• June 15, 2024
  • 9 5784, Sivan
  • פרשת נשא

Meat & Milk Basics

Meat & Milk Basics

Part of keeping a kosher home is keeping meat and milk separate. Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman will include a basic overview of the prohibition on cooking meat and milk together, as well as the associated issues of keeping separate dishes for meat and milk and the status of pareve (neither meat nor dairy) foods cooked in pots with the status of meat or dairy.

October 24, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 1
Class description

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday was our first shiur on the subject of בשר וחלב. We discussed the basic principles of the halachot. Specifically, we say how חז”ל define which species are included in the prohibition and what activities are prohibited.

The subject of בשר וחלב requires this sort of clarification because of the way it is presented in the Torah. The Torah does not say “do not eat milk and meat together.” Rather it says “do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” To add to the puzzle, this prohibition is repeated three times:

שמות פרק כג

(יט) רֵאשִׁית בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ תָּבִיא בֵּית ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ:

שמות פרק לד

(כו) רֵאשִׁית בִּכּוּרֵי אַדְמָתְךָ תָּבִיא בֵּית ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ:

דברים פרק יד

(כא) לֹא תֹאכְלוּ כָל נְבֵלָה לַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ תִּתְּנֶנָּה וַאֲכָלָהּ אוֹ מָכֹר לְנָכְרִי כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה לַה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא תְבַשֵּׁל גְּדִי בַּחֲלֵב אִמּוֹ:

So why does the Torah repeat the prohibition three times, and why is the prohibition expressed as one that deals with cooking as opposed to eating?

Many answers are given in the Gemarah and מדרשי הלכה to the first question. The Halacha follows two דרשות:

ר’ שמעון בן יוחאי אומר, אחד איסור אכילה ואחד איסור הנאה ואחד איסור בישול.

The prohibition against “cooking” also includes eating meat cooked with mil as well as deriving benefit from such a mixture.

The second דרשה relates to the species which may not be cooked with milk:

רבי עקיבא אומר, מפני מה נאמר בשלשה מקומות, פרט לחיה, פרט לבהמה, פרט לעוף.[1]

Inasmuch as the Torah forbids cooking  a “kid” the prohibition includes all species of kosher domestic animals.[2] The prohibition does not cover poultry and kosher non-domesticated animals. I would emphasize that there is a Rabbinic prohibition against cooking these kosher species with milk. The third exception is non-kosher animals. If a person would eat pork cooked in milk would certainly have violated the prohibition of eating pork, but this would not be a violation of בשר בחלב.

Why is the prohibition of בשר בחלב expressed as a prohibition against cooking milk and meat as opposed to a prohibition against eating milk and meat? The Rambam explains this in his ספר המצוות. The Rambam writes that the dietary rules of the Torah prohibit eating in the usual fashion which is pleasurable. If a person would eat a bacon sandwich he will have violated the prohibition against eating pork. If however a person would eat a slice of very hot bacon taken directly from a frying pan, and would have burned his mouth by eating the bacon, he would not be in violation of the prohibition against eating bacon. The reason for this is that he did not eat the bacon in an enjoyable fashion. This is known in the Halachic literature as שלא כדרך הנאתו. The parameter of   “כדרך הנאתו” applies to all prohibitions which are expressed as “לא תאכל/ו” – “You shall not eat.” Eating is understood to be an activity which one enjoys.

בשר בחלב is not governed by the rule of  כדרך הנאתו. Hashem taught us the prohibition against eating meat cooked in milk with the words “.לא תבשל” Since He did not say           “לא תאכל” the rules which define eating do not apply to this prohibition.

The basic rules of בשר חלב which we discussed in the shiur appear in Shulchan Aruch.

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן פז

דין באיזו בשר נוהג דין בשר בחלב, והיאך נקרא בשול, ובו י”א סעיפים.

סעיף א

כתוב בתורה: לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו (שמות כג, יט; לד, כו; דברים יד, כא) ג’ פעמים; אחד לאיסור בישול, ואחד לאיסור אכילה, ואחד לאיסור הנאה. והוציא אכילה בלשון בישול, לומר שאינו אסור מן התורה אלא דרך בישול, אבל מדרבנן אסור בכל ענין.  ( כל בשר בחלב שאינו אסור מן התורה, מותר בהנאה). (טור וארוך כלל ל’).

סעיף ב

גדי, לאו דוקא, דהוא הדין שור, שה ועז. ולא שנא בחלב אם, ולא שנא בחלב אחרת, אלא שדבר הכתוב בהווה.



סעיף ג

אינו נוהג אלא בבשר בהמה טהורה בחלב בהמה טהורה, אבל בשר טהורה בחלב טמאה, או בשר טמאה בחלב טהורה, מותרים בבישול ובהנאה. ובשר חיה ועוף, אפילו בחלב טהורה, מותר בבישול, ובהנאה; ואף באכילה אינו אסור, אלא מדרבנן. אבל דגים וחגבים, אין בהם איסור, אפילו מדרבנן. הגה: ונהגו לעשות חלב משקדים ומניחים בה בשר עוף, הואיל ואינו רק מדרבנן. אבל בשר בהמה, יש להניח אצל החלב שקדים, משום מראית העין, כמו שנתבאר לעיל סימן ס”ו לענין דם.

In סעיף א  the Shulchan Aruch says that the prohibition against deriving benefit from בשר בחלב only applies to בשר בחלב דאורייתא in other words, the איסור הנאה would apply to beef cooked in milk but not to chicken cooked in milk. This is important in situations such feeding one’s pets. People often ask why is it necessary to buy kosher pet food. It is true that a dog or cat do not have to eat kosher food. The issue is not one of kashrut per se but the prohibition against deriving benefit from certain prohibited items. The two most common prohibited items are בשר בחלב and חמץ בפסח. These two items are אסור בהנאה. Therefore when buying pet food during the year the pet’s owner must be sure that the pet food does not have בשר בחלב דאורייתא ( which would mean the pet food has beef plus some dairy product) and on Pesach one may not fed one’s pets חמץ .

We ended the shiur with a question that various contemporary Poskim dealt with. Food chemists are often called upon to analyze samples which may contain בשר וחלב. Chemical analysis may of course involve heating up the samples being tested. Would this analysis be forbidden because of “?לא תבשל” The Poskim who permit this analysis give two reasons for permitting it:

  1. a)   On Shabbat there is a principle of אין בישול אחר בישול. “Cooking” can only be done once. Any further application of heat is “re-heating” but it is not “cooking.”
  2. b)  The Kesef Mishneh says that the prohibition of cooking meat with milk only applies when the mixture will be eaten. The chemist does not eat the sample that he tests, therefore the prohibition does not apply according to the Kesef Mishneh.

