Hi, I have been trying to replace my milchic crockery set and a non-jewish friend who works at a department store has given me a full set. They were used for display purposes only but before giving them to me he washed them in his dishwasher. They are an excellent make of porcelain with a heavy glaze. Does the glaze and the fact a knife would not have scratched it mean I can kosher them? If so how? Thanks
Shalom, Thank you for your question. In order to determine the status of the dishes we will need to examine what happened to them when going through the dishwasher (which according to your question was the only place they could possible absorbed non-kosher taste). If they were in the dishwasher by themselves, with no other dishes, then the only non-kosher taste they could have absorbed would be from the machine itself. Had the dishwasher not have been used in the previous 24 hours, then the law is that it could not impart any taste into the dishes, and they would still be kosher. If one is unable to determine if the dishwasher had been used in the 24 hours preceding the washing of your dishes, then we use the default position which assumes that it had not been used – and your dishes would also be fine. If however we know that the dishwasher had in fact been used in the 24 hours immediately preceding the washing of your dishes, then we will need to examine the issue further, as the dishwasher could very well have transferred the non-kosher taste from the non-kosher foodstuffs left on the plates into your dishes. This is all the more true if your dishes were run through the machine at the same time as other non-kosher dirty dishes. None the less, even in such cases there are reasons to rule that your dishes are kosher. Firstly, if dishwashing powder, or detergent was used, it has the effect of nullifying the non-kosher taste before it can become absorbed into your dishes. Secondly, some opinions believe that the water in the dishwasher is not halachically "strong" enough to transfer taste into the dishes. (This is especially true in countries where the water is not heated up inside the dishwasher, but rather is piped into the machine already hot from an external water heater. In such a case the water in the dishwasher is considered as a "second vessel" that has less ability to transfer tastes into the dishes). If you can find out from your friend what the situation was in his dishwasher, then we can determine the status of your dishes (and please get back to us with that information so we can give you a final ruling). If you cannot find out any more information – my advice would be to dip each dish into strongly boiling water three times. Even though porcelain cannot usually be koshered – in this case, where the non-kosher taste was (perhaps) transferred during the dishwasher cycle (and not through direct use with non-kosher food), we can rely on this form of koshering. I hope you enjoy your new dishes! Blessings.