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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Ki-Sisa

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

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. )


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 after meat?

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 meat (11).

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 meal (13).

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 hours (19).

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 eating dairy.

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 pg. 201.

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 Hashulchan 89:16.

20 Igros Moshe YD 2:26.

21 Darkei Teshuvah 89:5; Badei Hashulchan 89:8.

22 Eliyohu Rabba OC 173, Yad Yehudah 89:5, Darkei Teshuvah 89:12.

23 Rama 89:1.

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 Hashulchan 89:37.

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 Hashulchan 89:37.

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 pot.

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.

37 Pri Megadim OC 494:6

38 Yad Yehuda quoted in Darkei Teshuvah 89:42

39 Badei Hashulchan 89:90.

Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.

The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir ben Hinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross

The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of Congregation Shomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRav Yisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra



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