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Waiting Between Meat & Dairy

Waiting Between Meat & Dairy

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The laws of kashrut 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 (neither meat nor dairy) 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.

After eating meat foods, we wait six hours before eating any dairyAfter eating meat foods, we wait six full hours before eating any dairy. 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, however, 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.

There are also certain slight restrictions on eating meat together with fish, and in certain communities, on eating fish together with dairy. Click here for more on this subject.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Mitch Berkeley March 22, 2017

Thanks for the response.
But there is no wait time described here: "After eating dairy and before eating meat, eat something pareve (neither meat nor dairy) 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." Therefore, mixing in the stomach happens and it's legal. Why is it legal to mix in the stomach but not the mouth? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org March 21, 2017

That is one of the reasons for the prescribed wait time between eating meat and dairy. Reply

Mitch Berkeley March 20, 2017

Why? the meat and dairy will meet in the stomach and mix. Reply

alice jena richmond hill June 2, 2016

Vegan-ism is the answer! Totally easy to be purely kosher that way. And kind to the Creations of Has hem! Reply

Sidney Peterman Edgware, UK May 23, 2016

I am Ashkenazi and was brought up to wait 3 hours between meat and dairy.
It was always acceptable to wait just 20 mins after dairy,(milk, cream, etc) but cheese was never a involved if meat was intended so soon after. I do have a frum cousin whose husband only ever waits 1 hour after meat, Now, after reading down your column ,I presume his Family follows Sephardi tradition. My long time curiosity is answered! Reply

senora July 10, 2015

I thought it was because milk gives life and meat is something that was killed. you would never mix life and death together. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for Chabad.org February 10, 2014

It is true that while biblically permitted, the Rabbis forbade eating fake dairy with meat, since it appears to the onlooker that you are eating meat and dairy together. This prohibition is called Marit ayin. However, since it is not really dairy, if you have something to clearly show that what you are eating is not real dairy (for example, you are drinking almond milk together with your meat, and you leave the bottle of almond milk there so all can see it is not cow's milk), then it is permitted. For more on this see The Obligation to Remain "Beyond Reproach". Reply

Anonymous Toronto January 24, 2014

If you're a vegan, you don't have to wait between eating anything ! It's the ethical alternative. Reply

Chaim L Melbourne January 23, 2014

Last year I travelled on long haul flight and was supplied a kosher meal of cheese and meat on a same roll. On further inspection I figured the cheese was parev. I didnt eat it, but the passenger next me (non yid) pointed out that that can't possibly be kosher.

On inspection of the airline meal it had a kosher stamp from a well known orthodox kashrut BethDin. My question is why does this BethDin authorise this meal as being kosher - it clearly does not look kosher and they are certainly sending the wrong message to the community and other onlookers.

I had been taught that in earlier times chicken was considered parev but to avoid pottential onlookers thinking a person may be eating chicken with say a milk and confusing it with meat, chicken was nominated as meat. If we are so careful about this rule- what right does a BethDin have to place their kashrut sign on something which looks like mixing of meat and milk. I continue to scratch my head in disbelief- Am I missing something her? Reply

Freddy D Maier Israel January 23, 2014

If we are Ashkenazi originating from Rhine region (West Germany , France) we wait only 3 hours between meat and dairy. Furthermore, if we are originating from Holland (Dutch Jews) only 1 hour is mandatory. Reply

Anonymous January 23, 2014

This is very helpful. Thanks for posting it! Reply

Jay Fulton, MO March 5, 2011

Do the kosher rules of poultry & dairy apply also to fish & dairy? Why do the rules of beef & dairy (seething a kid in its mother's milk) apply to poultry and milk? Reply

Yisroel Cotlar for Chabad.org Cary, NC March 4, 2011

Most medicines are not a problem though some do have kashrut concerns. When that issue arises, an alternative kosher medicine should be found.

In a situation where no kosher alternative exists, a Rabbi should be consulted as health concerns will often push aside the kashrut issue. Each situation needs the attention of a Rabbi.

Approved medicine lists can be found online from various kosher supervision. Reply

Chani Benjaminson, chabad.org March 2, 2011

Please see this link for why poultry is included in the meat category in terms of kosher observance, chabad.org/697343 Reply

Anonymous Grand Rapids , MI. March 1, 2011

The other day i thought about "Kosher" and medicines. Many medicines are to be taken with meals. I wondered if all medicines were Kosher. Medicine with meat or dairy? What types of medicines would not be kosher? and why? Reply

Anonymous tucson, az March 1, 2011

Why does this rule apply to poultry. They are not mammals.. Reply

DR. Freddy David Maier, PhD Kokhav Yair, Israel April 17, 2009

As the waiting time between meat and milk is 6 hours for the whole People of Israel, there are two exceptions (known to me...). Jews following Dutch community tradition wait only 1 hour. Jews following Ashkenazi community tradition (Ashkenazi like RASHI, from eastern France, Alsace, Lorraine and western Germany, Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland) wait only 3 hours.
Just as a reminder, the "request" not to mix meat and milk, in the Torah, is not within the "food" laws but comes completely separate. There are a few reasons in the Kabbalah..... Reply

Rick Sprague II Erie, PA June 6, 2008

Seeing as the Scriptures SPECIFICALLY tells us to not eat a animal seethed in it's own mothers milk ONLY...why do men feel it necessary to add this burden to the beautiful Law of G-D?

The Scriptures do not prohibit mixing dairy and meat, or vice versa. SO why does anyone feel it is important?

The whole point of the Scripture was that G-D has such compassion that since it already is a insult to the animal for us to have to eat it in the first place, that it would not bear the shame of being seethed in the milk that it received in love from it's mother.

However, this is also not a prohibition against meat seethed in milk in general, just not the kid in it's own mothers milk.

Eat as you will but G-D didn't require more than what the Law states.....it's already complete...completely perfect, reviving the soul. Reply