Chapter 88

Eating meat and milk on the same table

1. Eating meat on the same table as one who is eating milk and vice versa:

A. The law:[1]

It’s Rabinically forbidden to eat any meat, even poultry and wild animal meat[2], on the same table as one who is eating milk products. The same applies to eating milk products on a table which one is eating meat, poultry or wild animal.[3] This law contains two exceptions as will be explained in “B”.

The reason for the above restriction: Is because one may come to also eat the opposite food which is on the table and thus transgress the prohibition of meat and milk.

 

Q&A

May one who is within 6 hours of eating meat sit near a person eating milk products?[4]

Yes.


B. The Exceptions
:[5]

  1. If one does not feel comfortable eating from the other persons food:

    If the meat/milk food belongs to a person from which one would not feel comfortable to eat from without permission[6] then it is allowed to be eaten on the same table, as there is no suspicion that one will come to take food from the other.

    If one does feel comfortable to eat from his friend’s plate, but is currently in a fight with him? Even if the two acquaintances which are eating together are currently in a fight nevertheless they are forbidden to eat on the same table, one meat and the other milk, unless they place a reminder between them[7], as will be explained in the next exception.

    If a person makes a vow not to eat of another’s food, may they eat at the same table?[8] One who made a vow not to eat of another person’s food, may eat with him on the same table, as they probably hate each other and won’t be tempted to partake of each other’s food.

  2. Placing a reminder between the eaters:

    Even if the two people know each other and would not be embarrassed to eat from each other’s plate, if they place a Heker/reminder on the table then they may eat together, one meat and the other milk.[9]

    The definition of a reminder and which reminders are Halachicly valid:[10] Any item, including food utensils, which is not normally on the table is considered a reminder, even if one uses the utensil as a food dish during the current meal.[11] [Thus one may use a pot that contains food which is being served during the meal as a reminder, if one does not usually place the pot on his table.] However items that are usually on the table, even if they are not food related, such as a candelabra [and vase], are invalid reminders.[12] With regards to food, see below!

    Placing food as a reminder:[13] If bread is placed between the two people eating[14] and neither eats from this bread during the meal, it is a valid reminder.

    The height of the reminder? [In all cases the reminder must be of a certain height so it is visible to the eaters.[15]]

    Where on the table is the reminder to be placed? [In all cases the reminder is to be placed between the two eaters.[16]]

    Two separate tablecloths:[17] If the eaters eat the milk and meat on two separate tablecloths it is considered a sufficient reminder, and they may thus eat meat and milk on the same table.

  3. If the two acquaintances are eating in a restaurant, and are paying separate bills does this suffice as a reminder?

Some Poskim[18] rule it does suffice. Others[19] rule it does not. Practically the final ruling is like the latter opinion that even in such a case a Heker is required.[20]

 

Summary and Practical Ruling:

It is forbidden to eat meat or poultry on the same table as one who is eating milk products unless one fulfills the conditions to be listed below. The same applies vice versa.

It is permitted to eat meat on the same table as one who is eating milk if one of the following conditions apply:

  1. One does not feel comfortable enough with the person to eat from his food:

    If the meat/milk food belongs to a person from which one would not feel comfortable to eat from without permission then it is allowed to be eaten on the same table as there is no suspicion that one will come to take food from the other.

  2. One places a reminder between the eaters:

    If one places a Halachicly valid Heker/reminder on the table between himself and the other eater they may eat together, one meat and the other milk.[21]

    The definition of Halachicly valid reminders:[22] Any item, including food utensils, which are not normally on the table are considered a valid reminder, even if one uses the item to serve the food at the current meal. However items which are usually on the table, even if they are not food related, such as a candelabra, are invalid reminders.[23]

    Placing food as a reminder: If bread is placed between the two people eating[24] and neither eats from this bread during the meal, it is a valid reminder.[25]

    The height of the reminder? In all cases the reminder must be of a certain height so it is visible to the eaters.[26]

    Where on the table is the reminder to be placed? In all cases the reminder is to be placed between the two eaters.[27]

  3. Two separate tablecloths:[28]

    If the eaters eat the milk and meat on two separate tablecloths it is a valid reminder, and allows them to be able to eat meat and milk on the same table.

  4. Eating on opposite ends of the table:[29]

If the two people are eating on opposite sides of the table, in a way that one’s hand cannot reach the others plate, a reminder is not needed.

 

Q&A

Is it considered a Heker to have someone which is not participating in the meal stand guard that they not take from each other’s food?

Some Poskim[30] rule it is not considered a valid reminder. Others[31] rule it is valid.