This is a summary of yesterday’s class. I hope you all found it informative. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Stuart Fischman


[1] עיין במהדורת פרופ’ אפשטיין ז”ל ופרופ’ מלמד ז”ל  שגורסים “בהמה טמאה” במקום “בהמה.”


[2] Which are generally considered to be cattle, sheep and goats.

October 31, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 2
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In today’s shiur we spoke about the custom of not eating fish with milk.

The Mishnah and Shulchan Aruch specifically say that fish are not included in the prohibition of not eating meat with milk.

משנה מסכת חולין פרק ח משנה א

כל הבשר אסור לבשל בחלב חוץ מבשר דגים וחגבים….

טור יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן פז

דגים וחגבים מותר לאוכלן בחלב

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן פז

סעיף ג

אינו נוהג אלא בבשר בהמה טהורה בחלב בהמה טהורה…. אבל דגים וחגבים, אין בהם איסור, אפילו מדרבנן.

However, the Beit Yosef advises against eating fish cooked in milk because it is health risk.

בית יוסף יורה דעה סימן פז

ג (ב) דגים וחגבים מותר לאכלן בחלב….. ומכל מקום אין לאכול דגים בחלב מפני הסכנה כמו שנתבאר בספר אורח חיים סימן קע”ג:

The Shulchan Aruch does record dietary/health warnings. What makes this advisory unusual is the reference that he provides to אורח חיים סימן קע”ג. When we look at the טור אורח חיים קע”ג we see this:

טור אורח חיים הלכות בציעת הפת, סעודה, וברכת המזון סימן קעג

…וא”א הרא”ש ז”ל היה רגיל ליטול ידיו בין בשר לדגים דחמירא סכנתא מאיסורא.

Whereas the Beit Yosef warns us against eating fish with milk, theטור  warns us against eating fish with meat. So what are we to make out of the Beit Yosef’s warning?

Some commentators say that the Beit Yosef’s warning contains a typographical error. It should say that one should not eat fish with meat; not milk. The Rema in his commentary to the טור ובית יוסף  says that this error was of the Beit Yosef himself:

דרכי משה הקצר יורה דעה סימן פז אות (ד)

(ד) ולא ראיתי מימי נזהרין בזה וגם באורח חיים סימן קע”ג (עמ’ תלג) אינו אלא שלא לאכלו בבשר משום סכנה אבל בחלב שרי ועיין לקמן סימן קט”ז (ד”מ אות ג) ולכן נראה שנתערב להרב בית יוסף בשר בחלב:

On the one hand the major Ashkenazi authorities[1] are respectfully dismissive of the Beit Yosef’s warning against cooking fish with milk. On the other hand some Poskim looked to defend the position that Rav Yosef Karo saw fit to record in his encyclopedic work Beit Yosef ( but which he omitted from his summary of Halacha, the Shulchan Aruch). Some Poskim said that they consulted with well-regarded physicians who agreed that mixing fish with milk or cheese can be harmful to one’s health. Other Poskim cite the Bible commentator רבינו בחיי who wrote that fish cooked in milk can lead to leprosy.

Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt”l was one of the great Poskim of our time. He was well known for his loyalty to the rulings of Rav Yosef Karo and not surprisingly he was reluctant to dismiss what is written in Beit Yosef regarding cooking fish in milk. Therefore he advises against eating fish cooked in milk but he acknowledges the validity of the Ashkenazi practice of eating such food.

We ended the shiur with what the Aruch Hashulchan writes on this subject. He writes that one may eat fish cooked in milk without worry:

ולכן לית מאן דחש להא מילתא ויכולים לאכול בלי שום קפידא חלילה

However, he adds in parentheses that one should see the last Tosafot in the first chapter of masechet Mo’ed Katan. Why does he send us to that Tosafot? What does that Tosafot say?

The last suggyah in Moe’ed Katan discusses eating fish. The Amorah רב  says that fisherman told him that fresh fish is not as healthy as fish that is close to being spoiled. This idea of course sounds surprising to us ( to put it mildly). The Tosafot were also surprised by this idea. So this is what the Tosafot say:

תוספות מסכת מועד קטן דף יא עמוד א

כוורא סמוך למסרחיה מעלי – ובזמן הזה תופסים סכנה למיכל סמוך לסירחון וגם משתי עלה אבוה דאמר בסמוך דמעלי ושמא נשתנו כמו הרפואות שבש”ס שאינן טובות בזמן הזה…

The idea put forward by the Tosafot is that the physical world in which Chazal lived was different from the world which we inhabit. What the fisherman told Rav was true in ancient Mesopotamia but is not true in northern Europe. This fact also explains according to Tosafot why the medical advice found in the Talmud simply does not work. The world of Chazal is different from our world.

I mentioned that some people are troubled by this Tosafot. What parts of the Talmud are eternally valid and which parts are not?

I proposed (in response to Ms. Sinensky’s question) that we can look at the Talmud’s teachings as forming a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum we find “pure” Halacha. “Pure” Halacha is timeless and eternally valid and binding. For example the Halachot of בשר בחלב  which we are studying are timeless. It will always be forbidden to eat a cheeseburger. The Reform movement assesses halachot according to a moral scale of their design and so rule that some halachot are binding while others are no longer valid. But we hold that the Torah is eternal. Cheeseburgers will always be forbidden.[2] At the other end of the spectrum are passages in the Talmud which contain medical advice. We must be careful before we dismiss these passages as being irrelevant since they be allegorical. However we do not need to accept their literal meanings since the Tosafot say that what was valid then is not necessarily valid now.

The great question that faces Orthodox Judaism now is how to relate to the Halachic passages that may be a reflection of societal considerations. Ms. Sinensky quite correctly brought up the Talmudic passages that limit women’s study of Torah. Some authorities ( such as our own Rabbi Brovender שליט”א  and Rabbi Fink שליט”א) are comfortable with teaching advanced Torah subjects to women. Other no less distinguished rabbis oppose this sort of study. The placement of these sort of passages on the spectrum of Talmudic teachings is the subject of debate and I am afraid that this question will vex us for the foreseeable future.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the class.

Stuart Fischman



[1]  הרמ”א,הש”ך וט”ז, החתם סופר וערוך השלחן.

[2] פרי חדש על שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן פז סעיף א

[ב] שאינו אסור מן התורה אלא דרך בישול וכו’. וצלי בכלל בישול,

November 7, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 3
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In yesterday’s shiur on בשר וחלב  we discussed the halachot of waiting between milk and meat and vice versa.

