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Kashrut 2: Pareve Food in a Meat or Dairy Pot
by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, I Adar 18 5765 (February 27, 2005)
OK Rabbi, you've convinced me, I need separate
pots for milk and meat. Does this mean that vegetables cooked in a meat
(dairy) pot are meat (dairy)? Do I need a full set of pareve pots too!?
At first glance, it might seem that the only way to have pareve food is to
use a pareve pot, but that's not quite true. First, let's define different
"levels" of "meatiness":
Meat itself. Meat itself is meaty; there's no way around it. This is as
meaty as meaty can be. It is a Torah prohibition to cook or eat meat with
Another food cooked with meat. A good example of a tavshil shel basar
is a potato cooked in a beef stew. The potato isn't meat, but it is
certainly completely permeated with meat tastes. Like meat, a tavshil
shel basar can't be cooked or eaten with dairy. (A meat pot would have a
Food cooked in a recently used but clean meat pot. Dump out the beef stew
and wash the pot clean. The pot is still a meat pot. Boil up some pareve
pasta in that pot. Is this pasta pareve or meaty? In other words, how
strong of a meat taste is imparted? Can the pasta be eaten with dairy?
Food cooked in an old meat pot. This isn't much different from the prior
case, but as we'll see below, the halacha is different if the meat
pot hasn't been used in a while.
Yeah, the potato sure is going to taste meaty. But you'll never convince
me that the pasta tastes meaty!
I agree with you... and so does the halacha. The Rama says (Yoreh
Deah 89:3) that the law today is to treat the tavshil shel basar (the
potato) the same way that we treat meat. However, food cooked in a clean meat
pot indeed remains pareve and can (sometimes) be eaten with dairy. (See below.)
While the pareve food has absorbed tastes from the meat pot, the absorbed tastes
are weak — called "not bar not" — and don't make the food as meaty as
the tavshil shel basar.
Well that's a relief! So does it matter what pot I cook my vegetables in?
It certainly feels funny to make vegetables in a meat pot if I'm going to eat
them with a dairy meal.
You're right, that would feel funny, and the halacha does not go quite
so far as to do this. Here are some guidelines (see Yoreh Deah 95:1-2):
For Sephardic Jews, you can take pareve food that was cooked in a clean meat
pot and eat it with dairy. But if you know in advance that you are preparing
food to be eaten with dairy, you shouldn't cook it in a meat pot.
For Ashkenazim, if the pareve food prepared in the meat pot was mixed with
dairy by accident, it may still be eaten.
No matter what pots the pareve food was prepared in, it can be eaten on
dishes of the opposite type. That is, pareve cooked in a meat pot can be
served on dairy plates and vice versa.
No matter what pots the pareve food was prepared in, it can be eaten after
food of the opposite type. That is, pareve cooked in a milk pot can be eaten
immediately after a meat meal.
(In all of these cases, you can switch around the meat and dairy and the
rules remain unchanged.)
These guidelines are based on two assumptions:
The meat (dairy) pot was used recently to prepare meat (dairy). "Recently"
is defined as "within the last 24 hours."
- We are not dealing with spicy foods.
Questions to ponder:
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