Halacha for Thursday 24 Tammuz 5780 July 16 2020

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws.

Fish Baked With Meat
The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was baked in the oven together with meat, Mor bar Rav Ashe said, one may not eat it, for this (eating fish and meat together) causes leprosy.” This means that there is danger involved in eating fish and meat cooked together.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 116, Section 2) rules likewise that one may not eat fish and meat together because of the danger involved.

Eating Fish and Meat on the Same Table
The Poskim discuss a scenario where two people who know each other and are eating on the same table, one of whom is eating meat and the other is eating fish; are they required to place a “reminder,” i.e. a vessel or a loaf of bread, between them so as not to mistakenly eat from one another (as is the law regarding two people who are eating on the same table, one of whom is eating meat and the other is eating dairy, as we have discussed in the previous Halachot)? Halachically speaking, many Poskim rule leniently on this matter and write that they need not place a “reminder” between them since regarding something which is forbidden because of the danger involved, people are usually more careful regarding this than other matters which are prohibited by Halacha.

Another reason the Poskim have rule leniently is because our Sages enacted that one must place a “reminder” between milk and meat, for there is no possibility to eat meat and then to eat dairy immediately thereafter as one is obligated to wait six hours in between them. However, regarding fish and meat, there is no obligation to wait at all in between them and it is sufficient to merely wash one’s mouth out and eat some bread in between them, following which one will be permitted to eat whichever one he wishes, either fish or meat. Therefore, our Sages were not so stringent to require placing a “reminder” between them.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes an additional reason to be lenient regarding this matter which is that some are of the opinion that in our times, there is no longer any prohibition to eat fish and meat together since nowadays, such a thing does not pose any hazard. Although the Halacha certainly does not follow this opinion, we can nevertheless use it as an additional reasoning to be lenient regarding this matter of not needing to place a “reminder” between an individual eating fish and an individual eating meat. (“An additional reasoning to be lenient” means that sometimes, in certain halachic areas, the Poskim rule leniently although there is not one strong reason to be lenient; rather, even if there are several reasons to be lenient, although each one does not bear enough weight to be the deciding reason on its own, when they are all combined, there is room for leniency. Sometimes, on the contrary, several reasons can be combined to offer a stringent ruling.)

Summary:  It is forbidden to eat meat and fish together. It is nevertheless permissible for two people, one eating meat and the other fish, to eat together on the same table and there is no concern that they will eat some of each other’s food.

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