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By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt | Series: | Level:

QUESTION: Within the same meal, may one eat cheese or other dairy food and then eat meat immediately thereafter?

DISCUSSION: According to the basic Halachah it is permitted to eat meat or chicken immediately after eating cheese or any other dairy food, even during the same meal; there is no requirement to recite Birkas ha-Mazon or a berachah acharonah between the dairy and the meat. The only separation required is to clean and rinse the mouth and teeth, wash the hands and clean the table [or change the tablecloth] to make sure that no dairy residue or crumbs remain. While there are scrupulous individuals who wait at least an hour(1) between eating dairy and meat in addition to reciting Birkas ha-Mazon or a berachah acharonah between them – and their custom is based on the Zohar and quoted by several poskim(2) – it is not required by the Halachah.(3)

QUESTION: Does the same Halachah apply to hard cheese as well?

DISCUSSION: When “hard” cheese is eaten, however, the Halachah is different. Shulchan Aruch quotes an opinion that requires one to wait a full six hours before eating meat after eating hard cheese. This view maintains that the taste and oily residue of hard cheese lingers in the mouth long after the cheese has been consumed, just as the taste and residue of meat lingers long after consumption.(4) In addition, other poskim hold that hard cheese can get stuck between the teeth just as pieces of meat do.(5) While other poskim do not consider either of these issues to be a problem with hard cheese and permit eating meat immediately after eating hard cheese, Rama and the later poskim(6) recommend that one be stringent and wait six hours between consuming hard(7) cheese, and meat or poultry.

QUESTION: How do we define “hard” cheese concerning this Halachah?

DISCUSSION: Exactly how to define “hard” cheese is another controversial subject. All poskim agree that cheese which has been cured for at least six month before being packaged and refrigerated is considered hard cheese. (8) While many of the hard cheeses sold in the U.S. [or used in the making of pizza] are not aged for six months, there are several brands of cheese that advertise that they have been cured for 10 months or longer and those are surely considered hard cheeses. Parmesan cheese, for instance, is aged for at least a year, if not longer. The poskim are also in agreement that cheeses which are not aged six months but are cured long enough to becomes wormy,(9) are considered as hard cheese.(10)

There are, however, some poskim who maintain that all hard cheeses, including all kinds of American (yellow) cheese, etc., are considered hard cheese and one who eats them should wait six hours before eating meat.(11) While some individuals follow this opinion, the widespread custom follows the more lenient view.(12) It is appropriate, though, to wait at least one hour between eating any hard cheese and meat.(13)

QUESTION: On erev Shavuos, when should women light the Yom Tov candles?

DISCUSSION: There are two basic customs governing the time of candle- lighting on Yom Tov. Since it is permissible to light candles on Yom Tov proper, women have two options. Some women(140 light at the same time that they light on erev Shabbos, approximately 18 minutes before sunset. Although they could delay the lighting till later, it is meritorious to usher in the Yom Tov by lighting candles as is done on every erev Shabbos. Other women(15) light candles on Yom Tov after the men come home from shul and before the meal begins. Since the purpose of candle lighting is primarily to enhance and honor the meal, they light as close to the meal as possible. Each one of these customs has valid halachic sources and reasons, and women may continue the practice of their mothers.

On the Yom Tov of Shavuos, however, there is a good reason for women to light candles on Yom Tov itself and not before sunset. This is because the Torah commands that Shavuos commence on the fiftieth day of the counting of the omer. The fiftieth day does not begin until nightfall. Since most women have the custom of reciting the blessing of shehecheyanu along with their candle lighting, it would be considered as if Shavuos had begun for them before nightfall of the fiftieth day.(16) It would be better, therefore, for the women to light candles after nightfall.(17)

Alternatively, women who do not wish to light after nightfall should light before sunset but only but only if their custom is not to recite shehecheyanu at the time of their lighting. The recital of shehecheyanu represents the unconditional acceptance of the Yom Tov, and it should be recited, therefore, only at the time that the Yom Tov is actually accepted. (18) The blessing of shehecheyanu may be omitted at candle-lighting time because the widespread custom of women to recite it then has no halachic source. Indeed, some poskim(19) are of the opinion that women should not recite shehecheyanu at that time. Although the custom of most women is to recite shehecheyanu(20) and we need not object to their custom,(21) those women who do not recite shehecheyanu may light the erev shavuos candles before sunset.

A woman lighting candles after sunset should recite the blessing first and then light the candles.(22) A woman lighting candles before sunset has the choice to light first and then recite the blessing as she does every Shabbos, or to recite the blessing first and then light the candles. Both customs have legitimate sources and reasons.(23)

When Shavuos falls on Friday night, and women light candles for both Shabbos and Yom Tov, the blessing must be said for both occasions. If a woman forgot that it is also Shabbos and lit candles for Yom Tov only, she must light another candle and recite the blessing over Shabbos and Yom Tov. (24) If she forgot that it is Yom Tov and lit candles for Shabbos only, she should ask her husband or another person to light candles for Yom Tov and that person should make the blessing.(25)

QUESTION: Besides for cooking and baking, what other types of food preparation are prohibited on Shabbos but permitted on Yom Tov?

DISCUSSION: The following types of food preparation are permitted on Yom Tov – provided that the food will be used on that same Yom Tov day [or, if Yom Tov falls on Friday and an eiruv tavshilin was made, for Shabbos]. It is permitted to:

* Peel eggs, fruits or vegetables at any time (not only just before mealtime) and without restriction, either with a knife or with a peeler. (26)

* Debone chicken, fish or meat.(27)

* Remove melon or fruit seeds from the melon or fruit.

* Vegetables may be diced, either with a knife or a vegetable dicer.(28)

* Grind or mash cooked potatoes, onions, bananas or apples, even with a grater or a masher.(29)

* Sort cutlery in order to set the table.(30)

* Oil, mayonnaise or other liquids can be added to egg or tuna salads or any other food mixture without restriction.(31)

* Prepare instant potatoes or baby cereal.

* Squeeze excess oil out of canned tuna or fried fish [not only just before mealtime].

* Prepare whipped cream or mayonnaise, using either a fork or a rotary beater.(32)

* Make pudding, jello, ice cubes,(33) or salt water.(34) L’chatchilah, these food items should be prepared before Yom Tov.


1 Some wait an half an hour; see Peri Hadar on Peri Megadim Y.D. 89:16.

2 See Minchas Yaakov 76:5 and Beiur ha-Gra Y.D. 89:2. See Darkei Teshuvah 89:14 who rules like these poskim.

3 Mishnah Berurah 494:16; Aruch ha-Shulchan Y.D. 89:9.

4 Taz Y.D. 89:4.

5 Peri Chadash Y.D. 89:2.

6 Chochmas Adam 40:13; Aruch ha-Shulchan Y.D. 89: and Mishnah Berurah 494:16 and Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 15. Sefaradim, however, do not follow this stringency; see Yabia Omer Y.D. 6:7.

7 If the hard cheese is softened through boiling or cooking, it is no longer considered hard cheese; Darkei Teshuvah 89:43. But if it is merely fried or baked [as in pizza], it is still considered hard cheese; Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (Sefer ha-Kashrus, pg. 280; Meor ha-Shabbos, vol. 3, pg. 426).

8 Shach Y.D. 89:15.

9 These “worms” are kosher and are permitted to be eaten as long as they remain within the cheese; see Rama Y.D. 84:16.

10 Taz Y.D. 89:4; Chochmas Adam 40:13.

11 Harav Y.Y. Weiss, quoted in Teshvos V’hanhagos Y.D. 1:388; Harav S.Z. Auerbach, quoted in Meor ha-Shabbos, vol. 3, pg. 427; Harav Y.S. Elyashiv, quoted in Sefer ha-Kashrus, pg. 280; Shevet ha-Levi 2:35.

12 Ma’asei Ish 5, pg. 22, quoting Chazon Ish; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Feiffer), pg. 138, quoting Harav A. Kotler; Yagel Yaakov, pg. 148, quoting Harav M. Feinstein; Debreciner Rav in Pischei Halachah, pg. 108; Mi-beis Levi 6; Harav C. Kanievsky, quoted in Nezer ha-Chayim, pg. 213; Mesorah, vol. 20, pg. 91, ruling by Harav Y. Belsky.

13 Harav Y.E. Henkin, written ruling published in Yagel Yaakov, pg. 148.

14 Mateh Efrayim (625:33); Be’er Heitev 503:4 quoting the Shelah.

15 Minchas Shmuel (30). See Mishnas Ya’avetz (34) for a full explanation of the two customs.

16 See L’horos Nasson 7:31 who explains that even if women are exempt from the counting of the omer, they are still commanded to accept the day of Shavuos on the fiftieth day of the counting.

17 Harav Y.M. Tikutinsky in Luach Eretz Yisrael, quoting Harav S.Z. Zlatnik.

18 Consequently, women may not make a precondition that they are not accepting the Yom Tov (which otherwise may be done when needed) if shehecheyanu will be recited; see Kaf ha-Chayim 514:112, Tzitz Eliezer 10:19.

19 See Sh’eilas Ya’avetz 107, Kaf ha-Chayim O.C. 263:40 and Moadim u’Zemanim 7:117 quoting the Brisker Rav..

20 Mateh Efrayim 581:4;619:4.

21 Sha’arei Teshuvah 263:5; Mishnah Berurah 263:23; Aruch ha-Shulchan 263:12.

22 Mateh Efrayim 625:33 and Elef l’Mateh 50.

23 Mishnah Berurah 263:27.

24 Responsa Maharam Brisk 2:44. See also Kinyan Torah 6:11.

25 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 44:5.

26 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 4, note 27); Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (Mevakshei Torah, Yom Tov, vol. 1, pg. 257); Be’er Moshe 8:203.

27 O.C. 510:2 and Beiur Halachah, s.v. ha-borrer.

28 Mishnah Berurah 504:19.

29 Harav Y.S. Elyashiv (Mevakshei Torah, Yom Tov, vol. 1, pg. 251); Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 7:2. See also Orchos Rabbeinu, vol. 2, pg. 73, quoting Chazon Ish and Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky.

30 This is permitted only for cutlery that was used on Yom Tov night and will be used for he next morning’s meal.

31 Since Kneading is permitted on Yom Tov; O.C. 506:1-3.

32 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 11:31-32.

33 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 12, note 29, and Tikunim u’Miluim).

34 Mishnah Berurah 473:21.

Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Weekly sponsorships are available–please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross [email protected].

Rabbi Neustadt is Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights. He may be reached at 216-321-4635 or at [email protected].