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Shabbat Parashat R'ei 5771

Ask the Rabbi: A Fleishig Egg Pan for a Milk Meal

Rav Daniel Mann

Question:  I (an Ashkenazi) accidentally cooked meat in the pan I use for pareve eggs. Can I still use the pan for pareve eggs I plan to eat at a milchig meal?


Answer:  A fleishig pot has kosher meat taste in it, but there is a danger that it could become not kosher if that taste combines with milk taste. However, this cannot happen once the taste is sufficiently weakened. In one such case, known as nat bar nat, hot pareve food that was placed in a milchig or fleishig utensil does not become forbidden when mixed with the opposite type of food (Chulin 111b, Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 95:2). However, the Rama (ad loc.) says that if the food was cooked or roasted in a milchig or fleishig pot that had been used for its type within 24 hours, it may not be mixed with the other type of food. On the other hand, the Rama does not treat the otherwise pareve food totally as milchig or fleishig, as he permits putting this food into a utensil of the other type. Your eggs are such a pareve/fleishig food known as chezkat besari, and you want to know if an Ashkenazi can eat them at a milchig meal. We will also see if other precautions need to be taken.

Let us peruse the laws dealing with separation between milk and meat. The gemara (Chulin 104b-105a) talks about waiting between eating meat and subsequently eating cheese but says that no time is required after cheese before meat. It does, though, say that one should either check or wash his hands, and clean his mouth before eating meat. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 89:3) rules that the above requirements are true only regarding actual meat and milk/cheese, but between two pareve foods, one cooked together with meat and one with milk, he does not need to wait or wash. In practice, the minhag is to wait even after otherwise pareve food that was cooked together with fleishig food in a manner that it tastes fleishig.

In any case, the Rama (YD 89:3) states unequivocally that if one ate pareve food cooked in a fleishig pot, he can eat even cheese right afterward. This makes a lot of sense, as we saw that, the Shulchan Aruch’s opinion is that one could even mix this basically pareve food directly into milk. In fact, to give this statement more of a chiddush, some say that it is talking about a case where there was a little actual meat gravy in the pot (Shach 89:19) or when the food that was cooked in the pot is sharp, in which case the leniency of nat bar nat does not usually apply (R. Akiva Eiger, ad loc.). Certainly, in the case of normal pareve food in a clean fleishig pot, one does not have to wait afterward.

What about washing and rinsing, which are more widely required than waiting (e.g., after eating dairy)? While one could contemplate stringency, the Eliya Rabba (OC 173:4) says that one does not have to take any of those steps, and this approach is accepted by the Kaf Hachayim (YD 89:61) and contemporary poskim (see Halachos of Kashrus, p. 204). The Badei Hashulchan (Biurim to 89:3) suggests that when the pareve food is sharp or when one actually sees or feels residue on his hands or mouth, he should wash and rinse. However, he did not substantiate his claim with sources, and as the logic can go either way, we will not introduce further stringency than appears explicitly in the poskim. Thus, after eating any pareve food cooked in a fleishig pot, no washing is needed. They just cannot be eaten together.  

What constitutes eating together? Two things are apparently included. First, the foods cannot be discernibly mixed before entering the mouth. Therefore, the same plate or flatware should be used only if they appear clean. The second thing is that if one has not finished chewing a bite of these eggs, he should not yet, for example, drink milk. There is more room for leniency when the pot went 24 hours since being used for fleishig (based on Rama, YD 95:3), but we are not allowed to use utensils having in mind to rely on that leniency (Chochmat Adam 48:2). Therefore, it is proper to kasher the pan (with hagala or libun kal­ – details are beyond our present scope) if you plan to regularly use this pan at milk meals.


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