Chapter 2: Eating meat and milk on the same table

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Chapter 2: Eating meat and milk on the same table

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

It is Rabbinically forbidden to eat meat on the same table as one who is eating milk products.[2] This applies even towards Rabbinical meats, such as poultry and wild animal meat.[3] The same applies vice versa, that one may not eat milk products on a table which one is eating meat, poultry, or wild animal meat.[4] This law contains two exceptions as will be explained in Halacha 2!

 

 Q&A

May one who is within 6 hours of eating meat sit near a person eating milk products?[5]

Yes.

 

2. The exceptions:[6]

A. If one does not know the other person and does not feel comfortable eating from the other persons food:[7]

The above prohibition against eating meat on the same table as another who is eating dairy only applies if the two people are acquainted with each other[8] to the point that they are not ashamed of eating from each other’s plates.[9] This applies even if the two people are [generally] particular against one taking things from the other, [but not to the point that they will prevent one from tasting the other’s food[10]].[11] This applies even if the two people who are particular against one taking from the other are not relatives.[12] [This applies even if the other person is a gentile who is eating Kosher dairy or meat.[13]] If, however, the two people are strangers who are not acquainted with each other, [and one does not feel comfortable to take from the other’s plate without permission[14]] then it is permitted for one to eat meat and the other to eat dairy on the same table.[15] [From some Poskim[16] it is evident that this applies whether the other person is a stranger or an acquaintance who one does not feel comfortable taking from his food. However, some Poskim[17] are stringent in all cases that the two people are acquainted, even if they do not feel comfortable eating from each other’s plate.[18]]

Practical Examples of valid reminders [if not normally sitting on one’s table]:

· A picture frame or album

· Standing a wallet on the table,

· Bottle of oil that is never usually on the table

 

Q&A

If one is currently in a fight with the other person, may they eat on the same table, one meat and one milk?[19]

Even if the two acquaintances who 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, as will be explained in the next exception. Thus, a couple who are in the midst of an argument, may not eat on the same table, one meat and the other dairy, unless a reminder is placed between them.

B. Placing a reminder between the two eaters:[20]

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 it is permitted for them to eat together on the same table, one meat and the other milk.

The definition of a reminder and what reminders are Halachically valid:[21] Any item, including a food utensil, which is not normally on the table is considered a valid reminder. This applies even if one uses the unusual utensil as a food dish during the current meal.[22] [Thus, one may use a pot that contains food as a reminder even if it is being served from during the meal, if one does not usually place the pot on his table.] Certainly, other unusual items which are not used during the meal at all, such as a candelabra [during day time[23]], is a valid reminder.[24] However, items that are usually on the table, even if they are not food related, such as a candelabra which is usually on the table at night[25] [or a flower vase], are invalid reminders.[26] With regards to using food as a reminder-see next!

Placing food as a reminder: It is a valid reminder to place [a whole loaf[27] of] bread between the two people eating.[28] This, however, only applies if neither eats from this bread during the meal. If, however, they partake in eating from the bread, then it is an invalid reminder.[29]

The height of the reminder?[30] In all cases the reminder must be of a great enough height that it is visible to the eaters.

Where on the table is the reminder to be placed?[31] In all cases, the reminder is to be placed between the two eaters.

Is a reminder valid if they are eating at a restaurant and are paying the same bill? See E!

 Q&A

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

No, as it is not tall enough to be visible to the eaters.

 

If an item normally sits on one side of the table and it is now positioned to sit between the two eaters, is it a valid reminder?[33]

Yes.

C. Two separate tablecloths:[34]

If the person eating meat and the person eating dairy eat on two separate tablecloths, it is considered a valid reminder, and they may thus eat the meat and milk on the same table, each on his tablecloth without placing any other reminder between them. [The same applies if one eats on the table cloth and the other lifts the table cloth and eats on the bare table, or if they eat on the same table cloth but one of the two eats on top of a place mat. However, they may not eat on the same tablecloth, even if it is new, and will remind them not to take from each other’s food.[35] When eating on the same table cloth with a reminder between them, as explained in B, they are to be distanced from each other to the point that there is no worry that one person’s food will fall into the others. Likewise, the tablecloth must be clean of any leftovers.[36]]

Q&A

If the two were already eating on two separate tablecloths, and then the meat and dairy dish was brought, does it serve as a valid reminder?[37]

Yes. The reminder of two separate tablecloths remains valid even if they were already accustomed to eating this way from the beginning of the meal.