The Gemarah in masechet Chullin presents the discussion as follows:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת חולין דף קה עמוד א

בעא מיניה רב אסי מרבי יוחנן כמה ישהה בין בשר לגבינה א”ל ולא כלום

איני והא אמר רב חסדא אכל בשר אסור לאכול גבינה גבינה מותר לאכול בשר

אלא כמה ישהה בין גבינה לבשר א”ל ולא כלום

גופא אמר רב חסדא אכל בשר אסור לאכול גבינה גבינה מותר לאכול בשר

אמר ליה רב אחא בר יוסף לרב חסדא בשר שבין השינים מהו קרי עליה הבשר עודנו בין שיניהם אמר מר עוקבא אנא להא מלתא חלא בר חמרא לגבי אבא דאילו אבא כי הוה אכיל בשרא האידנא לא הוה אכל גבינה עד למחר עד השתא ואילו אנא בהא סעודתא הוא דלא אכילנא לסעודתא אחריתא אכילנא

The Gemarah quotes Rav Chisdah as saying that one may not eat cheese after eating meat but one may eat meat after having eaten cheese. Then we are told that Mar Ukbah said about himself that he is like “vinegar made from wine.” Mar Ukbah’s father would wait after eating meat 24 hours before he would eat cheese, but Mar Ukbah himself would eat cheese at the next meal after eating meat.

What does “ the next meal” mean in this suggyah? Tosafot say that it means, simply, the next meal.

תוספות מסכת חולין דף קה עמוד א

לסעודתא אחריתא אכילנא – לאו בסעודתא שרגילין לעשות אחת שחרית ואחת ערבית אלא אפילו לאלתר אם סילק השולחן ובירך מותר דלא פלוג רבנן.

After finishing a meat meal, one needs only to clear off the table, say Birkat Hamazon and then she may eat a dairy meal.[1]

The רי”ף and Rambam interpret Mar Ukbah’s statement differently. They hold that waiting for the next meal means waiting six hours since that is the amount of time that we wait between meals.

דין תורה forbids cooking meat with milk. It is a דין דרבנן that requires that we wait between meat and dairy meals. Why did the Sages enact this rule? Rashi says that meat leaves a certain residual flavor in our mouths, so we need to wait for that flavor to dissipate before eating cheese. The Rambam says that the reason for this rule is that meat can be trapped between our teeth and we need to wait for that meat to dissolve before eating cheese.

The מחברז in Shulcahn Aruch rules like the Rambam, that we need to wait six hours between eating meat and eating cheese. The Rema writes that the custom where he lived was to wait only one hour, but waiting six hours is preferable. The ט”ז , citing the תרומת הדשן , wrote that there really is no basis for waiting one hour. Nevertheless since according to Tosafot there is no need to wait at all there is no need to protest this custom. However people should be educated to realize that the correct practice is to wait six hours.

The Rema goes on to say that not only meat requires waiting six hours. Even a person who eats a meat stew or clear chicken broth[2] must wait six hours. However if all that someone did was to taste the soup she does not need to wait six hours ( but she does need  to rinse her mouth and eat something pareve before eating cheese).

After eating cheese, the Gemarah says that there is no need to wait at all. All that a person needs to do is to rinse out her mouth and eat something pareve. She also needs to make sure that there are no crumbs of cheese on her hands.

This is the ruling of the Gemarah and of the מחבר in Shulchan Aruch. The Rema writes that there are those who are strict and wait after eating cheese and that this is the custom after eating “hard” cheese. The source of this custom is מהר”ם מרוטנברג the great Ashkenazi authority. מהר”ם מרוטנברג wrote that in his youth he laughed at people who waited after eating cheese and considered this custom heretical.[3] However, one day he ate cheese and was about to eat meat and he discovered crumbs of cheese between his teeth. Since then he accepted upon himself to wait between cheese meals and meat meals. This practice in not heretical he decided because a person is free to accept a strict practice when this is necessary.

In דרכי משה the Rema writes that cheeses that are aged for six months or are worm infested are considered to be “hard.”  The O-U has a list of hard cheeses which require waiting six hours:



For what it’s worth, the only cheese that I recognize on the list is Parmesan, but I am far from being a gourmet.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the shiur.

Stuart Fischman

[1] Although Tosafot do not mention this, a person would also need to rinse out her mouth and to eat something “pareve” before eating cheese after having eaten meat. This is also true for the person who wants to eat meat after having eaten cheese.

[2] See the כף החיים סימן פט ס”ק נב/נג

[3] Presumably because it is against the Gemarah.

November 14, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 4
Class description

Hello Everyone,

We opened yesterday’s shiur on the laws of בשר בחלב with a quote from the ים של שלמה:

…וכ”ש שלא יפה עושין אותן הקונים מיני קשואים מלוחים, עם מי המלח, ואוכלים בקערה שלהם, שהרי אפי’ הקישואין צריכין הדחה, אם הושמו בקערה שלהם, וא”כ האי מלח דלא שייך בהו הדחה נאסרה כולה[1]…..

Pickles can become treif by being placed on a treif plate! Who would have thought this? How does the plate make the pickle trief? This is what we studied yesterday.

The key to understanding the usual questions that we deal with in בשר וחלב is the concept called “.טעם”   The איסור דאורייתא of בשר בחלב is cooking meat and milk together. Making a cheeseburger or veal Parmensan[2] is obviously forbidden and most of us will never have to deal with the question of eating these foods.

The more common questions involve mixing meat and dairy dishes and silverware. Using a dairy ladle to serve chicken soup is the sort of question that we all deal with every now and then. What we studied yesterday is why  a spoon made of metal with no visible milk residue makes a pot of chicken soup treif.

The answer to this question is, as I wrote, “.טעם”  טעם means “flavor.” The Halacha operates with a principle that objects ( and  “objects” includes foodstuffs and utensils) absorb the flavors of foods which they contact. The extent to which objects absorb food depends on factors such as heat and the consistency of the foods in question. Hot objects absorb more than cold objects and moist foods absorb more than dry foods. But this transfer of flavor/  טעם is something that we need to always be aware of. טעם demands our attention when we discuss בשר בחלב. It seems to me that most of us would almost intuitively recoil from any possibility of having our food or dishes contact pork. However in all of our homes[3] meat and dairy products exist in harmony.  While we would not layer a chicken cutlet with sliced cheese, sometimes we may innocently heat up chicken soup in a dairy pot. This is where טעם enters the picture.

