Halacha for Sunday 12 Tevet 5784 December 24 2023

Dairy Rolls

Today's Halacha is dedicated for the merit and protection of
All Our Dear Soldiers
May Hashem give them strength and courage to vanquish our enemies and may they return home safe and sound amid health and joy. May Hashem protect all the captives and have mercy upon them so that no harm befalls them and may they be released quickly, Amen!
* * * * * * * * * *

The Gemara (Pesachim 36a) states that our Sages prohibited kneading a bread dough with milk as there is concern that people may not know this bread is dairy and they will mistakenly eat it with meat as they usually would.

All of the Poskim, including Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah, Chapter 97), rule that one may not knead dough with milk lest others come to eat it with meat. If such a bread was already prepared, it is forbidden for consumption, even when eaten alone.

The Gemara (ibid.) states that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi told his sons that the dough prepared for Matzot for the first night of Pesach must not have anything added to it as the Torah refers to the Matzah as “Bread of Affliction.” However, for the rest of the days of Pesach, Rabbi Yehoshua requested that they knead the dough for the Matzot with milk. The Gemara questions this, for we have learned that it us forbidden to knead dough with milk and if this was done, the entire bread is forbidden for consumption! The Gemara replies that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi was referring to the amount of dough resembling “an ox’s eye,” which Rashi explains is such a small amount of dough that it will be eaten immediately after being baked and no one will mistakenly consume it with meat.

Nevertheless, the Rif and Rambam explain the Gemara’s expression of “an ox’s eye” to mean that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi requested that his sons prepare the dough in an irregular shape so that it is identifiable that it is dairy and this removes the concern that some may eat this bread with meat.

Halachically speaking, both explanations the Rishonim provide for the above Gemara are accepted as law in that although it is generally forbidden to knead dough with milk, if this is being done in very small batches or if it is irregularly shaped such that people will recognize it as dairy, this is indeed permitted.

Based on the above, bakeries may not bake dairy rolls with milk, yogurt, or other dairy products mixed into the dough, for someone may eat this together with meat. Only if the rolls are baked in a distinct shape which people recognize as dairy is this permitted. Similarly, if only a small batch of such rolls is baked (we shall, G-d-willing, discuss this amount further), there is room for leniency.

Maran Ha’Chida (in his Sefer Shiyurei Beracha, ibid. Subsection 2) writes, as follows: “In Israel and Turkey, people commonly bake bourekas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. People must be warned about this matter.”

This means that people must be instructed to make the cheese bourekas in a unique shape so that it is recognizably dairy and no one will mistakenly eat it with meat. It is for this reason that the custom in Israeli bakeries today is to prepare cheese bourekas specifically in a triangular shape (as opposed to potato, mushroom, or spinach bourekas which are square). The Kaf Ha’Chaim (ibid. Subsection 16) writes that meat bourekas need not be prepared in any distinct shape since the meat inside is visible and there is no concern for error.     

Summary: Dairy breads or rolls should not be baked in bakeries or at home so that no one mistakenly consumes them with meat.

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