Principles Regarding Fleishige and Milchige Dishes

Ta’am Ke’ikar

  1. When the Torah forbade meat with milk, it did not just asser meat or milk; it also forbade the taste of meat with milk or vice versa since we pasken ta’am is ke’ikar mide’oraiso (שו”ע יו”ד סי’ צ”ח ס”ב). Specifically regarding the issur of bosor becholov, all agree that ta’am is ke’ikar mide’oraiso (פמ”ג פתיחה לבב”ח).
  2. Ta’am absorbed in a pot. Taste absorbed in a pot is also considered ta’am [it is called ta’am rishon]. Thus, if one cooked milk in a clean, fleishige ben-yomo pot, i.e., meat was cooked in it within the past 24 hours, the milk is ossur since it received ta’am from the meat in the pot, and the pot is ossur since it now has bli’os of meat and milk.

Nosein Ta’am Lifgam

  • Non-ben-yomo. Bli’os only asser if they are ben-yomo, i.e., they were cooked in a kli rishon pot within 24 hours (רמ”א סי’ צ”ד ס”א). Once the pot is not a ben-yomo [24 hours have elapsed since it was used for meat in a kli rishon], its bli’os do not forbid something else since we pasken that these bli’os give off undesirable taste [nosein ta’am lifgam] and are not included in the rule of ta’am ke’ikar (שו”ע סי’ צ”ג ס”א).
  • Kli sheini. In certain areas of Halacha, there are those who are machmir by a kli sheini and hold that all parts of it emit and absorb ta’am (מהרש”ל הובא בש”ך סי’ ק”ה סק”ה). Accordingly, we should also consider a kli sheini used within 24 hours to be a ben-yomo, at least if it will not cause significant monetary loss (ט”ז סי’ ק”ה סק”ד), [and if it was through irui kli rishon, a ratio of sixty times the outside of the spoon should be required (דגול מרבבה סי’ צ”ד)]. Nonetheless, in this area, the minhag of poskim is to pasken in accordance with the letter of the law, that only cooking in a kli rishon makes it a ben-yomo since each milk and meat individually is heter (כלשון הרמ”א סי’ צ”ד ס”א, וסי’ צ”ה ס”ג).
  • Cooked milk in a pot of meat. If one cooked milk in a fleishige non-ben-yomo pot, the milk is not ossur since it got ta’am lifgam from the meat. However, the pot requires hag’oloh to be able to have milk or meat cooked in it (שו”ע שם). The minhag is to do hag’oloh before cooking anything in it (ש”ך שם סק”ג) since it now has non-ben-yomo bli’os of meat and ben-yomo bli’os of milk.
  • However, if one mistakenly cooked something in this pot without doing hag’oloh, bedi’eved the food is muttar [unless he cooked meat within 24 hours of cooking the milk, in which case it is ossur].

Nosein Ta’am Bar Nosein Ta’am [Nat-Bar-Nat]

  • If one cooked water or vegetables – not milk – in a ben-yomo fleishige pot, the water or vegetables receive secondary ta’am of the fleishige bli’os. The ta’am of meat in the walls of the pot is ta’am rishon. When it goes into the water or vegetables, it is ta’am sheini and still hetter. This is what referred to as nat-bar-nat. Since it is a weak ta’am, it cannot become issur when joining with meat, as will be explained.

Dipped a Spoon into the Wrong Pot

Milchige Spoon into Boiling Fleishige Food

  • Non-ben-yomo. If the spoon is not a ben-yomo, the fleishige food and the pot are muttar, even if the food does not contain sixty times the volume of the spoon. The entire spoon requires hag’oloh.
  • Ben-yomo. If the spoon is a ben-yomo and the fleishige food is sixty times the volume of the part of the spoon which went into it (פמ”ג משב”ז סק”א, חת”ס סוף סי’ פ”ב הובא בפתח”ת שם ססק”א) [unlike the ones who hold that it must have sixty times the volume of the part of the spoon which entered the pot’s airspace (כרתי ופלתי סק”א חוו”ד)], the food and pot are muttar and the entire spoon requires hag’oloh. If there was not sixty times the volume, everything is ossur.
  • Stam kli. If one took a spoon from the drawer and he knows that he used a spoon within 24 hours, but does not know which one, he may rely on the rule that stam keilim are not b’nei-yomon (שו”ע יו”ד סי’ קכ”ב ס”ז) and assume that the spoon he used was not a ben-yomo.

