Milk and Meat: Part I by Rabbi Chaim Jachter



This week we shall begin a discussion of some of the laws of dairy and meat.  We will begin with a discussion of Nat Bar Nat, the laws regarding Pareve items cooked in a meat or dairy pot.

Talmudic Background - Disagreement between Rav and Shmuel

The Gemara (Chullin 111b) records a dispute between Rav and Shmuel regarding the following case: Hot fish was placed on a meat plate (a plate that had hot meat placed on it, thereby causing “meat taste particles” to be absorbed into the plate).  These Amoraim debate whether it is permissible to subsequently eat the fish with dairy.  Rav rules that it is forbidden to do so, but Shmuel rules that it is permissible.

Rav believes that it is forbidden because the fish absorbed a meat taste.  Shmuel believes it is permissible because the fish is two steps removed from the meat; first the meat is absorbed in the plate and then the meat in the plate is transferred to the fish.  The connection between the fish and the meat is too remote to create a prohibited mixture of meat and dairy if dairy is subsequently introduced into this fish.  This situation is referred to by the Talmud as Nat Bar Nat, a second generation transfer of taste particles.  Nat Bar Nat is an acronym that stands for Notein Taam Bar Notein Taam, which literally means “the transfer of taste the son of the transfer of taste.”  After citing a number of incidents that support the view of Shmuel, the Gemara concludes that the Halacha follows the view of Shmuel (for an analysis of the reasoning of this rule, see Tosafot  Zevachim 96a s.v. Veim).

Incidentally, we should note that the Taz (Yoreh Deah 95:3) explains why this case does not violate the rule that one is forbidden to eat fish and meat mixed together.  He states that the prohibition of eating a mixture of meat and fish applies only to eating actual meat and fish together.  Meat “taste particles” that a pot or plate emits into fish does not render it as forbidden food and fish ”taste particles” emitted into meat do not render the meat as forbidden.  Indeed, this is why we may eat fish with clean meat utensils.  Similarly, this is why it is sufficient to simply thoroughly wash a utensil that was used even with hot fish and subsequently use that utensil with meat. 

Rishonim - 3 opinions

Rishonim debate the scope of the applicability of the rule of Nat Bar Nat.  The Rivan (cited in Tosafot Chulin 111b s.v. Hilchata) cites the opinion of his great father-in-law, Rashi, who limits the applicability of the Nat Bar Nat leniency.  He relates that Rashi believed that only fish placed on a meat plate is considered Nat Bar Nat, since only a small amount of meat taste is absorbed into the fish.  However, if fish is cooked in a meat pot, then the fish is not Pareve even according to Shmuel.  This is because the fish has absorbed a great deal of "meat taste" from the meat pot.  Rivan relates that once someone asked Rashi if an egg that was cooked in a dairy pot can be cooked with meat, and Rashi replied in the negative.

Tosafot, however, notes that a different impression is gleaned from Rashi’s (s.v. Nat Bar Nat) commentary to the Gemara Chulin 111b.  Rashi explains that the fish attains the status of being "meaty" only if it is cooked with actual meat.  Rashi clearly implies that if the fish is only cooked in a meat pot, then the fish remains Pareve.  Indeed, Rashi’s grandson, Rabbeinu Tam, and his great-grandson, the Ri, both believe that the Nat Bar Nat rule applies even in a case of cooking, so that even if the Pareve item was cooked in a meat or dairy pot, the cooked item remains Pareve (see Haghaot Ashri, Chulin 8:29).

The Rosh (Chulin 8:30) cites the Sefer HaTruma who adopts a middle position.  He believes that a Pareve item roasted in a meat or dairy pot is no longer Pareve.  However, if the Pareve item is cooked in a meat or dairy pot it is still considered Pareve.  The cooking case is different because the Pareve is three steps removed from the meat.  First, the meat was absorbed into the pot, subsequently the taste of the meat is imparted to the water the Pareve item is being cooked in, and only then to the Pareve item.  Indeed, Tosafot (Avodah Zarah 76a s.v. Bat Yoma) asserts (and the Shach Y.D. 94:15 rules in accordance with this assertion) that even Rashi agrees that a Pareve item cooked in a meat or dairy pot remains Pareve if it is three steps removed from either meat or milk.

Shulchan Aruch

Rav Yosef Karo, in his Beit Yosef (chapter 95 s.v. Dagim) cites many Rishonim (including Rashba, Ran, Ravya) who subscribe to the most lenient opinion, that Pareve food cooked or even roasted in a meat or dairy pot is still considered Pareve.  Indeed, in the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 95:2), Rav Karo rules according to the most lenient opinion that the Nat Bar Nat leniency applies even to Pareve food roasted in a meat or dairy pot.  The Rama thereupon notes that the Ashkenazic practice is to initially (Lechatchila) be concerned with the strict opinion.  That means, for instance, that a Pareve item cooked (or roasted) in a meat pot should not be eaten with dairy foods.  If, however, the Pareve food happened to have been mixed with dairy food (i.e. Bidieved), the Rama writes that the Ashkenazi practice is to follow the lenient view.

It seems to me that it is possible that the Rama is entirely consistent with Rashi’s opinions about this matter.  It seems possible that Rashi essentially believes that a Pareve item cooked in a meat or milk pot remains Pareve.  This position is reflected in Rashi’s commentary on Gemara Chullin.  However, Rashi’s oral ruling may stem from a Minhag that Rashi developed to be strict about this matter, in order to avoid confusion.  Since it is easy to confuse a case of a Pareve item cooked in a meat pot with a case of a meat item cooked in a meat pot, Rashi sought to avoid problems by forbidding one to initially mix Pareve items cooked in a meat pot with milk (and vice versa).  However, once a mistake has been made perhaps Rashi would concede that the mixture is not forbidden to consume since the essential Halacha regards items cooked in a meat or milk pot as Pareve. 

