: the issue of a Davar Charif, something spicy and sharp, such as an onion. A Davar Charif is treated in a stricter fashion in many areas, since a Davar Charif can cause taste to be transferred even without heat. Teeth should be at least equivalent to a Meducha, a mortar, which is considered to effect a transfer of taste into a Davar Charif. Therefore, if one eats a raw onion cut by a meat knife, if the filling has a Beli’ah of milk, that Beli’ah would be absorbed by the meat onion, creating a treif onion. Similarly, a Chameitz Beli’ah in teeth fillings will be brought out by a Davar Charif on Pesach. However, we must wonder: how do the Beli’ot enter the fillings in the first place, if, as Rav Ovadia Yosef said, there is no Yad Soledet Heimenu and the mouth is not a Keli Rishon? With respect to Yad Soledet Heimenu, as just explained, a Davar Charif does not require Yad Soledet Heimenu to effect transfer; all one needs is Duchka DeSakina, force from a knife or mortar, or in this case an incisor or molar. Duchka DeSakina does not just cause a transfer of Beli’ot from knife to onion, but also from onion to knife, so the Beli’ah of milk, meat, or Chameitz in the onion will be transferred to the fillings. Furthermore, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach points out that a Davar Charif can even cause a transfer of taste with the heat of a Keli Sheini. Therefore, he writes that a hot Chametz Davar Charif will cause a Beli’ah of Chameitz in the fillings. Additionally, the leniency of Notein Ta’am LiFgam cannot be utilized, because a Davar Charif causes the Beli’ot to become LiShvach, beneficial, so waiting for one day to allow the Beli’ot to become Eino Ben Yomo will also not be effective. To resolve this problem, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach cites the concept that the mouth contains Hevel, heat and moisture which may breakdown of the Ta’am in the fillings, or make the taste in the filling Pagum, damaged. The Minchat Shlomo writes that this way of making Ta’am LiFgam is better than Eino Ben Yomo in two ways. First of all, it creates a Ta’am LiFgam much faster than 24 hours. Secondly, this Ta’am LiFgam is so damaging to the taste that it is not even fit to be consumed at all. There are different levels of LiFgam: an Eino Ben Yomo is only slightly LiFgam, but sometimes the food or Beli’ot is not just LiFgam but also Nifsal, completely corroded, so totally ruined that it cannot even be considered fit for human consumption (and maybe even for a dog). Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach writes that “It is known that regular pieces of food in one teeth become corroded and ruined after a few hours; even more so the Ta’am that is absorbed in the teeth themselves.” Rav Shlomo Zalman points out that this idea is beneficial to our purpose, as the Peri Megadim writes that only a normal Ta’am Pagum can be re-awakened by a Davar Charif into a Ta’am LiShvach, but if the Ta’am is so Pagum that it is not even fit for human consumption, then even a Davar Charif cannot reignite the Ta’am. Therefore, if this is true that the heat in the mouth causes the Beli’ot in the fillings to be completely LiFgam in only a few hours, then one does not have to make sure not to eat something hot within twenty-four hours before Pesach and need have no worry of Davar Charif. Additionally, this type of LiFgam also helps for the rest of the year in circumstances where one desires to eat dairy foods but just ate meat, as the Ligam occurs rather quickly. Furthermore, the Chok Yaakov (447:45) writes that even according to Rama who is strict by Notein Ta’am LiFgam, will claim that there is no problem of Chameitz if the taste is completely Nifgam.

However, it seems that Rav Shlomo Zalman is not fully convinced of this Heteir since he goes on to advise one not to eat any hot or spicy Chameitz one day before Pesach so the Ta’am will definitely be an Eino Ben Yomo. Once it is an Eino Ben Yomo, we can rely on the lenient opinion that Eino Ben Yomo is Mutar on Pesach. The only other option is not allowing one to eat hot or spicy foods on Pesach, and that will prevent Simchat Yom Tov which is akin to substantial loss. This will help relieve the issues of Davar Gush and Keli Rishon. For the Davar Charif problem, we can rely on those opinions that say a Davar Charif is only true for a Korat Shell Chiltit and Hevel in the mouth will cause the taste to become unfit for human consumption before Pesach. In conclusion, it seems from his language that he is still clearly uncomfortable with this whole approach. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach then advises that one should drink water up to the maximum temperature that one can handle. This is based on the concept KeBolo Kach Polto, meaning that one can kasher an item in the manner of how it absorbed the taste. Therefore, many argue against Maharshal that a Davar Gush can have the status of Keli Sheini. We can follow the view of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 451:6) that one can Kasher utensils even according to its Rov Tashmisho (main usage). Usually the vessel is Bolei’ah from a Keli Sheini, and once in a while it is Bolei’ah from a Keli Rishon; on the basis of the Shulchan Aruch, one can Kasher from a Keli Sheini. A mouth is usually Bolei’ah from a Keli Sheini as well. Therefore, it can be Kashered from a Keli Sheini.