 

May a key or ring be used as a reminder?[32]

No, as they are not tall enough to be visible to the eaters.

 

2. May a person eat meat on a table which contains milk foods?[33]

No, as we suspect one may come to eat some of the milk produce.

 

Q&A

May one eat meat on a table which has dairy utensils on it?[34]

Yes.

 

Does a Heker help for a single person who is eating meat on a table which contains milk or vice versa?

Some Poskim[35] rule that a reminder is invalid for a single person eating on a table which contains the opposite food. Other Poskim[36] however rule that a reminder does permit him to eat there. Eating on a separate table cloth however permits him to eat there according to all.

 

Is it considered a Heker to have someone which is not participating in the meal stand guard [i.e. Shomer] that one does not take from the dairy foods?

It is not considered a valid reminder. [37] However some[38]  rule that if one has both a Heker on the table and a guard then together they form a valid reminder.

 

3. May one place meat on a table that another person is using to eat milk products on?[39]

No.

 

4. May one place meat and milk items on the same serving wagon simultaneously?[40]

Yes.

 

Q&A

May one place meat and milk on the same shelf in a fridge or shelf of a closet?[41]

Yes. This is allowed so long as the foods are not touching each other.

 

May one place meat and milk on the same counter top?[42]

Yes. This is allowed so long as they are not touching each other, and the counter is clean from any of the opposite food.

 

5. Eating Kosher food on a table which another is using to eat non-kosher food:[43]

Non-Kosher meat: It is permitted to eat Kosher food on the same table as one which is eating non-Kosher meat as one never usually eats non-kosher meat and there is thus no worry one will come to eat it.[44] [Thus seemingly it is even allowed to eat cheese on such a table.]

Non-Kosher bread: One may not eat on the same table as one who is eating non-kosher bread because bread is the stable of the meal and is something which people are very used to eating. Thus there is suspicion one may come to eat from that bread.

Chameitz: On Pesach it is forbidden to eat on the same table as a gentile which is eating Chameitz. This applies even if he does not know the gentile, and even if he has a valid reminder on the table, or is eating on separate tablecloths.[45]

 

6. Pareve foods and utensils which are on a table which one is eating meat and the other is eating milk:[46]

Cups: [One who is eating meat products may not drink from a cup which was used by one who ate dairy. Thus] the two eaters may not share cups. [See Q&A regarding if the cup is washed in between.]

Bread: [One who is eating meat products may not eat from bread which was eaten by someone who ate dairy.[47] Thus] the two eaters may not share the same bread.

Plate of salt: One is to have separate salt plates designated for dairy and meat, as the salt may contain residue of the food dipped in it. Thus the two eaters may not share the same plate of salt. [Regarding salt shakers see Q&A]

 

Q&A

May one eat bread leftover from a meat meal for a dairy meal?[48]

One may not use the actual piece of leftover bread which he ate during a meat meal for a dairy meal. However the remaining pieces from the loaf which one never used for meat may be used for dairy even if they were on the meat table, so long as they did not come into contact with meat and was not cut with a meat knife. Nevertheless it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to not use any of the items that were on a meat table for milk. [Thus if one desires to keep bread Pareve he is not to place it directly on a dairy or meat area and is to cut it with a Pareve knife. If the bread is in a bag it may be placed on a meat table, although care should be taken when removing bread to not get food on the remaining pieces.]

 

May one use a cup for both milk and meat meals if the cup is washed in between?[49]

If the cup was also used for hot drinks: If the cup is made of glass then from the letter of the law it may be used for the opposite meal, even with hot drinks[50], so long as it was washed in between. Other materials however are not to be used for the opposite meal, although if no other cups are available then one may use the cups for cold drinks, and even hot drinks may be served at the end of the meal.

If the cup was only used for cold drinks: Then from the letter of the law it may be used for a milk meal and meat meal so long as it was washed in between. Nevertheless the custom is to designate separate cups for both Milk and meat meals in order to avoid any possible stumbling of a prohibition.

 

Summary:

The custom is to designate separate cups for both Milk and meat meals. In a case that only one set of cups are available then one may use it for cold drinks of any meal whether milk or meat, so long as the cups are washed. As well a hot drink may be drunk from the cup after the meal, and by a glass cup one may drink hot liquid from it even during any meal. 

 

May a salt shaker/ketchup/mustard etc. be used for both dairy and meat?

From the letter of the law it may be used for both a meat and milk meal. However it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar[51], and so is the custom, to designate one for meat and one for milk, being that at times one dips the shaker into the food, and at times hot food vapor enters into the shaker.

 


[1] Michaber 88/1

[2] The reason why this applies even by Rabbinical meats: Although these meats are only Rabbinically forbidden, they may nevertheless not be eaten on the same table due to a Rabbinical decree that one may come to eat them with cheese. Now although eating meat and milk which have not been cooked together is itself only Rabbinically forbidden, nevertheless in the Sages made a decree upon a decree in this case. [Taz 88/1; See P”M 88 M”Z 1; To note that regarding eating chicken on a table with milk is a triple Derbaban and thus is in itself a decree [chicken] upon a decree [not cooked] upon a decree [same table].] The Levush explains that the reason this is not considered a decree upon a decree is because it was included in the original decree being that if one eats chicken and milk on the same table it is very common that the mixture will occur. Thus this decree is considered like one decree. [Levush brought in Kaf Hachaim 88/6]

[3] Shach 88/1

[4] Shiyurei Bracha 88/8; Aruch Hashulchan 88/11

[5] 88/2

[6] So defines the Shach [88/3] as the meaning behind “Knowing each other”. However from the simple implication of the Michaber [88/2] it implies that any two people which are acquainted with each other have the prohibition of eating on the same table even if they are uncomfortable with each other, and only regarding strangers does the prohibition not apply. The reason for this is because we suspect one may offer the other some of his food. [so brings Darkei Teshuvah 88/14]

[7] Is there a difference between brothers and friends? This applies whether the two people are brothers or simply mere acquaintances [Taz 88/2; Shach 88/4] This contrasts the opinion of the Maharshal which rules that only brothers which are in a fight are forbidden to eat together, one meat and one dairy. However others [which are not brothers] who are in a fight are allowed to eat on the same table. 

[8] Shach 89/2 in name of Rosh

[9] Michaber 88/1

[10] Rama 88/2

[11] However the Bach rules that if one uses the vessel for the meal [such as to drink from] then even though it is not normally on the table, it cannot be used as a reminder between them. Practically the main Halacha is like the Rama. [Shach 88/6]

[12] Shach 88/7

[13] Rama 88/2

[14] Michaber 88/2

[15] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[16] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[17] Michaber 88/2

[18] Second opinion in Tur, brought in Shach 88/5 and Taz 88/3

[19] First opinion in Tur, as explained in Taz 3

[20] So rules Shach 88/5 and Taz 88/3

[21] Michaber 88/1

[22] Rama 88/2

[23] Shach 88/7

[24] Michaber 88/2

[25] Rama 88/2

[26] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[27] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[28] Michaber 88/2

[29] Bach in name of Rashal; Kneses Hagedola 23; P”M 88 S.D. 3; Aruch Hashulchan 88/8; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88/7; Pischeiy Teshuva 88/3; Kaf Hachaim 88/10

[30] Rav Akiva Eiger 88 in name of Gan Melech 71 [brought in Kaf Hachaim 88/2]

[31] Hakashrus  10/24; See Kaf Hachaim 88/16 which mentions from the Zivchei Tzedek 88/11 that a Shinui and Deios, such as a Heker and a Shomer for a single person is valid, perhaps the same would apply in this case as well.

[32] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[33] Michaber 88/1 as explained Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 88/13. See there for other opinions.

[34] Sheivet Hakehasy 5/133

[35] Maharam Meratenberg 12

[36] Chachmas Adam 40/11

[37] Rav Akiva Eiger 88 in name of Gan Melech 71 [brought in Kaf Hachaim 88/2]

[38] Zivchei Tzedek 88/11 brought in Kaf Hachaim 88/16; Hakashrus 10/24

[39] Michaber 88/1; This is the original case that the Michaber states in 88/1 and it includes the other two mentioned cases.

[40] Michaber 88/1; Hakashrus 10/25

[41] Michaber 88/1; Hakashrus 10/25

[42] Michaber 88/1; Hakashrus 10/25

[43] Shach 88/2

[44] This is in contrast to meat and milk which are both Kosher and one is accustomed to eat from, and thus carries with it a suspicion that one may come to absentmindedly eat from it while eating the opposite food if they were to be on the same table.

[45] Admur 440/3

The reason is because we suspect some Chameitz may fall into the food of the Jew. [ibid]

[46] Rama 88/2

[47] As is ruled in 89/4 see there for details

[48] Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 1/38

[49] Hakashrus 2/39-41

[50] As many Poskim hold that the stringency of the Rama by glass only applies to Chameitz and not to other prohibitions.

[51] Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 1/38

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