D. Eating on opposite ends of the table:[38]

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, and they may eat on the same table, one meat and the other dairy.

 

Summary and Practical Ruling:

It is forbidden to eat meat or poultry on the same table as one who is eating milk products, or vice versa, unless one of the following exceptions apply.

1. One does not feel comfortable enough with the person to eat from his food: If one does not feel comfortable taking from the other person’s food without his permission, then it is permitted for the two to eat on the same table, one meat and the other dairy, as there is no suspicion that one will come to take food from the other. However, some Poskim learn that this only applies if the two people are strangers. If, however, they know each other, then a Heker is always needed, as explained next.

2. One places a reminder between the eaters: If one places a Halachically valid Heker/reminder on the table between himself and the other eater, then they may eat together, one meat and the other milk. Any item, including food utensils, which are not normally on the table during the meal, 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. If [a loaf of] bread is placed between the two people eating and neither eats from this bread during the meal, it is a valid reminder. In all cases the reminder must be of a certain height, so it is visible to the eaters. In all cases the reminder is to be placed between the two eaters.

3. Two separate tablecloths: If the two eaters eat the milk and meat on two separate tablecloths, it serves as 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: 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, and they may eat on the same table, one meat and the other dairy.

 

Q&A

May two people eat on the same table, one meat and one milk, if they appoint someone to stand guard to make sure they do not take from each other’s food?

Some Poskim[39] rule that a guard is not considered a valid reminder, and they must either eat on separate table cloths or place an object of reminder between them.

3. May a person eat meat on a table which contains milk foods?[40]

It is forbidden to eat meat on a table which contains milk products, or vice versa, due to the same reasons explained in Halacha 1, that we suspect one may come to eat from the milk product that is on the table. Accordingly, one may one place meat on a table that another person is using to eat milk products on.[41]

Q&A

May one eat meat on a table which contains dairy utensils?[42]

Yes.

 

May a single person eat meat on a table which contains dairy or vice versa if a Heker is placed on the table [i.e. separate table cloth or unordinary item]?

Some Poskim[43] rule that a reminder is invalid for a single person eating on a table which contains the opposite food, and he must rather remove the opposite food from the table or eat elsewhere. Other Poskim[44], however, rule that a reminder is valid just as we rule regarding two people eating on the same table.

 

May a single person eat meat on a table which contains dairy or vice versa if a person is appointed as a Shomer to prevent him from eating the opposite food?

It is not considered a valid reminder to have someone stand guard [i.e. Shomer] that one does not take from the dairy foods.[45] However, if one has both a Heker on the table and appointed a guard then it is a valid reminder.[46]

4. May one place meat and milk items on the same table if one is not eating on it?[47]

It is permitted to place meat and milk on the same serving table, one next to the other, so long as no one is eating on the table. [The foods, however, are to remain a far enough distance from each other so they do not spill or splash on to the other.[48]]

Q&A

May one place meat and milk on the same shelf in a fridge or shelf of a closet?[49]

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?[50]

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

_______________________________

[1] Michaber 88:1; Beis Hillel in Mishneh Chulin 104b

[2] The reason: The reason for the above restriction is because one may come to eat the opposite food which is on the table and thus transgress the prohibition of eating meat and milk. [Michaber ibid]

[3] The reason: Although poultry and wild animal meat is only Rabbinically forbidden, they may nevertheless not be eaten on the same table as cheese 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 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 Derabanan 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]

Other opinions in Talmud: Beis Shamaiy in Chulin ibid rules that chicken and cheese may be eaten on the same table.

