From the Rav’s Desk: Must one have separate oil bottles for meat and milk?

  1. Question: [Wednesday, 12th Adar, 5781]

Is there any reason for me to be careful to have separate oil bottles for both meat and milk or is it okay for me to use the same oil bottle to pour into meat and milk products?


Indeed, there is a very strong reason to designate oil one bottle for meat and another bottle for milk and not interchange their use for the opposite, and so is the initial directive that people should follow [even though I believe most people are unaware of this concept and may not be accustomed to follow do so due to lack of the knowledge of the issue]. Alternatively, the same oil bottle may be used for both meat and milk if one is careful to never pour the oil directly into the meat and milk if the meat or milk is hot, and rather he pours it into the meat or milk before it becomes hot, or pours it into another cup and then from that cup into the hot meat or milk. If the oil bottle was accidentally used to pour directly into hot meat or milk, then it should be immediately designated for only that use. Being that in families it is often difficult for everyone to remember and follow the above directives when using the same oil bottle, therefore the best thing to avoid mistakes is simply to designate two oil bottles, one for meat and one for milk, as stated above. However, oil, such as olive oil, which is only used for seasoning cold foods one could suffice with having one bottle alone for both cold meat and milk foods. For those who have not been careful in the above until now, the good news is that they have not God forbid transgressed in eating meat and milk, as Bedieved we rule that the oil bottle always remains Pareve, but the above directive is the initial and Lechatchila ruling and needs to be followed. To note that the above issue, and need to designate separate items or be careful in their use, applies to all liquids and not just oil, with the most pertinent example being a water urn that in order to keep the water always Pareve it should never be poured directly into meat or milk, as even though when the water is hot indeed there are greater sides for leniency, practically one is to be stringent.

Explanation: While there is certainly no issue with using the same oil bottle for cold meat and milk meals, there is an issue to do so when the meat or milk is hot. This problem in Halacha is defined as “Nitzuk Chibur.” You see, when you pour cold oil into a hot pot of meat or milk you’ve created a stream connection between the hot meat below and the oil above, which now enters the oil above into the question as to whether it has now absorbed taste of the meat and officially become Fleishig or dairy. Now, when you go ahead and use that oil for the opposite food, perhaps you have now prohibited it due to the mixture meat and milk taste. Practically, the Poskim rule the following regarding this question: While we initially suspect for the concept of Nitzuk Chibur, we rule that Bedieved if this was done everything remains permitted. This means that initially we are to be careful to avoid the transmission of taste that comes through a connecting stream, and therefore initially one is to be careful, as stated above, never to use the same oil bottle for pouring directly into hot meat and milk, although if one did so and used the same oil bottle to pour into hot meat and milk, the food remains permitted. Based on the above rule, it is understood that the problem of using it with the opposite food applies even if one now desires to pour into the opposite food which is cold, as according to the initial directive the oil has already become Dairy/Meaty. Thus, for example, one poured canola oil from the bottle into his simmering meat Chulant, he should no longer initially use this oil for any dairy food even if cold.

Sources: See regarding the concept of Nitzuk Chibur by a stream: Rama 105:3 in name of Issur Viheter; Shach 105:11; Taz 105:6; Peri Megadim 105 M.Z. 6; Yad Avraham 105; Admur 451:59; Chavas Daas 91:6; Minchas Yaakov 57:24; Rashal Gid Hanasheh 37; Kneses Hagedola 95:54 in name of Masa Binyamin; Peri Megadim 95 M.Z. 13; Kanfei Yona based on Rashal Gid Hanashe 37, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 105:96Zivcheiy Tzedek 95:32; Kaf Hachaim 95:50 See regarding the application of this rule to meat and milk: Otzros Yerushalayim p. 161-174 for a thorough article of Rav Chaim Yehuda Cohen on this subject; Although the initial ruling of the Poskim ibid deals with pouring from Heter to Issur, thus leaving room to argue that perhaps by meat and milk where each one is permitted on its own and we have the concept of Nat Bar Nat applicable to it, there is no need to be careful in Nitzuk Chibur, especially being that in the end of the day we rule that everything remains Pareve, nonetheless, on the contrary one can argue that we find bases in a number of laws in meat and milk that we are more stringent by Pareve being that it always has a status of Lechatchila, and therefore would apply to it the Lechatchila ruling of Nitzuk Chibur regarding initially using it for the opposite food. Furthermore, we find that Admur ibid uses the concept of Nitzuk Chibur by Chametz before Pesach when everything is still permitted hence lending to the idea that even by a currently permitted food we would suspect for this concept. See regarding the concept of Nitzuk Chibur by a stream that is hot: Admur 451:59; Kreisy Upleisy 105:8; Peri Megadim 105 M.Z. 6; Chochmas Adam Klal 59:4;  Darkei Teshuva 105:96; Shabbos Kihalacha Vol. 1 page 393 [chapter 9:41]; Opinion of Admur: In 451:59 Admur rules that women are accustomed not to use for Pesach the urn they pour from in order to Kasher an item, being that the steam of the Chametz vessel which is being Kashered becomes absorbed in the vessel. This implies that Admur is stringent even when pouring hot onto hot. [See Piskeiy Admur p. 330] Vetzaruch Iyun if anything can be deduced from that law as Admur writes only “there is an opinion which explains”, as well as it is merely a custom, as well as the upper vessel certainly should be permitted, as Bedieved we do not hold taste is transferred. Thus, one must conclude that it is a Pesach stringency that is not relevant to other Issurim, and so writes Shabbos Kehalacha ibid, as is also evident from Darkei Teshuvah 105:99

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