Dipped the Spoon in Twice

  1. If he dipped the spoon into the food twice, and only then realized the shailoh, the Mechaber holds that it needs to be 120 times the volume of the spoon (שו”ע סי’ צ”ד ס”ב). According to this opinion, if he dipped it in three or four times, it would need to be 180 or 240 times the volume respectively (פר”ח סק”ד). Some say that even according to this opinion, it would only need 120 times the volume (ש”ך סק”ד). Either way, the poseik does not need to ask how many times it was dipped; he should simply answer based on the way that the question was asked (בן איש חי פ’ קרח).
  2. The Rama holds that it never needs to be more than sixty times the volume since we do not say chatichoh na’aseh neveiloh [‘chanan’] by something absorbed in a utensil in this manner, and that is the accepted minhag (ט”ז סק”ב, ש”ך סק”ו).
  3. Two spoons. However, if he dipped two separate spoons, all agree that there must be sixty times each spoon (חכמת אדם כלל מ”ח).
  4. Removed food and returned it. If one removed fleishige food with a milchige, ben-yomo spoon, and then returned it to the pot, there must also be sixty times the volume of the returned food, which also became issur (פמ”ג שפ”ד שם סק”ו).

Milchige Spoon in Parve Food in a Fleishige Pot

  1. Ben-yomo. If one cooked parve food, such as vegetable soup, in a fleishige ben-yomo pot, and dipped a milchige ben-yomo spoon or ladle into it, the volume of the soup is generally sixty times more than that of the spoon, and everything is muttar.
  2. Rice or couscous. If the food was not in water but was moist, e.g., rice, couscous, or potatoes without a lot of water, the food within kedei netiloh, or 2.4 cm, of where the spoon was inserted becomes ossur since there is no water to spread the bli’os out evenly. The rest is muttar (נועם הלכה בב”ח סי’ ט”ו הערה מ”ד).

Hand Blender

  1. If one put a fleishige hand blender into a hot, parve vegetable soup cooked in a milchige pot and the soup has sixty times the volume of the part of the blender that was put in, or the blender was not used with fleishigs in the last 24 hours, everything is muttar. If the soup is not hot, it is muttar even lechatchiloh to use a fleishige blender.

Parve Food in a Fleishige Pot – Nat-Bar-Nat

Food Cooked in a Fleishige Pot

  1. Mechaber’s Opinion. According to the Mechaber, parve food, e.g., noodles, cooked in a fleishige ben-yomo pot may be eaten with milchigs, based on the hetter of nat-bar-nat (שו”ע יו”ד סי’ צ”ה ס”א) since the ta’am rishon of the meat entered the pot, and the ta’am sheini went into the noodles. Since it is a weak ta’am, it cannot become an issur of bosor becholov when it joins the cheese. Thus, they may be eaten together, and according to the Mechaber, they may even be cooked together.
  2. Even according to the Mechaber, however, one may not lechatchiloh cook parve food in a fleishige pot with the intention to eat it with milchigs. The hetter to eat it with milchigs is only bedi’eved, if it was cooked without specific intentions (ש”ך שם סק”ג).
  3. Rama’s opinion. However, the Rama holds that even if the noodles were already cooked in a fleishige pot, they may not be eaten with milchigs (רמ”א ס”ב). Thus, they should not be eaten with cheese.
  4. Bedi’eved, however, if one cooked the noodles in a fleishige pot and mixed them with cheese before remembering that the pot was fleishigs and ben-yomo, even the Rama would hold that the noodles may be eaten with the cheese (רמ”א שם).
  5. On milchige dishes. Although the noodles may not be eaten with actual cheese, it is muttar lechatchiloh to eat them on a milchige plate with milchige cutlery. Nevertheless, they should not be poured directly from a fleishige dish into a milchige dish when they are b’nei yomon (רמ”א ס”ג); rather, they should be taken with a serving-dish and placed on the plate.
  6. Milchige meal. Although they may not be eaten together with milchigs, they may be eaten, even lechatchiloh, during a milchige meal, i.e., before or after milchigs; just not together.

Parve Strainer

  • If one cooked noodles in a fleishige pot and now wants to pour out the water through a strainer, but only has a parve strainer, he may use it and it does not become fleishigs. He should not use a milchige strainer though (רמ”א).

Non-Ben-Yomo Pot

  • If the fleishige pot was not a ben-yomo and the noodles were cooked without specific intentions, even the Rama holds they may be eaten lechatchiloh with cheese (רמ”א שם). The poskim argue whether one may, lechatchiloh, cook in a non-ben-yomo pot, intending to eat it with milchigs: some say it is muttar lechatchiloh and with intent (ביאור הגר”א סק”י); others say it should not be cooked lechatchiloh with intent to be eaten with milchigs (חכמת אדם כלל מ”ח ס”א).
  • If one has no other pot he can use, e.g., he needs a large pot and the only one he has is fleishigs, he may use it lechatchiloh, as this is also considered di’eved.
  • Similarly, if one has hot water in a non-ben-yomo pot on Shabbos, he may prepare a coffee with milk from this water since there is no way to boil more water on Shabbos.