[4] Shach 88:1; Kneses Hagedola 88:1; Lechem Hapanim 88:1; Beis Lechem Yehuda 88:1; P”M 88 S.D. 1; Birkeiy Yosef 88 Shiyurei Bracha 1; Beis Yitzchak 88:1; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:1; Kaf Hachaim 88:1

[5] P”M 88 N”Z 2; Birkeiy Yosef in Shiyurei Bracha 88:8; Kanfei Yona; Teshuvah Meahavah 88; Aruch Hashulchan 88:11; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:18; Darkei Teshuvah 88:18; Kaf Hachaim 88:21

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden for one who is within 6 hours of eating meat to sit on the same table as one who is eating dairy. [Beis Yaakov 12, brought and negated in Birkeiy Yosef ibid]

[6] Michaber 88:2

[7] Michaber ibid; Mishneh Chulin 107b

[8] Michaber ibid

[9] Shach 88:3; Peri Chadash 88:2; Lechem Hapanim 88:4; Beis Lechem Yehuda 88:4; Peri Toar 88:2; Kaf Hachaim 88:9 and 15; See Taz 88:2 in name of Rashal “Makirin means that they love each other without being particular”

[10] Peri Toar ibid defines this to mean that they will be upset if one takes from the other, but not to the point that it makes one feel uncomfortable in doing so, as one will not come to stop the other from tasting his food; Kaf Hachaim 88:15; However, see Rashi on Chulin 106b who defines Makpidim as “They will not eat from each other”; Vetzaruch Iyun!

[11] Michaber ibid “Makpidim Zeh Al Zeh”

[12] Taz 88:2; Shach 88:4; Peri Chadash 88:3; Peri Toar 88:2; Lechem Hapanim 88:5; Beis Lechem Yehuda 88:5; Minchas Yaakov 77:22; P”M 88 S.D. 3 and 4; Beis Yitzchak 88:3; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:6 and 12; Aruch Hashulchan 88:8; Kaf Hachaim 88:9

Other opinions: Some Poskim rules that only by brothers who are Makpid on each other and will be upset if one takes from the other, do we nevertheless prohibit one to eat meat and the second dairy on the same table. However, acquaintances [non-siblings] who are Makpid on each other not to allow one to take from the other, are allowed to eat on the same table. [Maharshal Kol Habasar 43, brought in Taz 88:2, in his understanding of the Gemara in Chulin 107b “Two brothers who are particular on each other”]

[13] Implication of Admur 440:3; Yad Yehuda  88 Aruch 2; Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 88:15; See Piskei Admur p. 117

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one may always eat milk/meat on the same table as a gentile, even if he is acquainted with him, and the gentile is eating Kosher meat/milk. [Pleisi 88:1; Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 88:15]

[14] See Shach 88:3; Peri Toar ibid; Kaf Hachaim 88:15

[15] Michaber ibid; Mishneh ibid “Two guests/strangers may eat on the same table one meat and the other milk” Shmuel in Chulin ibid “this only applies if they do not know each other”

The reason: As there is no suspicion that one will come to take from food from the other, as they are shamed to do so.

[16] Implication of Shach 88:3; Peri Toar ibid; Kaf Hachaim 88:15

[17] Poskim in Darkei Teshuvah 88:14; See Taz 88:2 who implies that by acquaintances it is forbidden due to a Lo Pelug even if they will not come to eat from each other. See also Rashi on Chulin 106b who defines Makpidim as “They will not eat from each other”; Vetzaruch Iyun!

Background: The Michaber 88:2 writes that the prohibition only applies if the two people “Know each other.” The Shach 88:3 defines this to mean that they feel comfortable eating from each other’s food, thus implying that if they do not feel comfortable, then it is permitted to eat on the same table even if they know each other. The Peri Toar ibid explicitly makes this clear, that even acquaintances may eat together if they are particular not to allow each other to even taste from the food. 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.

[18] The reason: The reason for this is because we suspect one may offer the other some of his food. [Darkei Teshuvah ibid]

[19] So is understood from Michaber ibid who rules that even if Makpidin Zeh Al Zeh it is forbidden; See Taz 88:2

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 who 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. 

