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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 them together, we wait a specified period of time between eating meat and eating 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 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.

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Discussion (18)
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).
Eliezer Zalmanov
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?
June 7, 2016
To Baruch
Yes as you start counting from when you last ate the meat. Staff
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?
February 9, 2016
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.
Shaul Wolf
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?
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.
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.
Hardly a Beinoni
Hollywood, Florida
March 13, 2015
This is a really good informative page. Thank you very much.
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?
Menachem Posner
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