The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
Do not cook a kid in its mother's milk (Exo. )
DAIRY AFTER MEAT: HOW LONG A WAIT?
In the Written Law, the only mention of meat and dairy, basar
b'chalav, is the prohibition against cooking them together.
Nevertheless, the Oral Law teaches us that eating meat and milk
together, even if they were not cooked together, is also
Biblically prohibited. Our Sages, who were always concerned lest
Biblical prohibitions be transgressed inadvertently, protected
us by establishing 'fences' (syagim) around the Torah's
prohibitions. In this case, our sages prohibited eating dairy
foods even after eating meat. It is well known that the taste of
meat lingers in one's mouth long after it has been consumed,
since a film of fatty residue remains in the throat and on the
palate long after the meat has been swallowed (1). In addition,
actual pieces of meat can be stuck in between the teeth after
meat has been eaten (2). For these two reasons, our Sages
ordained that a substantial amount of time must elapse before
dairy can be eaten after meat (3).
How much time must elapse before dairy can be eaten
Almost universally, the custom is to wait six hours before
eating dairy after meat (4). Although there are a few communities
which follow other, more lenient customs (Dutch Jews wait one
hour; German Jews wait three hours (5) ), these customs apply only
to those who are born into the tradition. One who abandons his
custom to adopt a more lenient one is described by the poskim as
a poreitz geder (6), a "fence breaker", and as one who
transgresses the exhortation, Al titosh Toras imecha (7), "Do not
forsake the teachings of your mother." (8)
In the opinion of most halachic authorities (9), 'six hours'
means six full hours. This is the custom practiced by most
people. Some poskim are reported to have ruled, however, that
five and half hours are sufficient (10). Other poskim permit this
leniency only after eating fowl, but certainly not after not
There is a view that holds that the six hours are measured from
Bircas Hamazon of the meat meal [even if no meat was consumed
towards the end of the meal] until the beginning of the dairy
meal [even if no dairy will be eaten at the beginning of the
meal] (12). Contemporary poskim do not agree with this ruling,
however. In their opinion, the six hours are measured from the
cessation of eating meat - not from the end of the meal - until
the actual consumption of dairy - not the beginning of the dairy
When does one not need to wait six hours?
There is a dispute among earlier poskim if one who merely chews
meat but does not swallow it must wait six hours before eating
dairy. Some poskim hold that in this case, a one hour interlude
is sufficient (14). Other poskim do not agree (15). The
contemporary poskim who do agree with this leniency require that
one rinse (16) and clean (17) his mouth and brush
and floss his teeth (18).
But one who only tasted meat with his tongue - and
immediately removed the meat from his mouth - need not wait six
It is permitted to eat or drink dairy immediately after
swallowing or chewing a meaty vitamin (20).
If one is in doubt whether or not six hours elapsed since he
ate meat, it is permitted to eat dairy as long as six hours may
have passed (21).
One who finds meat still lodged between his teeth after six
hours must remove it and clean (22) or rinse (23)
his mouth before
eating dairy. Some poskim require both procedures - cleaning and
rinsing (24). One need not, however, wait six hours from the time
meat was found lodged between his teeth before eating dairy (25).
If one swallowed meat without chewing it, he must still wait
six hours before eating dairy (26).
A weak or sick person, a pregnant woman, a nursing mother or a
child between the ages of 3-9 who needs dairy food for his/her
strength or nourishment (27) is not required to wait six hours
between meat and dairy (28). An hour's waiting time is
sufficient (29), provided that the person follows this procedure
before eating dairy (30): He/she recites Bircas Hamazon (or
brachah achronah) over the meat meal, flosses his/her teeth,
rinses and cleans his/her mouth, and washes his/her hands before
Infants till age 3 do not need to wait at all between meat and
dairy. Healthy children over the age of 9 [or 10 if they are
physically under-developed] should wait six hours between meat
and dairy (31).
Parve food that was cooked together with meat, such as a potato
cooked in a meaty cholent or rice cooked in a pot together with
chicken, is considered like meat; six hours must elapse before
dairy may be eaten (32).
If one forgot that he is fleischig and makes a brachah rishonah
over a dairy item within six hours of eating meat, he should eat
a miniscule amount of the dairy item so that his brachah is not
lvatalah. If, however, there is still some meat in his mouth or
between his teeth, he may not eat any dairy food (33).
After eating parve food cooked in a meat pot or cut with a meaty
knife, does one need to wait six hours to eat dairy ?
Parve food that was cooked in a meat pot [but without any meat
in the pot - such as fish cooked in a meaty pot] does not
require a wait of six hours before dairy may be eaten (34). The
halachah remains the same even if the food cooked in the meaty
pot was cooked with onions or other "sharp" foods (35). [Note
that our discussion here applies only to dairy food eaten after
parve food, not together with it.]
After eating meat, does one need to wait six hours to eat parve
food that was cooked in a dairy pot or cut with a dairy knife?
