Separating Milk and Meat

Goal Of This Class

The goal of this class is to establish and explain each of the precautionary measures that were instituted and accustomed in Klal Israel in order to prevent either cooking or eating Basar b’Chalav

Background

We saw last time that Basar b’Chalav is unique in certain ways from other issurim. We saw that the Rabbis instituted numerous laws which added to the many Torah laws of Basar b’Chalav. The purpose of those extensions was to safeguard from confusion and thus prevent anyone from coming near the issur Torah. We will learn today that there are actually numerous other injunctions and customs that Klal Israel has in place today that prevent us from coming to transgress the Torah law of Basar b’Chalav either on the cooking side or the eating side.

Eating Meat In Proximity To Dairy

Eating Alone

The Mishnah states that one may not put meat on the same “eating table” as milk. The fear is that one may come to eat milk and meat that weren’t cooked together in the same bite. This general laxity although it is only derabanan can easily lead to eating the meat and milk even when they have been cooked together. If the table is so big that the meat and dairy are not within hands reach of one another then this prohibition doesn’t apply. The basis for this heter is that in the days of Chazal the eating table was big enough for one person and that case is when they made these restrictions.

Eating with Others

The Gemara points out that this whole issue is only forbidden when one person is eating at the table, or alternatively there are two people who are on friendly enough terms that they would eat one another’s food even if this would require purchase from the other. If they are either totally unacquainted or they are strict not to eat one another’s food then it is permitted for one to eat meat and the other dairy at the same table and even within proximity.

Even in cases where they are prohibited to have meat and dairy at the same table together, nevertheless Chazal gave a solution to the problem. By placing something on the table that is a) visible and b) not normally at the table this serves as enough of a reminder to prevent the two from being eaten together

Waiting After Meat Before Eating Milk

The Gemara brings that one who eats meat may not eat dairy but one who eats dairy may eat meat. Mar Ukva laments that although his father was accustomed to wait a full 24 hours after eating meat before eating dairy, he was weaker and only accustomed himself to wait to eat cheese “until the next meal”. We understand two important things from this Gemara, 1) that “until the next meal” is the minimum separation to keep, 2) the idea of any separation is a “custom”.

  1. Rashi and Rambam – the meaning of Mar Ukva’s statement “until the next meal” is coming to emphasize the need for a certain amount of time to pass. The Rambam and Rashi mention six hours as the requisite time passage to fulfill this custom.
  2. Tosafos – the meaning of Mar Ukva’s satatement “until the next meal” is coming to emphasize that dairy can’t be consumed “during the same meal” as meat. According to this approach one would minimally need to bentch before eating dairy.

With regards to hanhagah on a lemaaseh level there is a difference between Sefardim and Ashkenazim.

Sefardic Practice

Their approach is to look at the 6 hours as “din” and they interpret 6 to mean a full six hours.

Ashkenazic Practice

Their approach was essentially to poskin like Tosafos as “ikar hadin”. However the custom continued to develop throughout Ashkenaz in various stages. 1) The first main stage of codification of the minhag Ashkenaz was to wait an hour (in addition to bentching) – presumably based on the Zohar. 2) Ultimately the more stringent custom to wait six hours became almost universally accepted in Ahskenaz to the point that the Rema says that anyone with “the smell of Torah” must wait six hours. 3) However, in certain communities they never took on this additional stringency rather some stayed at 1 hour (Holland), and others developed a custom to wait the amount of time which was common between meals in shorter days of the year which is 3 hours (Germany and some England). The accepted APPROACH to this is that someone who has a clear minhag avosav to wait one or three hours may do so. Those who don’t must take on the prevailing custom of Ashkenaz which is six hours.

Differences Between The Sefardic Approach And The Asheknaic Approach

Kinuach and Hadacha

The Gemara states that a person must do three things between eating meat and dairy 1) rinsing the mouth with a liquid, 2) cleansing the mouth by eating a bulky food that removes residue, 3) washing the hands. The poskim all say that one who waits a full six hours doesn’t need to do any of the above since none of the reasons for it are still relevant. One possible difference between Sefardim and Ashkenazim (depending on exact custom) is whether they would be required to do these things.

