Halacha for Wednesday 23 Tevet 5778 January 10 2018

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes that we learn from here that one may eat cheese after meat only after having waited the amount of time that is between one meal and the next. (We shall discuss with the Gemara’s wording in the next Halacha, G-d-willing.)

How Much One Must Wait Between Eating Meat and Dairy
The Rishonim disagree regarding exactly how much time one must wait. Rabbeinu Tam is of the opinion that one may eat cheese immediately after eating meat as long as one has washed out one’s mouth and hands. Based on this, Mor Ukva who would wait from one meal to the next was acting stringently about which he exclaimed that he did not act as stringently as his father. Nevertheless, this wait is not a halachic requirement. However, most Rishonim, including the Rif, Rambam, and others, disagree with Rabbeinu Tam’s opinion. They understand that when Mor Ukva waited the amount of time “between one meal and the next,” this was indeed a halachic requirement to which he exclaimed that he did not act as stringently as his father who would wait twenty-four hours. Indeed, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules likewise that halachically speaking, one must wait the amount of time that is “between one meal and the next.”

What is the amount of time “between one meal and the next” that one is required wait? The Tosafot write that there is no actual time limit and as long as one has concluded one’s meal, such as by clearing the table, one may eat dairy foods after meat.

Nevertheless, most Rishonim agree that one must wait six hours between eating meat and dairy foods, for this is the amount of time “between one meal and the next” that Mor Ukva was speaking about. This is indeed the opinion of the Rambam and Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch in that one must wait six hours. The Rama writes that this is indeed the correct opinion to follow although there are dissenting views. Although there are certain Ashkenazi communities who act leniently and wait less than six hours, Maran Ha’Chida writes that in our communities, the established custom is for everyone to wait six hours. The Maharshal (Hagaon Rabbeinu Shlomo Luria, one of the greatest Ashkenazi Poskim who lived in the same generation as Maran Ha’Bet Yosef) writes that even according to the Ashkenazi custom, anyone who has a “scent of Torah” within him should wait six hours. The Sefer Aruch Ha’Shulchan (authored by Hagaon Harav Yechiel Michel Epstein zt”l who lived over one-hundred years ago) writes that nowadays, the prevalent custom among most Ashkenazim as well is to wait six hours and one should not change this, G-d-forbid.

The Reason to Wait between Eating Meat and Dairy Foods
The reason why eating cheese after meat is prohibited is because meat gets stuck in between the teeth and we are concerned that when one eats cheese, the meat caught in between one’s teeth will become dislodged thereby causing one to be eating meat and cheese together. This is indeed the Rambam’s opinion. On the other hand, Rashi and the Rosh explain that the reason is because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a long time. Halachically speaking, we follow both opinions and after six hours, one may eat cheese. Even according to the opinion of the Rambam who is concerned for meat getting stuck in one’s teeth, after six hours, the meat is considered digested and poses no concern anymore. Nevertheless, if one is aware of a piece of meat stuck in one’s teeth, one must remove it even after six hours have passed.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of Precedence Regarding Blessings (Continued)

In the previous Halacha we have explained that there are instances that priority is given to recite a blessing upon a certain food over another because of the innate significance of the given food, for instance, because it is a fruit that belongs to the Seven Species of fruits that the Land of Israe......

Read Halacha

The Month of Shevat and the Law that Food Must be in Front of the Individual While Reciting a Blessing

Next Wednesday (actually, beginning from next Tuesday night) will mark the Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat. We will therefore begin a segment on the laws of Blessings of Enjoyment. In following Halachot we shall discuss some more laws pertaining to reciting blessings which we have discussed in the......

Read Halacha

Precedence Regarding the Order of Blessings (Continued)

Summary of the Laws Explained Thus Far In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings, sometimes because of the innate importance of the food and sometimes due to the importance of the blessing. Priority of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz”......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing on Fruits

In the previous Halachot we have explained that there is an order of priority regarding blessings. Thus, if one wishes to partake of apples and dates, one must recite the blessing on the dates, for they are one of the Seven Species. Precedence Regarding Blessing-Only Preferable Maran Ha’Be......

Read Halacha


Question: Is one permitted to act stringently in any situation one pleases?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one must wait six hours between eating meat and cheese in accordance with the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch. This law is based on a Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a). For the purpose of our discussion, we shall quote the words of the G......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat Dishes after Dairy Foods

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the laws of eating dairy foods after meat. We have explained that one must wait six hours between eating the respective foods. We shall now discuss the laws of eating meat dishes after dairy foods. The Opinion of the Gemara which Permits Eating Meat aft......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Eating Cheese after Meat

In the previous Halachot we have mentioned that after eating meat, one must wait six hours before eating dairy products. A Woman who has Given Birth or is Nursing A woman who is within thirty days of having given birth may eat dairy products after eating meat and she need not wait six hours. It ......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha