Kosher Kwestion

I know that serving and eating dairy with meat is not kosher. But this has me wondering now: is there a time limit? For instance, if I swallowed the last morsel of a roast beef sandwich at 12 noon, would I have to wait a certain amount of time before eating ice cream or a piece of cheese? Does this law take into account the passing of eaten food through the GI tract, or is it based on when meals are usually eaten?

This was covered recently. However, the quick answer is that it is a matter of local custom.

Most Orthodox Jews wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy. However, some Jews of Germanic origin wait only three. I believe (and I could be wrong on this) that some Sephardim only wait an hour.

In any event, it goes based on when you last eat.

Zev Steinhardt


I thought it was the Dutch that waited an hour. Also, a friend of mine (with RIETS smicha) once told me that there is a halachic basis for 6 hours and 1 hour, but as far as he knew, there was no support for 3 hours. Do you have any idea where it comes from?

You could be right (I said I wasn’t sure) about the 1 hour deal. As far as the yekkish minhag to wait three hours; I don’t know the halachic basis for it.

Zev Steinhardt

Elsh: << Do you have any idea where it comes from? >>

In a word: TRADITION!

::: snapping fingers and stomping around the room in time to music that only I can hear :::

OK, OK, but seriously, there are some areas that are not legislated (so to speak) by halakha, and are left to local or family traditions.

You are correct about the Dutch.

I don’t believe there is any more basis for one hour than for 3 hours. (Six hours is commonly given).

In general, the Talmud does not give a specific time to wait - it says to wait from meal to meal. There was some dispute among the early halachic authorities as to whether this means the actual next meal, whenever it happens to be, or the standard meal-to-meal waiting time. The latter ruling won out. It is likely that differences in how much time to wait arose from differences in what the standard meal-to-meal waiting time was held to be.

I believe the 3 hour custom comes from an understanding of the phrase “like 6 hours” as mentioned in the Rabbinic sources. The idea being that it doesn’t have to be actually 6. Therefore some wait 3, some wait 5 hours and 1 minute, and some (like me) wait 5 1/2.

I also seem to remember learning somewhere that one should wait 6 hours between eating hard cheese and meat. However, I don’t know what hard cheese is, or if it’s made anymore, or if this is a common practice.

First it’s “Is mother’s milk kosher?”
Next, it’s “What if the guy eats meat and the girl drinks milk and they kiss?”
Now, it’s “What happens if these substances mix in the alimentry canal even if they were consumed hours apart?”

Zev, I admire your patience.

My response is simply to quote a brief conversation I had with my Dad (the Jewish guy):

Me: Dad, what would you think of someone who wanted to know what would happen if one person ate meat and the other person drank milk and they kissed?
Dad: They sound like they are very worried about not breaking any laws…
Me: But what if the person asking the question is not Jewish?
Dad: Oh, that’s just plain silly.

I believe that the longer waiting periods are the opinions of Rabbis who feel that the first meal should be completely digested in the stomach before the meal of the opposite type is consumed.

That’s why there’s invariably a longer waiting period (regardless of what that actual period is) from meat to milk, and for hard cheese to meat, than for ordinary milk products to meat.

Umm, you guys are aware of the fact that Dutch Jewish community is Sephardic (As are the Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, much of the Italian and, of course, the North African communities)?

*Originally posted by Alessan *

No, I wasn’t aware of that. Where did they come from originally?

Are you aware of the fact that there have historically been both Ashkenazic and Sefardic communities in Holland? (IIRC, a community of Sefardim fleeing the inquisition found refuge there, but I may be wrong). I have heard many times about the “Dutch” tradition of waiting 1 hour, and am unsure as to which community it refers to. But I would be inclined to think it refers to the Ashkenazic one, because the one hour custom appears to derive from Ashkenazic sources. (It was at one time more widespread in the Ashkenazic world).

<< Me: Dad, what would you think of someone who wanted to know what would happen if one person ate meat and the other person drank milk and they kissed? >>

That is, of course, the essence of talmudic reasoning… also called “hairsplitting” or “legalistic thought.”

No offense taken, but I hardly think my curiosity in this matter is silly. It’s well known that Jewish scholars have pondered such questions for thousands of years. This is a forum dedicated to fighting ignorance, and I thought I’d be enriched by searching for an answer here. Being non-Jewish doesn’t make the search for knowledge and understanding of Jewish laws and traditions silly. Unless you honestly think it’s silly to want to know about things outside your sphere of knowledge and experience.

By the way, if anyone wants to know what white suburban Baptists do and why, I’m always here to help. Just call the hotline at 1-888-ASK WASP. Operators are standing by.

Nothing against you DAVEWOO71. If you are really interested in Judiasm it seems to me there are far more interesting and enriching (your word) questions than the one you picked.

Enrichment is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I found the answers to my question valuable in that my primary reason for asking was to know if there is an across-the-board rule for this, as it relates to an across-the-board rule on never mixing dairy and meat. To learn that there are at least three different applications for this law is not only interesting but, IMHO, enriching.

It is not just the cosmic eternal “from-age-to-age-the-same” questions that shed light and improve my understanding of Judaism.

Also, I didn’t really ask the question out of an intense interest in Judaism, but more because the question occurred to me and I just thought I’d ask, as I know there are more than a few folks on the Board capable of answering. That’s what this forum is for.