Extenuating Circumstances

Since the six hour rule is a stringent custom for Ashkenazim therefore there are certain leniencies in extenuating circumstances. There are four common examples of exception:

  1. Illness – Normally a person must be in a pikauch nefesh situation to eat machalos assuros, but in a case like illness (for example ulser which requires dairy) since it is only a stringent custom not “din” there is room to wait one hour – (but one must make a bracho achronah after the meat and do kinuach and hadacha) [It should be noted that at least accdg. To Rav Ovadia Sefardim may be lenient in cases of illness in practice even though in theory it should be forbidden]
  2. Nursing mother – During this period she may need much more dairy. The poskim say she may be lenient to rely on the 1 hour rule (BA, kinuach / hadacha) since she is similar in many ways to a person with illness. (As regards the shaylah of Hataras Nedarim she may be lenient as she plans to return to her normal custom)
  3. A baby or a child – The poskim say that a young child below 3 need not wait at all between meat and dairy. This is based on the principle of “haynu ribissayhu” meaning this is essential to their survival (they could come to harm without it) not a mere enhancement or maintenance of good health. A child over the age of 3 is chaiv in chinnuch. Therefore (ashkenazic) he should wait mimimally one hour. In addition to that as he grows and develops he should be trained to wait additional time increasing it with age. By the time a child is around six he should be keeping six hours. However since from 6-9 this is a transition period if he requires dairy, thirsts for it, or demands it the parents may decide to capitulate to him for the broader benefit of his chinnuch. By the time a child is over 9 he should be old enough and strong enough to handle a full six hours. The parents shouldn’t capitulate to his whims at this point, but if he is frail or in need of dairy for medical reasons then one hour BA kinuach and hadacha
  4. Someone who accidentally made a bracha on dairy – Since for us this is a stringent custom therefore if a person accidentally made a bracha on dairy and then realized his mistake he may eat a small amount of the dairy to prevent bracha l’vatalah (a d’orysa problem) even though it is within six hours.

The poskim differ with regards to understanding the basis for waiting six hours. Some mistakenly think it has to do with digestion. They assume that since digestion takes approximately six hours this is the basis. In fact this isn’t the halacha (even though the Kreis says this way). There is also a story from the Chasam Sofer who seemed to base his psak on this premise and then held a leniency to wait less after sleep since the digestive process takes less during sleep. However his coffee spilled after doing a maseh like that and he said “it must be that in Shamayim th don’t agree with my psak”.

  • Fatty residue in the throat and palate doesn’t dissipate for six hours (Rashi) – This approach would say that if you just chewed and spit out without swallowing you wouldn’t have to wait six hours.
  • Particles of meat left stuck between the teeth don’t dissolve beyond recognition for six hours (Rambam) – This approach would say that if you picked your teeth well within six hours or six hours have passed it is permitted (the other approach forbids both points).

The halacha incorporates the stringencies of both opinions.

  • Meat stuck between teeth after six hours – must be removed and mouth needs kinuach and hadacha
  • Chew meat and spit out – must wait six hours and even fleishig food that only has ta’am basar there is a lo plug
  • Tasting with tongue – neither reason applies so you don’t have to wait, but you would need kinuach and hadacha
  • Swallowing a meat vitamin – the reasons don’t apply (unlike an actual piece of meat which leaves residue on the throat and palate)
  • Dentures – best to keep two sets for meat and dairy. But even with only one they are not considered “treif” since they don’t absorb tastes of yad soledes bo in the mouth. The halacha would require koshering them for Pesach.