There is perhaps an issue with relying on Rov Tashmisho for a Davar Charif. The Badei HaSulchan (96:1 s.v. Yeish Omrim) questions whether or not Rov Tashmisho works for a Davar Charif. He writes that the leniency of Rov Tashmisho is only when the Beli’ot are already Eino Ben Yomo, so the Beli’ot are only a Rabbinic level prohibition. Still, many opinions hold that a Davar Charif creates the Ta’am of an Eino Ben Yomo into a LeShevach on a Torah level. Therefore, the Badei HaShulchan writes that when the leniency of Rov Tashmisho is used, one should be careful not to use it with a Davar Charif. Instead of relying on Rov Tashmisho to help alleviate Rabbi Shlomo Zalman’s issue of Davar Charif, we must use the Badei HaShulchan’s approach and block off this avenue.

Nevertheless, Rav Shlomo Zalman was speaking about fillings and crowns in his day, which were basically metal. In fact, Rav Shlomo Zalman himself writes so in a letter. However, there have been advances in dental materials that are used for crowns and fillings which may warrant additional analysis of Beli’ot and Kashering. With regard to crowns: the majority of crowns are no longer metal, like gold and silver; rather, the crowns are made out of ceramics. For approximately fifty years, the main crown was the porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM). These crowns had porcelain layers on top of metal. At first glance, one may want to be strict with these crowns and rule that since it has porcelain (and according to most authorities porcelain cannot be Kashered) these crowns cannot be Kashered. Nonetheless, only the original PFM crowns in the early 1900’s had clay mixed in to them. Due to the dull appearance the clay presented in the crown, the clay component was removed and only glass materials were used to make the porcelain cover. Therefore, the Kashering of these crowns should follow glass utensils. The absorption properties of glass are discussed amongst the Rishonim. Rav Yosef Karo rules (Orach Chaim 451:26) that glass does not absorb at all. Therefore, it doesn’t need any Kashering. Rama (ibid.) disagrees and claims that the prevailing Ashkenazi custom is to be strict with glass. The Ashkenazi custom is that it has the status of earthenware; it absorbs and never releases its Ta’am, and so it can never be Kashered. However, this debate is only relevant when glass is the only material in the item. When the glass is only a covering over the item, the glass takes on the properties of the substructure. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 451:23) writes that in a case where earthenware is covered with glass, the item can never be Kashered as per the earthenware component underneath the glass. Furthermore, Rama (Orach Chaim 451:26) writes that a sliver cup covered with glass cannot be Kashered, as per his own opinion about glass. However, the Vilna Gaon (Orach Chaim 451:23, 26) and the Bi’ur Halachah (451:23) write that according to the Shulchan Aruch’s opinion, this cup can (and must) be Kashered in the same way as the metal underneath the crown, despite being covered by glass.

Although very often these dental crowns have a metal collar that is not covered with porcelain, the porcelain can also deteriorate. Therefore, these crowns should be treated as metal utensils and have the same status as Rav Shlomo Zalman’s crowns, and according to the Shulchan Aruch it would still need to be Kashered. Rama would still maintain his position that these cannot be Kashered

However, in the last ten years there has been a further change: the crowns being developed are entirely ceramic crowns. The basic elements of dental ceramics are made of silicate, leucite, feldspar, and others which are glass-like and once again have no trace of clay or earthen-ware. If this is the case, then perhaps dental porcelain and ceramic crowns would have the status of glass. Therefore, Sephardim, who hold like Rav Yosef Karo in Orach Chaim 451:26 and rule that glass does not need to be Kashered, should permit these crowns with simple washing. Ashkenazim, who hold like Rama, are presented with an issue to this ruling. Fortunately, there is room to be lenient. First, many hold that one must be strict only regarding Chameitz, not regarding other Issurim. Second, even in the context of Chameitz, Rama (Darchei Moshe Orach Chaim 451:19) writes that we can be lenient BeDi’eved. We will analyze the extent of this leniency of Rama in next week’s issue of Kol Torah.

Kashering Dentures and Dental Work for Pesach Part IV By Rabbi Ephraim Rudolph (’98) DDS

Kashering Dentures for Pesach, Part II By Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Rudolph (’98)