Dovor Chorif

  • If the parve food he cooked in his fleishige utensil was something sharp, e.g., he fried onions in a fleishige pan, the hetter of nat-bar-nat does not apply (רמ”א שם). In this case, the onions are a ta’am rishon of meat and it is ossur to eat them with milchigs even bedi’eved. Consequently, even if they were already mixed with cheese, it is ossur to eat them.
  • They also do not have the hetter of nosein ta’am lifgam. Thus, even if fleishigs was not cooked in the pan within 24 hours, it is ossur to eat the onions with milchigs.
  • Onion Soup. Therefore, if one made onion soup by first frying onions in a fleishige pot and then adding water and other ingredients where they are not sixty times the volume of all the onions – and they generally are not – the soup may not be eaten with cheese even bedi’eved.
  • Vegetable soup. However, if one cooked vegetable soup in a fleishige ben-yomo pot, even if onions are one of the ingredients in the soup, it is not considered a dovor chorif; rather, the whole soup is considered nat-bar-nat of fleishigs, and if cheese was already added, it is muttar (above, 21); if it was a non-ben-yomo, it is muttar (above, 25); and it is muttar to eat it in a milchige dish (above, 22).

Washing Dishes

Modern-Day Sinks

  • Most Jewish houses nowadays have separate sinks for fleishigs and milchigs (שו”ת מנח”י ח”ב סי’ ק’). Some houses even have a sink designated for parve. This avoids many shailos related to washing dishes. Still, many shailos come up when dishes are accidentally placed in the wrong sink.
  • Hot water from the tap. Once, people washed dishes by filling a vessel with water and cleaning the dishes inside the water. Most people nowadays rinse their dishes under water flowing out of a faucet. This is not considered rinsing in a kli sheini; rather it is rinsing through irui. The poskim debate whether the hot water flowing from the faucet is irui kli rishon since it is directly connected to the ‘fire’ of the boiler by way of the pipes, or irui kli sheini since it does not come directly from the ‘fire’ of the boiler (שש”כ מהדו”ח פ”א אות מ”ז ובהערה).
  • Yad soledes bo. Another important point is that generally, the hot water does not reach yad soledes bo [45 degrees Celsius lechumro]. Even if the hot water of the faucet is yad soledes bo, people usually also turn the cold water knob, causing the hot and cold water to mix before coming out of the faucet. As long as one can keep his hand under the water without difficulty, the water is less than yad soledes bo.


  • People usually use liquid soap when washing dishes. One may rely on the opinions that hold that when adding soap or anything else which makes the water distasteful, the bli’os do not forbid anything since they are nosein ta’am lifgam (שו”ע סי’ צ”ה ס”ד). Although some are stringent out of concern that the substance of their day did not sufficiently ruin the water (ט”ז וש”ך), since people today are sensitive to the taste of soap in their food, it is considered ta’am lifgam, especially since some poskim rely completely on the Mechaber’s opinion (לבוש, צמח צדק סי’ צ”א, חכ”א וערוה”ש).

Milchige Dish in the Fleishige Sink

  • Based on all this, if one found a milchige spoon, for example, in the fleishige sink after washing fleishige dishes, or a part of a parve mixer in the sink while washing fleishige dishes, if the water was at a temperature that he was able to keep his hand under it and he used soap, the spoon or mixer part is not ossur.
  • Removing parve dishes. Ideally, one should remove parve dishes from the sink before washing fleishige or milchige dishes to avoid all shailos.


  • Almost all poskim agree that ideally, one should not use the same dishwasher for fleishige and milchige dishes, even separately (שו”ת באר משה ח”ז קונט’ עלקטריק סי’ ס, קובץ מבית לוי ח”א עמ’ ל’, כ”ק מרן גאב”ד ירושלים, ועוד).

Sponge or Scrubber

  • Ideally, one should have separate sponges for milchigs, fleishigs, and parve respectively to avoid all shailos. Even with this precaution, the wrong sponge is often inadvertently used.
  • One should also use separate gloves for milchigs and fleishigs.
  • If one used a milchige sponge for fleishige dishes, or vice versa, if the water was below yad soledes bo and he used soap, the dishes are muttar. Still, if there was fleishige residue on a sponge used to clean a dish with milchige residue, the sponge should be discarded out of concern that it has fleishige and milchige remains together.

Milchige Dish Among Fleishige Dishes

  • If one found a milchige dish in the fleishige drawer and does not know how it got there, it is muttar since we do not assume it got there in an ossur manner; rather, we assume it is still muttar (רמ”א סי’ צ”ה סס”ג).
  • Even if he found it in a drying rack, it is still muttar; when there are many ways it could still be muttar, we do not assume it is ossur (שו”ת תורת יקותיאל ססק”ג, חוו”ד).

Non-Jewish Maid

  • If one employs a non-Jewish maid in his home, he must instruct her to only wash dishes in their respective sinks; not to mix fleishige and milchige dishes; and only use each sink’s designated sponge.

Zerachya Shicker is the translator for the English version of חוקי חיים. The Chukai Chaim is a halacha sheet in a league of its own. Started in August 2016 (Av 5776), the Chukai Chaim currently has a readership in the tens of thousands across the globe.

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