The Gemarah derives the concept of טעם from two sources. The first source is the law of the Nazir:

במדבר פרק ו

(א) וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר:

(ב) דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה כִּי יַפְלִא לִנְדֹּר נֶדֶר נָזִיר לְהַזִּיר לַה’:

(ג) מִיַּיִן וְשֵׁכָר יַזִּיר חֹמֶץ יַיִן וְחֹמֶץ שֵׁכָר לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה וְכָל מִשְׁרַת עֲנָבִים לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה וַעֲנָבִים לַחִים וִיבֵשִׁים לֹא יֹאכֵל:

רש”י במדבר פרשת נשא פרק ו פסוק ג

וכל משרת – לשון צביעה במים וכל משקה, ובלשון משנה יש הרבה אין שורין דיו וסמנים (שבת יז ב), נזיר ששרה פתו ביין (נזיר לד ב):

תלמוד בבלי מסכת נזיר דף לז עמוד א

לכדתניא משרת ליתן טעם כעיקר שאם שרה ענבים במים ויש בהן טעם יין חייב ומכאן אתה דן כל איסורין שבתורה ומה נזיר שאין איסורו איסור עולם ואין איסורו איסור הנאה ויש היתר לאיסורו עשה בו טעם כעיקר כלאי הכרם שאיסורן איסור עולם ואיסורן איסור הנייה ואין היתר לאיסורן אינו דין שיעשה בו טעם כעיקר

The Nazir may not eat grapes, nor may he drink wine. But the Torah also forbids”משרת ענבים” . What is “?משרת ענבים”  משרת ענבים is grape-flavored water. If a Nazir would soak grapes in water and then filter out all of the grapes and their tangible residue, he is left with grape-flavored water. Despite the fact that there is no grape substance left in the water, the Nazir may not drink the water. It is the intangible flavour of grapes which make the water forbidden. This phenomenon is known in the Halachic literature as “.טעם כעיקר” The residual flavour has the status of the substance.

The other source for learning the idea of טעם כעיקר is the requirement to “kasher” the used pots which we acquire from non-Jews. When the Jews defeated Midian they were commanded to “kasher” the utensils which they captured in the war.

במדבר פרק לא

(כג) כָּל דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יָבֹא בָאֵשׁ תַּעֲבִירוּ בָאֵשׁ וְטָהֵר אַךְ בְּמֵי נִדָּה יִתְחַטָּא וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָבֹא בָּאֵשׁ תַּעֲבִירוּ בַמָּיִם:

Even if the utensils were clean they needed to heat them in  fire. What was the purpose of this heating? Rabbi Akiva says[4] that it was done to extract any residual טעם  from the pots. This is necessary because of טעם כעיקר.

טעם כעיקר is a well-established part of the Halacha’s reality. What remains to be determined is the status of the concept; is it דאורייתא  or דרבנן? If it is דאורייתא then doubts involving טעם must be resolved strictly, if it is דרבנן then the doubts can be resolved leniently.

This question is the subject of a מחלוקת between the leading authorities. Rashi says that טעם כעיקר is a rabbinic enactment. The דרשות are in the category אסמכתא. Rabbeinu Tam says that טעם כעיקר is דאורייתא.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that טעם כעיקר is דאורייתא and therefore doubts involving טעם are resolved לחומרא. Therefore if ( for example) a dairy spoon is used to stir beef stew unless I know for a fact that the ratio of the stew to the volume of the spoon was 60:1, the stew may not be eaten. When טעם is involved it needs to be nullified by the kosher food, and this requires a ratio of 60:1. As the Gra in his comments to the relevant passage in Shulchan Aruch writes:

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תערובות סימן צח סעיף ב

….אבל אם נתערב בשאינו מינו ונשפך בענין שאין יכולין לעמוד עליו לשערו, אפי’ נודע שהיה רובו היתר, אסור….

ביאור הגר”א על שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תערובות סימן צח סעיף ב

(י) אבל נתערב כו’. דקיי”ל טעם כעיקר דאורייתא….

I need to emphasize that טעם  is intangible. Even if a dairy spoon is spotlessly clean and  dry , if it is inserted in to a hot bowl of meat soup the spoon transfers its טעם to the soup and a rabbi must be consulted to determine if the soup may be eaten.[5]

This is a summary of yesterday’s shiur. There are many many details to טעם. In yeshivot students who wish to receive סמיכה spend an entire year studying בשר בחלב and all its permutations which are known as דיני תערובת. We will not study these laws in such depth. I only wish to bring the concepts to your attention.

If anyone has questions or ideas for discussion please feel free to write to me



Stuart Fischman


[1] ים של שלמה מסכת חולין פרק ח סימן מד


[2] Whether to capitalize “Parmesan”  is debated in Google:




[3] with the exception, of course, of the vegetarians and vegans among us and who have my deepest respect.

[4] Pesachim 44b.

[5] I am deliberately using the word “meat” in cases of a dairy spoon, and by “meat” I mean beef as opposed to poultry. We learned that poultry cooked with milk is a Rabbinic prohibition. It would seem then that a טעם כעיקר question involving poultry and milk would be a דרבנן question and any doubt would be resolved leniently.  This is not the case. Many Poskim rule that poultry is treated like beef for purposes of בשר בחלב.

ערוך השולחן יורה דעה סימן צח

סעיף לח

כיון שנתבאר דהטעם דבמין בשאינו מינו כשנשפך אסור עד שיוודע שהיה ס’ כנגד האיסור הוא מטעם דמין בשאינו מינו הוה דאורייתא לפ”ז באיסור דרבנן אף במין בשאינו מינו וכן בשר עוף שנפל לחלב ונשפך אם רק ידוע שהיה רוב מותר כדין מין במינו ונשפך [ש”ך סק”ז] וי”א דבבשר עוף בחלב יש להחמיר כבבשר בהמה דבכל הדברים אנו משוין אותן [ט”ז סק”ה] והסומך על דיעה ראשונה לא הפסיד ויש לו על מה לסמוך והמחמיר תבא עליו ברכה:

November 21, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 5
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In last week’s shiur we discussed the concept of טעם. The word “טעם”  means flavour, and in the context of הלכות בשר בחלב it denotes the transfer of the residual flavour which we remains in dishes and pots after the actual food is no longer present. For example, if chicken soup is prepared in a pot, the walls of the pot contain a residual flavor of chicken. If the same pot would be used within 24 hours to prepare cheese fondue the fondue would be אסור. The cheese will have been combined with the טעם of the chicken soup and acquire the status of בשר בחלב.

This example of טעם involves טעם transferred by heat. As a rule heat is the most common vehicle for the transfer of טעם. If two cold objects contact each other טעם will not be transferred.[1] An important exception to this rule is the situation when very spicy foods are involved. An entire chapter in שלחן ערוך יורה דעה is devoted to the subject of very spicy foodstuffs.[2] These halachot are known as the laws of דבר חריף.