There is a discussion as to whether the six hour interlude is precise or approximate

  • Six full hours – In as much as Ashkenazim take six hours on as a “custom” not based on “din” it would seem most likely that this means six full hours. We aren’t keeping it because of it “rationales” but as a dry custom.!
  • Approximately six hours – The Rambam says “k’shesh shaos”. This is taken to mean that a person doesn’t need to calculate the interlude based on six clock hours but as long as he feels that six hours may have passed that will suffice. This boils down to saying you don’t need to do more than make best approximations with regards to this halacha.
  • Five and a half hours –  this is a variation of the “approximation” idea. There were great Roshei Yeshiva in America in the previous generation who held this way but it is harder to find a real basis for it.

Although the Aruch Hashulchan says to calculate the six hours from the time of bentching, the prevailing consensus in halacha is to wait six hours from the time one finished eating meat.

There is a question as to which “meat” the six hour rule applies to

  • This din definitely applies to behema, chaya, and chicken
  • Tavshil shel basar
  • Ate meat now and now wants to eat tavshil shel chalav- the prevailing custom is to refrain
  • Food cooked in a meaty pot (even sharp food cooked in a meaty pot) – a) You don’t need to wait 6 hours, b) You may not eat dairy with that original food cooked in the meat pot when the pot was a ben yomo. If it was an aino ben yomo it is mutar b’dieved to eat with dairy but not to cook it initially with intent to eat with dairy food (unless in extenuating circumstances like you have no other pot at all)
  • After eating meat or even a tavshil shel basar one may not eat a) tavshil shel chalav, b) sharp foods cooked even in an aino ben yomo pot, but you may eat c) bland pareve foods cooked in a dariy pot

Eating Meat After Eating Cheese Or Other Dairy Products

  • After milk – bracha achrona, hadachas hapeh, the custom is to wait half an hour based on the zohar and a lenient view that “shata chada” means an approximation
  • After soft cheeses – bracha achronah, hadachaas hapeh and kinuach, also washing hands (or at least checking them) and waiting a half an hour
  • After hard cheeses – The Gemara says it is mutar with kinuach and hadacha, but the Rishonim started to be machmir by cheese that aged six months because it had characteristics like meat that its residue lingered. Rav Eliyashiv is machmir for all yellow cheese. Many poskim are meikal unless the cheese actually ages for six months before being marketed. Cheese like this that has been melted into another food doesn’t have the chumrah of waiting 6 hours. If it is just melted on top of another substance it would seem that one should be machmir.

Cutting Bread With A Meat Of Dairy Knife

  • Meat with dairy knifefood needs klipah, the knife may need either neitzah or kashering depending on whether one of them was hot (we’ll have more about knives ahead)
  • Cheese with meaty knife – same
  • Bread with either dairy or meaty knife – if you plan to eat bread with dairy don’t use meat knife or visa versa because we are worried about residue getting on to the bread. Therefore whether the knife is a ben yomo or an aino ben yomo it doesn’t matter. If this was done the poskim say you have to scrape the surface of the bread. The poskim say that someone who is switching from meat to milk must take the pieces of bread off the table from the first session and bring new bread.
  • It is preferable not to eat foods left over from a meat meal with a dairy meal or visa versa out of fear that a utensil may have been stuck in that left residue.
  • It is also praiseworthy to use separate condiments out of the same fear. Those who aren’t stringent in this way should wipe the outer surface of the container and use the squeezable version.
  • Salt dish – In those days it was necessary to have separate dishes. Today with shakers it is not necessary but praiseworthy due to possible residue on the outside and also the fear of steam going in from the pots you are putting salt into
  • All tableware, flatware, dishes and pots should be noticeably different. If they are similar looking the custom is to mark the dairy ones. Some say even when they are different one should mark the dairy ones. Marking the meaty ones in addition is not necessary.
  • Tables and tablecloths – One may not eat meat and dairy after each other on the same tablecloth, even when plates are used. One may wash the tablecloth and then go back and forth (some are strict to have separate). Meat and milk on the same table is mutar but the table must be wiped down well first. Some have a custom not to eat milk and dairy at the same table ever.

Making Dairy Or Meaty Breads

Dairy breads and also meaty breads are a problem lest you come to eat them with a meal of the opposite type.Once made they are actually treif as far as halacha is concerned. This applies to kneading or glazing with meat or dairy ingredients (even when it will be batel b’shishim). There are certain exceptions where they felt the fear was not warranted.

