| Halachah |

More than Red and Blue

The Shulchan Aruch rules that meat may be eaten after milk during the same meal, without bentshing or even waiting any time in between


Prepared for print by Faigy Peritzman

On Shavuos we want to combine our dairy and meat seudos into one. Is there anything we need to do between those courses to switch over?

The Shulchan Aruch rules that meat may be eaten after milk during the same meal, without bentshing or even waiting any time in between. All you need to do is make sure all dairy residue is removed by carefully washing your hands, chewing and swallowing a bit of pareve food, and then rinsing out your mouth.

Obviously, all the dairy food and dishes must be removed from the table and the tablecloth will have to be changed before the meat or meaty dishes are brought to the table. In addition, the loaf or slices of bread that remained from the dairy meal and may have come in contact with dairy must be removed, and a different loaf of bread served along with the meat meal.

As a matter of fact, the original custom of eating dairy on Shavuos was to do exactly that — wash on bread and then eat a dairy meal (in some communities, they even baked special dairy bread for this purpose), and then remove the bread, bring in another loaf, and serve the meat meal without bentshing in between. This was done to commemorate the korban of Shtei Halechem, the two breads brought on Shavuos when the Beis Hamikdash was standing.

While the basic halachah follows the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch, and one may follow this ruling lechatchilah, many communities and families have accepted upon themselves a stringency — based on kabbalistic sources and strongly recommended by several poskim — and are careful to bentsh (or recite a brachah acharonah) between eating dairy and meat, in addition to waiting at least a half hour to an hour in between.

If this is your family’s custom, then you may not deviate from it. Otherwise, you may choose which opinion to follow, as long as you’re careful to follow the previously mentioned rules.

My sister has separate meat and dairy containers for all her spices since she adds them to food while it’s cooking. Is this required?

Many poskim strongly recommend this type of arrangement, since the spice container can sometimes come in contact with the dairy (or meaty) food that is being spiced and then again come in contact with meat (or dairy) food being spiced at a later time. In addition, the steam that is emitted from one food can be absorbed into the spice container and end up being extracted into the other food. Having two sets of spice containers will prevent these pitfalls.

At work, there is only one microwave that everyone uses for both meat and milk. My coworker said that she just double wraps her food, but I don’t know if that suffices.

Halachically speaking, double wrapping the food is sufficient and is allowed in temporary or unavoidable situations. But this system may not be followed on a steady basis in a kosher kitchen, and it’s imperative that another microwave be purchased.

My sister-in-law just redid her kitchen and added a separate stovetop for dairy cooking. My husband wants us to do this, too (nominate one burner for dairy, not renovate), but I want to know if it’s necessary.

It’s not a necessary requirement for a kosher kitchen. But it’s an amazing hiddur mitzvah, if you can afford it, since it can avoid potential problems that arise in a busy kitchen.

A bowl from my meaty set went through a load in my dairy dishwasher. What should I do now?

If the bowl is made from material that can be cleaned and kashered, such as metal, plastic, or Corelle, then it should be kashered by hagalah. If the bowl is made from material that can’t be kashered, such as porcelain or china, then the exact case should be presented to a halachic authority, since often there are several approaches that can be followed to permit the bowl to be used without kashering it.

We moved into a rental that was previously occupied by non-Jews. Since the counters are made of materials that can’t be kashered, how can I use them?

The best advice is to clean the counters really well, and then avoid placing hot (yad soledes bo and above) food or pots directly on the counter.

Is there any problem with pet food if it includes both meat and dairy?

There are three separate prohibitions regarding meat and dairy: 1) Cooking or baking them together; 2) Eating them together (or even one after the other without waiting the required time) even if they weren’t cooked or baked together; 3) Deriving benefit from them, but only if they were first cooked or baked together.

Feeding your pet, or even a stray animal, with meat and dairy that were previously cooked or baked together is considered to be deriving benefit from it, and it’s forbidden min haTorah. But it’s permitted to feed your pet meat and dairy that weren’t cooked or baked together, even if the pet is eating them together.

It’s also permitted to derive benefit from chicken or turkey that was cooked together with milk.

In addition, it’s only forbidden to derive benefit from mixed meat or dairy of a kosher species, for example meat and milk of a cow or a lamb, but it’s permitted to derive benefit from meat and milk of a nonkosher species, such as bacon and camel milk.

My daughter used a meaty knife to cut a hot cheesecake. I would kasher it, but it has a plastic handle. Is this an issue?

It’s not an issue. It is permitted to kasher plastic for around-the-year usage. There are poskim who don’t allow kashering plastic for Pesach usage.

We have a glass table in the kitchen. May we use it for both meat and dairy?

Glass is the type of material that doesn’t absorb hot food, so it technically doesn’t become either meat or dairy (or treif). The same glass table, therefore, may be used for both meat and dairy, especially since most of the food that touches the table is from a kli sheini or lower.

In practice, it’s a long-standing minhag Yisrael to dedicate a table to one type of food and use a tablecloth or a placemat while eating the other. The main concern is that it’s common for crumbs to remain from the previous meal, and we can’t totally trust ourselves to make sure it’s perfectly clean. It is permitted to use one side of the table for meat and the other for dairy.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 844)

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