דבר חריף differs from ordinary foods in two important respects:

  1. a) When דבר חריף is cut with a knife the דבר חריף absorbs the טעם of the knife even when the דבר חריף and the knife are both cold.
  2. b) In most circumstances when the utensil in question ( be it a knife or a pot or even a cutting board) has not been used for 24 hours[3] we say that the טעם is no longer good. It is called טעם לפגם and though it may be absorbed it will not create a condition of איסור. [4]

This is not the  case when דבר חריף is involved. If for example a cheese omelette was prepared in a frying pan and two days later onions were fried in  that pan, those onions are treated as dairy food.

דבר חריף is a halacha which deals with טעם. Therefore even if a knife or pan is spotlessly clean it contains טעם and the laws of דבר חריף apply to it.[5]

The Gemarah, in its discussions of דבר חריף , makes reference to two specific vegetables. It singles out צנון which is usually translated as “radish” and חלתית which is a remarkably pungent vegetable “asofoetida.”[6] The consensus of the Rishonim as reflected in the Shulchan Aruch is that all pungent or spicy foods are to be treated as דבר חריף. Even spicy beverages are דבר חריף.The list of דבר חריף  foods includes garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger, and borscht.[7]

Sharpness is certainly a subjective value. The Aruch Hashulchan makes the following significant observation regarding דבר חריף:

ערוך השולחן יורה דעה סימן צו

סעיף יג

הסכמת רוב הפוסקים דזה שאמרו חז”ל דמפני חריפות הצנון בולע הרבה כמו שנתבאר לאו דווקא צנון דה”ה שומין ובצלים ותמכא שקורין קרי”ן דכל אלו אנו רואים בחוש שיש בהם חריפות יותר מן הצנון וכן כל כיוצא באלו הוה דבר חריף

ופירות חמוצים משמע מדברי רבינו הב”י בסעיף ב’ דהוה דבר חריף וצ”ל שהם חמוצים ביותר דסתם פירות חמוצים כתפוחים ואגסים ושזיפין שקורין פלוימע”ן וקירסי”ן לא שייך לקרותם דבר חריף אם לא כשהעמידם בחומץ [עי’ ט”ז סק”ט ומ”ש בסק”ח צ”ע דזהו לענין אינו בן יומו ודו”ק]

וכן ירקות חמוצים כמו אוגערקע”ס[8] וקרוי”ט[9] ובוריקעס[10] חמוצים וכן שארי מיני ירקות נראה בחוש שאין בהם חריפות כלל ובארש”ט שעושין ברוסיא מסובין עם מים דהוה דבר חריף [ט”ז שם] וזהו כשהוא מחומץ הרבה שא”א לשתותו חי בלי עירוב מים אבל סתם בארש”ט המורגל אינו דבר חריף [בה”י ופמ”ג שם] ועשב שקורין שצאווי”י[11] ובאצווינ”א[12] ג”כ אינו דבר חריף

ודע דצנון אנו רגילין לפרשו מה שקורין רעטא”ך[13] בלשוננו [ובילדותי שמעתי מאחד הגדולים שגאון אחד הקיל ברעטי”ך שקליפתו לבנה ואמר שאותו שקליפתו שחור הוא חריף ביותר והחוש מעיד כך ואמר שהרעטי”ך הגדילים בא”י ובבבל כולם קליפתן שחורה ומרים הרבה ואפשר לסמוך ע”ז במקום הפסד]:

The Aruch Hashulchan is aware of the lists of דבר חריף which appear in the Shulcahn Aruch and its commentators. He rules that “חריף” is certainly subjective and he therefore is willing to say that foods described as “חריף” need to be assessed as they appear before us. Borscht is mentioned as a  דבר חריף by the ט”ז but the Aruch Hashulchan observed that the borscht that was eaten in his own time is not חריף at all. It follows that the “recipe” for borscht had changed over time. The Aruch Hashulchan goes on to say that he heard as a youth from a Gadol that an earlier Gadol ruled that black radishes are דבר חריף but the white radishes found in Russia are not חריף.[14]

For the דבר חריף to extract טעם from a cold knife one additional factor is needed. This additional factor is pressure, the knife presses down on the דבר חריף. This pressure is referred to as דוחקא דסכינא. The חכמת [15]אדם extends the concept of דוחקא דסכינא. The דבר חריף extracts טעם not only from the knife which cuts it but from the surface upon which it is cut. Therefore if an onion is cut with a pareve knife on a meat plate the onion may not be cooked with dairy food. This is why it is important to have a pareve knife as  well as a pareve cutting board in our kitchens.

The Shulchan Aruch writes that despite the halachot of דבר חריף  it is permitted to buy preserves of דבר חריף from Gentiles even though their knives are presumably treif. The reason for this leniency is that the makers of preserves use special utensils to prepare and cook their preserves. I do not know if this leniency applies in the modern manufacture of foods. Before purchasing preserves at farmers’ markets and roadside stands please consult with a rabbi.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the shiur.

Stuart Fischman


[1] An exception  to this idea is heavily salted food. There is a rule in Halacha of מליח כרותח. However this rule is rarely encountered today. It was much more relevant when foods were heavily salted in order to preserve them. See יורה דעה צא:ה.

[2] סימן צו.

[3] Such a utensil is referred to as “.אינו בן יומו”

[4] Food cooked in an אינו בן יומו pot will not be forbidden, but the pot must be kashered.

[5] See the פתחי תשובה סימן קכא אות (ט).

[6] https://www.toraland.org.il/%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%97-%D7%95%D7%94%D7%97%D7%99-%D7%91%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%A0%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%9E%D7%91%D7%9D/%D7%96%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%99%D7%9D/%D7%97%D7%9C%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%AA.aspx




[7] With regard to borscht see the ט”ז ס”ק (ט) and the Aruch Hashulchan

[8] cucumbers

[9] cabbage

[10] beets

[11] This may be “schav” which my grandmother ע”ה enjoyed.

[12] I don’t know what this is .

[13] Radish

[14][14] It may be that the “earlier Gadol” was Rav Chaim of Volozhin zt”l, This  ruling of his is mentioned in the book מקור ברוך on page 1166 of volume number 3.

[15] As well as הגאון רב שלמה קלוגר זצ”ל  and the מהרש”ם.

November 28, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 6
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In yesterday’s shiur on בשר בחלב we learned about the concept of נותן טעם בר נותן טעם (which is known by the acronym נ”ט בר נ”ט). נ”ט בר נ”ט is “second hand”  or “derived” .טעם

This is what the Gemarah says:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת חולין דף קיא עמוד ב

איתמר דגים שעלו בקערה רב אמר אסור לאכלן בכותח ושמואל אמר מותר לאכלן בכותח רב אמר אסור נותן טעם הוא ושמואל אמר מותר נותן טעם בר נ”ט הוא….