The Rama seems to permit (Bidieved) even Pareve food, roasted in a meat pot and subsequently mixed with dairy, to be eaten.  The Shach (95:4), however, cites the opinion of the Maharshal that if a Pareve item was roasted in a meat utensil and then mixed with dairy, it cannot be eaten.  This opinion follows the aforementioned opinion of the Sefer HaTruma.  However, the Aruch HaShulchan (95:12) and Chochmat Adam (48:1) adopt the ruling of Rama as normative, even though the Shach is regarded as extraordinarily authoritative Perhaps they rule in accordance with the Rama's opinion since it is based on the accepted practice of Ashkenazic Jewry.  Rav Feivel Cohen (Badei Hashulchan 95:25) rules that one who wishes to rely on the lenient opinion on this matter has a right to do so, but he commends one accommodates the strict opinion.  

The Sephardic practice regarding this issue is far more lenient than the Ashkenazic practice.  In fact, Rav Ovadia Yosef (see Yalkut Yosef p. 844 in the 5760 edition) and the current Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, Rav Shlomo Amar (Teshuvot Shamah Shlomo 2:Y.D. 4 and 6), permit Sephardim to cook a Pareve item in a meat pot even if one intends to eat the Pareve item with milk and even if the meat pot had been used for meat within the previous twenty four hours (or vice versa regarding cooking a Pareve item in a milk pot for use with meat).  Rav Shalom Messas (Teshuvot Shemesh U’Magen 1:8, 2:42-43, and 3:1), though, rules  that even according to Rav Yosef Karo, one may not cook a Pareve item in a meat pot that has been used within twenty four hours if one intends to eat the Pareve item with milk.  He believes that the Shulchan Aruch differs with the Rama only regarding a Pareve item that was cooked in a meat pot with the intention of using it with only meat or Pareve, that one may later decide to eat the Pareve item with milk. 

Waiting Between Meat and Dairy in the Case of Nat Bar Nat

Rama (89:3) rules that one is not required to wait (six/three hours) after consuming Pareve food cooked in a meat pot.  This is permitted because (see Taz 89:1 and Igrot Moshe Y.D 2:26) the reason we wait between meat and dairy is that either some meat remains in one’s teeth or that the taste of meat remains in one’s mouth after eating meat.  Obviously, these two reasons do not apply to Pareve items cooked in a meat pot, and accordingly, there is no need to wait six or three hours before consuming dairy foods.

The Darkei Teshuva (99:43) cites a responsum of Rav Shlomo Kluger where he permits one to eat Pareve items cooked in a dairy pot within six/three hours after consuming meat.  Rav Kluger notes that common practice is to be lenient regarding this question.

Eino Ben Yomo - Pot Not Used for Twenty Four Hours

Rama notes that Ashkenazic practice is to treat a Pareve item cooked in a meat or dairy pot that was unused during the previous twenty four hours (Eino Ben Yomo), as Pareve.  For instance, if one cooked potato in a meat pot that had not been used in the previous twenty four hours, one may eat the potato with sour cream.  The reason for this is that the Halacha (Shulchan Aruch Y.D. Chapter 103) rules (see Avodah Zarah, 75b) that “taste particles” that are absorbed in a utensil turn rancid after remaining in the pot for more than twenty four hours.  Hence, the pot will subsequently emit rancid “taste particles” from the food it had previously absorbed (Notein Taam Lifgam). 

If the taste emitted is bad, it does not render the food it enters as forbidden.  In our example, the meat taste particles expelled into the potato were rancid and hence do not render the potato as "meaty,” even according to the strict opinion. 

The Chochmat Adam (48:2) notes, however, that one should not initially cook a Pareve item in a meat or dairy pot, even if it has not been used in the past twenty four hours, even if one plans to eat with a food type opposite to the type of the pot it was cooked in.  The Biur HaGra (Y.D. 95:10), however, is lenient about this matter.  Rav Feivel Cohen (Badei Hashulchan 95:33 and Bi’urim ad. loc. s.v. Im) and Rav Mordechai Willig (1981 SOY Guide to Kashrut, p.69) rule in accordance with the Chochmat Adam.   Indeed, common practice does appear to accord with the strict opinion on this matter.  The Chochmat Adam, though, is lenient in case of great need.  Rav Feivel Cohen (Badei Hashulchan Tziyunim 95:70) cites this point as normative Halacha.

It seems, however, that if a Pareve item was cooked in an Eino Ben Yomo meat pot with the intention of eating it with meat, that one may later decide to eat the Pareve item with milk.  Thus, for example, if one cooked noodles in an Eino Ben Yomo meat pot with the intention of eating it at a meat meal, one may eat the leftover noodles the next day with cottage cheese. 


We have presented the basic rules of Nat Bar Nat. However, since there are many more details and exceptions to these rules, one should consult his Rabbi if he is confronted with a situation of Nat Bar Nat.  Next week, Im Yirtzeh Hashem and Bli Neder, we shall discuss the issue of Davar Charif.


As a student I wondered whether the “taste particles” (Bliot) that the Gemara and the Poskim refer to, are physical entities or metaphysical entities.  I posed the question to two Gedolim.  Rav Aharon Soloveitchik told me that Bliot are a physical entity whereas Rav J. David Bleich told me that he thought that they were a metaphysical entity. 

Milk and Meat: Part II - Davar Charif by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

A New Perspective on Yaakov’s Purchase of the Birthright by Rabbi Chaim Jachter