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Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel Pekudei 5772

Ask the Rabbi: Eating Dairy Equipment Food after Meat

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: When I wait six hours after eating meat, is it permitted to eat chezkat chalavi (assumed to have absorbed taste from dairy utensils) foods?  


Answer: The Torah forbids eating milk and meat only when they are cooked together. Chazal forbid eating them together in any case, and after meat we must wait significantly before eating milk products (Chulin 104-105), according to most, for six or so hours (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 89:1).

There are practical disputes in cases of nat bar nat (double removed taste = nbn). Sephardim permit eating milchig with pareve food heated up in a meat pot, while Ashkenazim forbid that if the pareve food was cooked or fried in the meat pot. Your good question is whether it follows that chezkat chalavi is considered milchig to the extent that one may not eat it within the six hours after eating meat.

In the opposite question, the answer is easier. After eating pareve food cooked in a meat pot, one does not have to wait six hours (Rama, YD 89:3).  The Shach (ad loc. 19) says that this is so even if there was a small amount of meat residue left in the pot (even if there was not 60 times more pareve than meat- Pitchei Teshuva 89:7). Rabbi Akiva Eiger (ad loc.) says that even after eating a sharp food that was cut with a meat knife, which is treated like meat, not nbn (Rama, YD 95:2), one is not required to wait. The reason for these leniencies is that not everything that is considered meat requires six hours, just as we do not wait after milk. The reasons for the wait after meat are: meat between the teeth (Rambam, Ma’achalot Asurot 9:28); a taste left in the mouth (Rashi, Chulin 105a). Thus, if the meat component of a food is qualitatively weak, it lacks the special qualities that make six hours necessary.

However, if the milk is the nbn component, the logic is weaker. After eating meat and being assumed to have meat between his teeth and/or a taste in his mouth, eating chezkat chalavi should be like eating milk and meat together. Also, the Yad Yehuda (89:5) says in the case of the meat nbn, it is likely that when one ate it, he did not discern a meat taste, in which case there is more room for leniency. Regarding nbn milk food one wants to eat after meat, how can he assume he will not taste the milk?

Despite these indications for stringency, Rav Shlomo Kluger (Tuv Ta’am Vada’at III, 183) strongly rejected the possibility of such a ruling. He points out that the Rama and others who said that one should not eat nbn meat and milk together should have added not to eat nbn milk “within six hours of meat,” and no classical works say that (stimat haposkim). He also says that the standard practice (minhag ha’olam) is not to wait.

What are the grounds for leniency? The first answer is based on adding up the indications of leniency. Rav Kluger argues that we do not know there will be taste in the mouth, but just that there might be. Plus, even Ashkenazim do not say that nbn is certainly milchig or fleishig, as if it already got mixed in with the other type of food, one may eat the combination (Rama, YD 95:2). Thus, when there is a ‘double doubt’ indication for leniency (with the worst-case scenario being rabbinic), we can be lenient. Furthermore, he says, perhaps there is definitely no problem. Eating milk after meat is forbidden because it resembles eating the two together. When the second food has at most a weak taste of milk and no actual milk, it no longer resembles eating them together.

The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 494:6) says that one must wait six hours before eating a sharp pareve food cut with a dairy knife. This goes well with Rav Kluger’s reason of adding up indications of leniency, as a sharp food cut with a meat knife is treated as more certain fleishig (see Rama, ibid.). Apparently, the minhag is not to be careful about this, and this can be justified by Rav Kluger’s second reason. Furthermore, regarding sharp foods that were sautéed in a dairy pan or were cut with a clean knife that had not been used for 24 hours, there are additional sources and logic for leniency (see Yad Yehuda 89:5).

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