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Waiting Periods Between Meat & Dairy

Waiting Periods Between Meat & Dairy


The laws of kosher require that in addition to not eating milk and meat together, we wait a specified period of time between eating meat and eating dairy.

After Dairy

After eating dairy and before eating meat, eat something pareve, which does not stick to the palate. Then rinse your mouth, or take a drink, and wash your hands. In addition, many have the custom of waiting a certain period of time — a half-hour or an hour. After eating certain hard cheeses, a six-hour waiting period is required (see Why the extended wait between eating "aged" cheese and meat?).

After Meat

After eating meat foods, we wait six full hours before eating any dairy. The six-hour waiting period is standard for all Jews, except those groups which have halachically established other customs.

If a small piece of meat is discovered between the teeth, remove it and rinse the mouth, but an additional waiting period is not required (even if six hours have elapsed since eating meat). If even the smallest amount of food is chewed or swallowed, the full waiting period becomes necessary.

If food is tasted but immediately eliminated from the mouth before chewing or swallowing, then no waiting period is required. One should rinse the mouth well.

Meat and dairy foods may not be eaten at the same meal, even if they are in separate dishes and even if the waiting time elapses.

Curious to learn the reason behind these waiting periods? See Why Do We Have to Wait Between Eating Meat and Milk?

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Mary Lucas June 3, 2017

I'm learning more about Kosher and 6 hours from cheeses to meats sounds right six days of creation then rest so the belly digestive enzymes rest for the next meal . Wonder if this also helps with GERD keep it at bay ? Reply

Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum, for Folsom, CA July 5, 2017
in response to Mary Lucas:

That's an interesting proposition, however I'm not aware of any research that indicates as much. While there may well be health benefits associated with observing the Kosher laws, they are certainly not the reason that we observe them. Reply

Mary Lucas July 13, 2017
in response to Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum, for

Thank you Rabbi YG Reply

Anonymous Palisades, NJ January 24, 2017

Thank you. Reply

Rabbi Yossi Grossbaum, for Folsom, CA January 23, 2017

Waiting 6 hours for turkey or chicken Yes, we wait six hours for turkey and chicken too. Although technically not meat, we treat them as meat in almost all ways. Reply Staff via January 23, 2017

To Judi Yes, plain eggs (not cooked with dairy) can be eaten with meat. They are considered a neutral food. Reply

Judi levy January 22, 2017

Can eggs be eaten with meat? Reply

Eddie flushing January 20, 2017

Does the 6 hour waiting period apply to Turkey and chicken as well or is there a lower restriction for that? Reply

Menachem Posner January 16, 2017

No It is Not In the Torah The Torah does not mandate this waiting period. Rather, this safeguard was enacted by the sages so that not come to accidentally break Torah law. Reply

Menachem Posner January 16, 2017

Other customs The article does state that there are "groups which have halachically established other customs." Since this leniency applies only to people who follow the customs of those specific communities, it was not thought wise to go into great detail on a page as basic as this one, leaving room for misunderstanding. Reply

Rabbi Dovied zwi January 15, 2017

How come you only bring the Beth Joseph not the yekki or the Dutch minhag of keeping one hour Reply

Randolph Cain Orlando December 26, 2016

Where is this law on the Torah.It sounds like many of the commandments that the Jews broke by adding to or taking away from Gods Word. If it's the scripture about not cooking a kid in it's mothers milk, I think there is another more logical interpretation.Any one know? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for November 22, 2016

Re: When is it batul? Breathing "meat" air or mist is not enough to be considered eating. You may eat dairy immediately afterwards (although you should probably wash your hands, in case you touched something in the meat kitchen). Reply

Anonymous November 22, 2016

When is it batul? Is there something so small from meat that it can be called batul for being so small? For example....being in a kitchen where people are cooking meat, and smelling the meat and being in the room with the boiling pots of hot chicken soup, but not eating any meat. You may have breathed in the cooking mist...can you eat dairy after that? Does that count as too small to be relevant? Reply Staff via June 7, 2016

To Baruch Yes as you start counting from when you last ate the meat. Reply

Baruch June 7, 2016

The waiting period If I eat meat at 10:30, then eat it again at 12 o'clock Who I need to wait until 6:00 to eat dairy once again? Reply

Shaul Wolf February 9, 2016

Re: The waiting time between meat and milk is only relevant for food that the person themselves consume. Provided that one's mouth is clean, it will not make any dishes fleishig. Reply

Anonymous February 5, 2016

I have a kind of odd question...if one is at the 5 hour mark, right before 6 hours, and one has already washed the mouth long ago and eaten a full parve meal, and drank from a parve dish, can one drink from the same dish, after the 6 hour mark has passed?

I was worried that because the wait time was still not after 6 hours while I was drinking from it, that the same glass drank from would now be considered meat category, even though it was 5 hours after eating meat and the meal here was all parve, and the mouth was clean, but because 'I' was not parve yet as 6 hours have not passed, is the glass considered meat, or still parve? Reply

Anonymous manchester October 30, 2015

rabbi's were wrong, torah is right... meat stays in the alimentary canal, continuing to be digested for approx 48 hours for ave man and 36 hours for ave woman...meat and milk will always be digested together. Reply

Hardly a Beinoni Hollywood, Florida July 21, 2015

Waiting Periods Between Eating Meat & Dairy Maimonides' ( the Great codifier, Rabbi Moishe ben Maimon, 1135 - 1204) concern of "food" (meat) between the inter-proximal spaces of the teeth, can be traced to a verse in Numbers 11:33; "The meat was still between their teeth..." True; after 6 hours, the meat particles may have "deteriorated"; but, they have not been digested. The oral cavity does not contain any proteolytic enzymes, called proteases, which break down proteins into their component, absorbable,amino acids. This process begins in the stomach; and absorption occurs along the length of the small intestine. Interestingly enough, studies have shown, that gastric emptying of digested proteins (i.e., meats) takes about 5 hours! So, our Sages were not too far off! Its' all there; in our sacred literature (Avos,5:21). The bottom line: Wait 6 hours. Brush & floss after meals; meat or dairy. Double benefit: Good oral health, and no transgression of the prohibition of mixing meat and dairy. Reply

Anonymous March 13, 2015

This is a really good informative page. Thank you very much. Reply

Menachem Posner Montreal February 13, 2014

To Demitri You bring up two very important issues.
a. Did Abraham do the wrong thing by serving milk and meat? I suggest that you read Did Abraham Serve His Guests Non-Kosher?

b. How can we add extra regulations and rabbinic safeguards to the Torah? Rabbi Tzvi Freeman wrote a wonderful piece on the topic called How Can Rabbis Add to the Torah? Reply

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