אמר חזקיה משום אביי הלכתא דגים שעלו בקערה מותר לאוכלן בכותח

When hot fish are served on a cold meat plate (or vice versa) Rav and Shmuel disagree if the fish may be eaten with yogurt. We have learned that heat is a medium for the transfer of טעם and therefore  Rav holds that the fish absorbed the טעם of meat from the plate. It follows that the fish may not be eaten with yogurt. Shmuel holds that the טעם absorbed by the fish is “בר טעם”- it is a weaker form of טעם and therefore the fish do not have the status of meat and they may be eaten with yogurt.

The Gemarah presents one example of acquiring נ”ט בר נ”ט. Another method of acquiring נט בר נ”ט is by cooking. According to Rashi’s son-in-lawריב”ן  Rashi was asked about eggs cooked in a dairy pot; may those eggs be used to prepare stuffing for a chicken? Rashi replied that they may not be used that way. Even though we can say that the eggs absorbed נ”ט בר נ”ט via the dairy pot Rashi held that in the case of cooking        ( as opposed to the Gemara’s case of the fish merely being placed on a hot plate) we do not apply נ”ט בר נ”ט. Rashi reasoned that if by דבר חריף we say that a cold radish absorbs טעם from a cold knife we must say that heat is at least as effective as sharpness of flavour in transferring טעם. Therefore the eggs cooked in a dairy pot must be treated as milk.

Many Poskim disagreed with Rashi. The Rosh wrote that when we are discussing cooking there is an additional intermediary in the transfer of טעם. Specifically, the Rosh says that we need to take account of the water that fills the pot. In Rashi’s case the milk transferred טעם to the walls of the pot. Next, the walls of the pot transferred the טעם to the water which filled the pot and only then was the טעם transferred from the water to the eggs. The טעם in this case is much more diluted than either the טעם which was transferred to the fish in the case of the Gemarah or than the טעם transferred from the knife to the radish. The eggs may be served with chicken.

The Poskim who applied נ”ט בר נ”ט  to cooking did not necessarily apply it to grilling, since the fish contacts the grill which contacted the meat.

להלכה the מחבר  rules leniently by נ”ט בר נ”ט and does  not accept the strict position of ריב”ן.

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה סימן צה סעיף א

דגים שנתבשלו או שנצלו בקדירה של בשר רחוצה יפה, שאין שום שומן דבוק בה, מותר לאכלם בכותח, משום דהוי נותן טעם בר נותן טעם דהיתרא. ואם לא היתה רחוצה יפה, אם יש בממש שעל פי הקדירה יותר מאחד בששים בדגים, אסור לאכלם בכותח.

The Rema however does take the position of ריב”ן into account:

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן צה סעיף ב

ביצה שנתבשלה במים בקדירה חולבת, מותר לתת אותה בתוך התרנגולת אפילו לכתחלה. אבל אם נתבשלה בקדירה עם בשר, ואפילו בקליפה, אסור לאכלה בכותח. הגה: ויש מחמירין בצלייה ובישול לאסור נותן טעם בר נותן טעם. (ריב”ן בשם רש”י ובארוך כלל ל”ד הביא המרדכי וא”ז). והמנהג לאסור לכתחלה, ובדיעבד מותר בכל ענין…..

נ”ט בר נ”ט is a “convenient” halachah ( though it is more useful for Sephardim than for Ashkenazim). Nevertheless there are certain limits that we need to be mindful of before saying that something is permitted based on נ”ט בר נ”ט.

First of all, נ”ט בר נ”ט does not apply to non-kosher foods. The טעם of treif foods remains treif no matter how many times it has been passed from one object another. This we saw is an important factor that must be taken into consideration when koshering food processing plants. Canned foods are sealed into their cans and steam-cooked in large retorts. The steam is pumped from one retort to another along pipes hundreds (if not thousands) of feet long. If in one retort pork is being cooked and in another retort beans are being cooked via the same steam used in the first retort, the beans are treif. The steam heated the cans of pork and absorbed the טעם of the pork (טעם can travel through heated metal). The steam then carries the טעם  of the pork through the pipes until it enters the retort containing the sealed cans of beans. The steam heats the cans, the cans heat the beans and so the beans absorb the טעם of the pork.

The second rule that must be remembered is that the Rema says that נ”ט בר נ”ט is only applied בדיעבד. It is not permitted to deliberately cook pasta in a dairy pot with the intention to serve the pasta with meatballs.

The third limitation to נ”ט בר נ”ט is what we learned last week. דבר חריף absorbs טעם and acquires the status of the absorbed טעם. Therefore if an onion is sliced with a meat knife, the onion is treated as meat and may not be eaten with cheese.

This is a summary of yesterday’s shiur. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Stuart Fischman


December 5, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 7
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In yesterday’s shiur we began a discussion which I think has the most relevance to everyday kashrut. The discussion covered the subjects of ריחא and זיעה. As a rule questions of בשר בחלב arise because of accidents in the kitchen; spoons get mixed up or things spill. On the other hand questions of ריחא וזיעה are very difficult to avoid.

ריחא וזיעה are concepts which relate to ovens. ריחא means aroma and זיעה means steam. The question regarding both of these concepts is whether or not they transfer טעם. If they do transfer טעם then we need to discuss if it is permissible not only to cook meat and dairy foods simultaneously in an oven but even if it is permissible to cook meat and dairy foods one after the other in the same oven. It is therefore clear that unless a person owns two ovens questions about ריחא וזיעה cannot be avoided.

ריחא, as noted means aroma. The Gemarah discusses in two suggyaot the question if ריחא has any significance. In other words, can ריחא transfer טעם?

תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף עו עמוד א- דף עו עמוד ב


אמר רב בשר שחוטה שמן שצלאו עם בשר נבילה כחוש אסור מאי טעמא מפטמי מהדדי ולוי אמר אפילו בשר שחוטה כחוש שצלאו עם בשר נבילה שמן מותר מאי טעמא ריחא בעלמא הוא וריחא לאו מילתא היא עביד לוי עובדא בי ריש גלותא בגדי ודבר אחר

The two Amora’im, Rav and Levi disagree if the food’s aroma transfers טעם. Rav says that aroma does transfer טעם and Levi says that it does not. There is a parallel disagreement between a different pair of Amora’im in masechet Avodah Zarah:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת עבודה זרה דף סו עמוד ב

האי בת תיהא עובד כוכבים בדישראל ש”ד ישראל בדעובד כוכבים אביי אמר אסור רבא אמר מותר אביי אמר אסור ריחא מילתא היא רבא אמר מותר ריחא לאו מילתא היא

The Rif says that  the general rule of deciding the halacha is that we follow Rava against Abayei, therefore we hold ריחא לאו מילתא . The Tosafot say that we must rule that ריחא מילתא because of the conclusion of the suggyah in Pesachim:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת פסחים דף עו עמוד ב

תני רב כהנא בריה דרב חיננא סבא פת שאפאה עם צלי בתנור אסור לאכלה בכותחא ההיא ביניתא דאיטווא בהדי בישרא אסרה רבא מפרזיקיא למיכליה בכותחא

The suggyah says that bread and fish which are prepared together with meat in the same oven have the satus of meat and may not be eaten with yogurt. It would seem therefore that ריחא מילתא. The Rif explains that Levi and Rava say ריחא לאו מילתא as a   בדיעבד principle. If bread is baked together with meat there is the option of eating the bread with meat. Therefore to eat the bread with yogurt is ignoring the aroma לכתחילה and this is not permitted.

The ruling of Shulchan Aruch is like the Rif-:

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תערובות סימן קח

סעיף א

אין צולין בשר כשרה עם בשר נבלה או של בהמה טמאה בתנור א’, ואף על פי שאין נוגעים זה בזה. ואם צלאן, הרי זה מותר.

Steam/זיעה is an entirely different matter. The Shulchan Aruch treats steam as something substantial.

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן צב סעיף ח

מחבת של חלב שנתנו בכירה תחת קדירה של בשר, הזיעה עולה ונבלע בקדירה, ואוסרתה.

We see from this halacha that steam transfers טעם. The Rema adds a significant consideration. The only form of steam which transfers טעם is  steam which is יד סולדת בו:

וגם מיירי שהוא בקרוב כל כך שהיד סולדת בזיעה במקום שנוגע בקדירה. אבל אם אין היד סולדת בזיעה, הכל שרי

The case of the Shulchan Aruch is when the milk and meat pots are present in the same oven together. The milk steam rises and contact the pot of meat and so it “treifs” the meat.

It was asked during the shiur if this halacha of זיעה applies to microwave ovens. In microwave ovens the food is heated by microwaves leaving the walls of the oven cold ( unless if the heat from the food heats the walls of the oven).  I explained that the halacha of זיעה relates to the steam produced by the foods. If a cup of chicken soup is heated together with a cup of coffee (containing milk) the two foods will be treif. The steam from the chicken soup will enter the coffee and the steam from the coffee will enter the chicken soup. [1]

The Shulchan Aruch does not discuss using ovens for meat and afterwards for dairy foods. The question regarding זיעה in such cases is discussed by the אגרות משה which I hope to discuss next week בלי נדר.

Thanks to everyone who attended the shiur.

Stuart Fischman


[1] If someone heated up chicken soup after someone heated coffee (with milk) in the microwave there may be room for leniency. The Rema ruled that the only זיעה with which we are concerned is זיעה which is יד סולדת בו . It may very well be that the steam which rises in the microwave is not יד סולדת בו and therefore it is not absorbed by the walls of the microwave.

December 12, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 8
Class description

Hello Everyone,

In today’s shiur on בשר בחלב we finished the discussion of זיעה-steam. In last week’s shiur we saw the p’sak of the Rema that steam transfers טעם. If dry foods sre bsked in together in the same oven their aromas do not transfer טעם (“ריחא לאו מילתא” ). However if an open pot of milk is cooked in the same oven as meat the steam from the milk will transfer טעם. Not only will the steam transfer טעם to the adjacent meat, it will also transfer טעם to the walls of the oven.

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l was asked about the permissibility of cooking meat and dairy foods in the same oven ( not simultaneously, but one after the other). The rabbi who sent the question to Rav  Feinstein zt”l presented three reasons to permit this:

  1. a)  The dishes in which the foods are cooked are nort close to the walls of the oven
  2. b)  Gas ovens have vents which allow the steam to escape
  3. c)  The steam is burned out of the walls of the oven by the heat of the oven.

Rav Feinstein zt”l rejected all three reasons. He replied as follows:

  1. a)  It is true that the Rema wrote that if meat is hung to dry over open, boiling pots of milk, that the meat is not made treif by the steam rising from the pots of milk. The reason for this is that for the טעם to be absorbed the steam must be יד סולדת בו . In the case of the meat hanging over the pots of milk, the steam cools off before it reaches the meat. This is true for steam escaping from the pots into the air of the kitchen. The situation in a gas oven is entirely different. Even if the walls of the oven are far from the food being cooked in open pans, the walls of the oven are certainly hotter than יד סולדת בו. Therefore the stream from the food is reheated when it contacts the walls of the oven and the oven walls absorb טעם from the re-heated steam.[1]
  2. b)  Rav Feinstein wrote that he did not find any vents in the ovens that he saw. Rav Feinstein added that even if there such vents, their presence would not change the fact זיעה is present in the oven.
  3. c)  Rav Feinstein wrote that the temperature of the oven does not reach the level needed to burn out the absorbed טעם.[2]

Rav Feinstein pointed that when discussing זיעה we must be careful to keep in mind that dry foods may not cause זיעה. Rav Feinstein ruled that if one waits 24 hours between cooking the meat and dairy foods the dairy food is permitted because

  1. a)  The absorbed טעם is אינו בן יומו
  2. b)  Perhaps there was no זיעה at all
  3. c)  Probably any זיעה which condenses into the food being cooked is בטל בששים.

If a person has only one oven and it is not practical to wait 24 hours between meat and dairy foods how should she proceed? Rav Elyashiv Knohl advises to do the following. If the oven has a self-cleaning cycle[3] run the self-cleaning cycle between meat and dairy foods. If the oven lacks a self- cleaning cycle then any crumbs or such should be wiped off from the oven’s walls and then it should heated to its hottest setting and left to operate at that temperature for 30 minutes. This is a sufficient to considered ליבון.[4]

If a person wishes to avoid any issues requiring this sort of ליבון then she should seal completely her baking pans  so that no steam will escape. This can easily be done by covering her pans and pots with two layers of aluminium foil.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the shiur.

I wish to remind everyone that the WebYeshiva is conducting a fund-raising drive. The shiurim are free but Cisco charges us for their services. So if you can contribute pelase go to the WebYeshiva site and make a contribution.

Happy Chanukah,

Stuart Fischman


[1] I was asked what would the Halacha be regarding microwave ovens. In microwave ovens there is no heat source making the walls of the device hot. Rather, the microwaves heat the food without having any direct effect on the oven itself. Therefore when a person heats a cup of coffee in a microwave there is steam. The question is whether the steam is יד סולדת בו when it contacts the roof of the oven.