  • Small amount – This is defined as the amount eaten and finished normally in one day, or the amount that a group you are making for will eat in one day. The idea when the amount is small enough to be finished so quickly they will be reminded not to eat it with the meal.
  • Baked in a special form – this only helps if it is in there from the time of the baking, also if the dairy or meat got imbued after the baking it may not pose a problem of this issur but it is problematic for other practical reasons.
  • Type of bread not normally eaten in the course of a meal but rather as a snack or a desert (or another manner)

Even baking the bread in an oven that has meat or dairy cooking in it at the same time is assur. Whether the bread may be eaten is a deeper question depending on many factors but with regards to this law one should certainly refrain lechatchilah. (One should be careful when heating up challos to avoid them touching meaty stuff)

Not Koshering From One To The Other

There is a difference between Sefardic and Ashkenazic custom with regards to koshering vessels from milk to meat use or visa verse. Ashkenazic custom prohibits such a practice based on the fear that if we allow koshering back and forth from one to the other eventually a person will get confused and not kasher over to the other side and come to cook/eat dairy on a meat pot/plate or visa verse.

It is important to note that this custom is two tiered. As far as the Torah is concerned any absorption in a pot, plate, or utensil loses its status as meat or milk after 24 hours. At that point it is called “ta’am pagum” – or spoiled taste and it is halachikly “pareve” and no longer poses problems with regards to issues of basar b’chalav under normal circumstances. There is a rabbinical law that was decreed which comes to safeguard us from cooking milk in a meat pot or visa verse that being that we still look at the taste as “intact” even after 24 hours lest anyone come to switch over during the first 24 hour period. This is the basic concept of “ben yomo” (a pot that was used within 24 hours, and “aino ben yomo” (a pot that hasn’t been used within 24 hours). We will see many halachos in the future that center around this fundamental difference. As for the rabbinical law of an aino ben yomo the Rabbis did not prohibit koshering an aino ben yomo dairy pot in order to use with meat. However the minhag ashkenaz is to be strict not to do so above and beyond the requirement of the rabbinical law. This is one of many examples of custom that has developed within klal israel which illustrates their extreme holiness and carefulness in matters of “issur”.

There are a number of exceptions to the Ashkenazic custom.

  1. Dishes being koshered for Pesach – In as much as the custom was not to kasher from meat to milk, when your intention is for ulterior purposes the minhag doesn’t apply, since these other purposes will stand as a reminder not to transgress the minhag. This opens up room for the next 3 examples to be permitted under Ashkenazic custom
  2. Kashering treif utensils – Here in as much as you are chaiv to kasher the vessel m’ikar hadin there is no prohibition to change it over afterwards to another use opposite of before.
  3. Kashering a vessel to be used as “pareve”  – Here since you are not changing the vessel over to the other side, it is permitted.
  4. Utensils that haven’t been used for a year – Based on the halachik principle called “pok tama” that after a year any taste in a vessel is considered not only to have spoiled but to have dissipated altogether, we allow koshering the vessel for the other use. Since there is a reminder of the “pok tama” rule in place to prevent confusion under the normal minhag.
  5. Kashering with Libun – The whole minhag Ashkenaz only applies to forms of koshering like hagalah where we assume the process extracts the meat or milk taste and removes it from the pot. However there is a form of koshering called libun (burning or torching) which actually burns the meat taste to nothingness while still in the vessel. This unique difference will act as a reminder not to transgress the general custom.
  6. Selling or Receiving a vessel – Whether selling or receiving a vessel one may kasher it over to the other type as here again the situation is unique. When I am selling I can kasher over as the person I am giving to will never have “used it for both sides” as a result of the koshering. The same is true when I kasher a pot I received.
  7. One who is unaware of the custom – b’dieved one who koshered over without realizing may eat the food as the custom to be stringent is on the act of koshering over willingly and knowingly.

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