This answer depends on the type of parve food that was cooked
in the dairy pot: Regular parve foods may be eaten immediately
after eating meat, and even l'chatchillah one may plan to eat a
parve food for dessert at a meat meal (36). Sharp parve foods
[e.g., fish cooked with onions or radishes] that were cooked in
a dairy pot may not be eaten until six hours have elapsed after
eating meat (37). Some poskim (38) are lenient if the dairy pot
was not used for cooking dairy in the preceding twenty four
hours, while others (39) are stringent even in that case.
1 This is the reason given by Rashi (Chulin 105a, quoted in Tur
YD 89) in explanation of this halachah.
2 This is the reason given by Rambam (Maacholas Assuros 9:28,
quoted in Tur YD 89) in explanation of this halachah.
3 Hard cheese has the same rules as meat - that means that if
one ate hard cheese he may not eat meat for six hours. Hard
cheese is defined as any cheese which is over six months old.
Certain companies (e.g., Mehadrin) date their cheese. Cheese
eaten past the "sell by" date, is considered hard cheese.
4 Sfaradic Jews are required to wait six hours between meat and
dairy. For them it is not a matter of custom
5 See Chayei Adam 127:10 who quotes a custom of those who wait
only 'several hours'.
6 Aruch Hashulchan YD 89:7. See Koheles 10:8 and Rashi.
7 Mishlei 1:8. See Rashi.
8 Chochmas Adam 40:13.
9 See Darkei Teshuvah 89:6 quoting Gan Hamelech and Chamudei
Doniel. Many poskim also refer to this time period as a 'quarter
of the day and night', see Shiyurei Brachah 89:4, which means
that six hours is exact.
10 Ruling of Harav Aharon Kotler, as repeated by his family and
talmidim. Nishmas Avrohom YD 89:1 quotes some poskim who
required a wait of a little more than five hours. Practical
Guide to Halachah vol. 2 pg. 133 quotes Harav Moshe Feinstein as
ruling that "in an emergency, maybe fifteen minutes before six
hours, but not earlier."
11 Yabia Omer YD 1:4-13.
12 Aruch Hashulchan 89:4.
13 Badei Hashulchan 89:7; Pischei Halachah, The Laws of Kashrus
14 Reb Akiva Eiger YD 89:1.
15 Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav) 89:1; Shiyurei Brachah 89:12;
Pischei Teshuvah 89:1. Chochmas Adam 40:13 and Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch 46:9 seem to agree.
16 Rinsing means to wash out the mouth with water or to take a
drink of water or any other beverage.
17 Cleaning the mouth is done by eating a bulky parve food and
chewing it throughly - Rama 89:2.
18 Yad Yehudah 89:1, quoted in Darkei Teshuvah 89:22 and Badei
Hashulchan 89:38 See also Aruch Hashulchan 89:4.
19 Reb Shlomo Kluger, quoted in Darkei Teshuvah 89:22 and Badei
24 Shach 89:2, Chochmas Adam 40:12, Aruch Hashulchan 89:5.
25 Shach 89:2 and all poskim.
26 Badei Hashulchan 89:17 based on Igros Moshe YD 2:26.
27 Even if meat food is available but the person does not like
it or is not in the mood for it - Chelkas Yaakov 2:88; Badei
28 Entire paragraph based on Chochmas Adam 40:13; Aruch
Hashulchan 89:7; Salmas Chaim 2:4; Chelkas Yaakov 2:88; Yechave
Daas 3:58; Badei Hashulchan 89:36,37.
29 In case of need, such a person may eat dairy even without
waiting an hour, although lchatchillah one should plan not to
rely on this leniency - Badei Hashulchan 89:36.
30 Hatoras nedorim is not required in this case - see Dogul
Mervavah YD 214 and Mishnah Berurah 581:19 and Shaar Hatzion 33.
Chochmas Adam and Aruch Hashulchan also do not mention that
hatoras nedorim is required. See also Nishmas Avrohom YD 89:1
quoting Harav S.Z. Auerbach.
31 Chelkas Yaakov 2:88; Yechave Daas 3:58 (who is lenient with
children until a year before they are Bar/Bas mitzvah); Badei
32 Rama 89:3. According to many poskim (Mahrashal quoted by Reb
Akiva Eiger, Yad Yehudah, Kaf Hachayim) the custom is not to eat
even a parve food cooked together with dairy after a parve food
cooked together with meat. Other poskim (Chochmas Adam, Aruch
Hashulchan) do not mention this custom.
33 Yechave Daas 4:41.
34 Rama 89:3. Sometimes, when the meat pot was not scrubbed
clean, a fatty residue of meat remains on the pot. Most poskim
(Shach 89:19, Chochmas Adam 40:13, Aruch Hashulchan 89:13,
Darkei Teshuvah 89:42) allow parve food cooked in such a pot to
be eaten before dairy, especially if the parve food was sixty
times greater in quantity than the fatty residue of meat on the
35 Reb Akiva Eiger and Beis Meir quoted in Darkei Teshuvah 89:42.
36 Tuv Taam V'odaas 3:183 and Mishmeres Shalom 69:19 quoted in
Darkei Teshuvah 89:42 and Badei Hashulchan 89:90.