I have never placed a thermometer in a microwave oven, but I can say  that when I open a microwave oven after boiling water in it for three minutes the condensation on the roof of the oven is warm but not certainly not יד סולדת בו.

[2] The process of “burning out” טעם is called ליבון. See שלחן ערוך אורח חיים תנא:ד and  ש”ך, יורה דעה סימן קכא אות ח.

[3] Please note: a self-cleaning oven is not the same as a continuous-cleaning oven. A self-cleaning oven heats itself to a very high temperature, and at this temperature any residue on the walls of the oven is burned off. This meats the Halachic criterion of ליבון.

A continuous cleaning oven has a special lining which does not allow residue to accumulate on its surface. This coating does not prevent בליעה .

[4] As I mentioned in footnote 2 there are two types of ליבון, ליבון חמור וליבון קל. ליבון חמור is required  when non-kosher food is heated directly on a surface. For example if one wishes to use a frying pan upon which bacon was fried the frying pan must be heated until it glows red-hot. This is ליבון חמור. If however a utensil absorbed kosher טעם ( such as milk or chametz) and wish to change the status of the utensil then ליבון קל  is sufficient. ליבון קל is achieved when the utensil is so hot a piece of straw touching it will burn.

December 19, 2017 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meat & Milk Basics: Lesson 9
Class description

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday was our last class on the halachot of בשר בחלב and we discussed bread. Specifically, we discussed the halacha that says that bread must be pareve. The reason for this rule is that bread is a staple of many meals, and the same loaf may be used at both meat and dairy meals. It follows then that bread should be pareve.

This rule I stated in the Gemarah in masechet Pesachim in two places and is accepted in Shulchan Aruch:

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן צז

סעיף א

אין לשין עיסה בחלב, שמא יבוא לאכלה עם הבשר. ואם לש, כל הפת אסור, אפילו לאכלה לבדה…

If someone does prepare dairy bread[1] the bread may not be eaten at all. It may not even be eaten by itself.

The Gemarah makes an exception for bread which is baked “.כעין תורא”  What does “כעין תורא” mean? There are two explanations. Rashi says it means small loaves. When the loaves are small they will be finished at the meal at which they are served. If one bakes small loaves of dairy bread to be eaten at a dairy meal, nothing will be left over for a meat meal, so no inadvertent violations of the Halacha will occur. The Rambam says that כעין תורא means having a distinctive shape. If the loaves of dairy bread do not resemble the usual loaves then no one will mistakenly eat them with meat.

The Shulchan Aruch accepts both explanations:

“… ואם היה דבר מועט כדי אכילה בבת אחת, או ששינה צורת הפת שתהא ניכרת שלא יאכל בה בשר, מותר.”

The halacha regarding dairy bread leaves us with some questions. What exactly are the parameters of “difference” which permit us to bake dairy bread? Also is this halacha regarding foods commonly at both meat and dairy meals limited to bread or does it apply to other foods as well?

Among the later Poskim there is a broad range of opinions regarding “difference.”

At one end of the spectrum is the opinion of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik zt”l, the father of Rav Yosef Dov Sooveitchik zt”l. The Rav zt”l said that his father ruled that it is sufficient to write on the wrapper of a loaf dairy bread “dairy” to permit its consumption. Rav Herschel Schechter in his “מפניני הרב” cites the opinion of the Chochmat  Adam as supporting the position of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik zt”l. The Chochmat Adam wrote that the rabbi of Vilna, Rav Shimon Zaken zt”l ruled that if bread inadvertently absorbed some meat it can be sold to the public. Rav Shimon Zaken said that onto each loaf of the meat-bread a bone should be placed indicating that the bread has the status of meat. The Chochmat Adam wrote that he originally opposed the ruling of Rav Shimon but he later accepted it after he saw opinions in the Rishonim which support Rav Shimon’s position. The Chochmat Adam wrote that based on the opinions that he saw in Rishonim:

ונראה לי דהוא הדין לפי זה דמהני אם יכתוב עליו בשר או חלב

At the other extreme of this spectrum is the חוות דעת. He ruled, based on the language of the Shulchan Aruch:

חוות דעת חידושים על שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות בשר בחלב סימן צז סעיף א

[ה] ששינה. ודוקא ששינה בשעת אפיה, אבל אח”כ אינו מועיל שינוי לפת מרובה, כיון שכבר נאסר.

The חוות דעת understands that the changes that make the bread “distinctive” must be made when the bread is baked. The Gemarah says quite clearly that it is totally forbidden to eat dairy bread unless if it is baked   “.כעין תורא” The conclusion that the חוות דעת drew from the Gemarah and Shulchan Aruch is that if a loaf of dairy bread appears like an ordinary loaf it is automatically forbidden to eat. No changes made to the loaf after it has been baked can change its status.

There are reputable kashrut organizations that provide hechsherim to dairy bread. One example is the hechsher that the O-U gives to dairy muffins. They provide the hechsher because these muffins do not resemble other commercially baked bread and these muffins are almost solely eaten for breakfast where meat is not normally served.

The second question is if this rule regulating foods which are normally pareve is limited to bread or  does it apply to other foods as well?

The ט”ז is one of the most significant commentators to Shulchan Aruch. He ruled that if a bowl in which spices are ground for both meat and dairy meals was used to prepare goose fat, the bowl can no longer be used until it is kashered. It may not even be used to prepare spices for a meat meal. The reason that the bowl may not be used is the same reason that dairy bread may not be eaten at all. Since the bowl is usually used to prepare spices for dairy as well as meat meals we need to be concerned that it may be used for dairy meals.

Other Poskim, though they acknowledge the authority of the ט”ז  , rule that the halacha is not like the ט”ז. The כרתי quotes the פרי חדש as saying:

“…דאין להוסיף על גזרת חז”ל.”

The question if the law regarding dairy bread is expanded beyond bread is particularly significant when we consider other baked goods. Many cakes and cookies are dairy. The Poskim were not enamored of dairy pastries which resemble pareve pastries. Some Poskim forbade their sale and consumption. Other Poskim permitted them when it is universally known in a particular locale that their pastries are dairy.  It seems to me that kashrut organizations give hechsherim to dairy pastries when their packaging indicates that they are dairy.

I want to thank everyone who participated in this series of shiurim

If you are able to do so , please make a contribution to the WebYeshiva fundraising drive.

I look forward to learning with you in the upcoming  Winter z’man.

Stuart Fischman

[1] The same is true for a bread which has meat as an ingredient as well.

Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.