[20] Michaber 88:1; 195:3 regarding Niddah; 1st Pirush in Tosfos Chulin 107b on words of Gemara “Tefisa Achas”

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that placing a Heker as a reminder between the eaters does not help to allow them to eat on the same table, one meat and the other dairy. [2nd opinion in Tur 88, as explained in Taz 88:3 and Bach 88; 2nd Pirush in Tosfos ibid]

[21] Rama 88:2; Beis Yosef 173

[22] Rama ibid; Beis Yosef ibid; Shach 88:6; Peri Chadash 88:5; Halacha Pesuka 88:2; Beis Yitzchak 88:6; P”M 88 S.D. 6; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:19; Aruch Hashulchan 88:9; Kaf Hachaim 88:22

Other opinions: Some Poskim rules that if one uses the vessel during the meal [such as to drink from it] then it is not a valid reminder even if it is not normally on the table. [Bach 88] Practically the main Halacha is like the Rama. [Shach 88:6; Poskim ibid]

[23] Shach 88:7

[24] Rama ibid

[25] During the day the candelabra is valid as it is not normally there. However, during the night it is not valid as it is normally there. [Shach 88:7; Poskim in next footnote]

[26] Shach 88:7; Taz 88:4; Kneses Hagedola 88:13; Peri Chadash 88:6; Lechem Hapanim 88:8; Beis Lechem Yehuda 88:9; Minchas Yaakov 77:23; Kreisi 88:4; P”M 88 S.D. 7; Chochmas Adam 40:11; Beis Yitzchak 88:7; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:22; Aruch Hashulchan 88:9; Kaf Hachaim 88:24

[27] Levush O.C. 173; Kneses Hagedola 88:21; Beis Lechem Yehuda 88:7; Birkeiy Yosef 88 Shiyurei Bracha 7; Kaf Hachaim 88:20

The reason: As it is common for sliced pieces of bread to be on the table and it is hence not a Heker. [Kneses Hagedola ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is a valid Heker even if the loaf is not whole and one uses a mere slice. [P”M 88 S.D. 8; See Birkeiy Yosef ibid]

[28] Michaber 88:2

[29] Rama 88:2; See Kaf Hachaim 88:20

[30] Taz 88:4; Darkei Moshe 88:1; Issur Viheter 40:13; Kaf Hachaim 88:26; Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[31] Michaber ibid “If they place bread between them”; Michaber 195:3 regarding Niddah “An item that separates between his and her plate”; Rama ibid “If they placed between them a vessel”; Tosfos Chulin ibid “Between the two eaters”; Hakashrus 10 footnote 59; See Kaf Hachaim 88:24-25

[32] Hakashrus 10 footnote 59

[33] Kisei Eliyahu 88:4; Kreisi 88:4; P”M 88 S.D. 7, M”Z 4; Beis Yitzchak 88:7; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:23; Kaf Hachaim 88:24-25

[34] Michaber 88:2; 195:3 regarding Niddah; 1st Pirush in Tosfos Chulin 107b on words of Gemara “Tefisa Achas”

[35] Issur Viheter 40:14; Kneses Hagedola 88:18; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:15; Kaf Hachaim 88:18

[36] M”A 173:1 in name of Bach 173

[37] Kneses Hagedola 88:20; Birkeiy Yosef 88 Shiyurei Bracha 6; Zivcheiy Tzedek 88:16; Kaf Hachaim 88:19

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

[39] Rav Akiva Eiger 88 in name of Gan Melech 71; Kaf Hachaim 88:2; See however Hakashrus 10:24 who writes a Shomer is valid; See Kaf Hachaim 88:16 who 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.

[40] Implication of Michaber 88:1 [unlike implication of Michaber 88:2, see Darkei Teshuvah 88:13]; Beis Hillel 88:1; Peri Chadash 88 Kuntres Acharon; Birkeiy Yosef 88 Shiyurei Bracha 5; Beis Yitzchak 88:3; Aruch Hashulchan 88:8; Zivchei Tzedek 88:10; Poskim brought in Darkei Teshuvah 88:13; Kaf Hachaim 88:13

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

[42] Sheivet Hakehasy 5:133

[43] Maharam Merothenberg 12; Kehal Yehuda 88; Kaf Hachaim 88:16

[44] Chochmas Adam 40:11

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

[46] Zivchei Tzedek 88:11 brought in Kaf Hachaim 88:16; Hakashrus 10:24

[47] Michaber 88:1; Hakashrus 10:25

[48] Kaf Hachaim 88:8

[49] Hakashrus 10:25

[50] Hakashrus 10:25

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