Waiting 6 hours

Waiting between eating meat and milk:

A. How much time must one wait?[1]

  • Michaber:[2]

    Wait 6 hours:  One who ate meat, whether meat of a domestic animal, or even meat of a wild animal or poultry[3], must wait 6 hours prior to eating milk products.[4]

  • Rama

    No need to wait: There are opinions[5] which rule there is no need for one to wait six hours between eating meat and milk and rather it suffices for one to simply recite an after blessing after the meat meal[6] and then perform kinuach/hadacha to his mouth. After doing the above he may then eat cheese.

    The Practical custom: Practically the widespread custom is to wait 1 hour[7] and say an after blessing between eating meat and milk [see footnote regarding Kinuach Vehadacha[8]]. It makes no difference whether one waits the hour before or after reciting the after blessing.

    The suggested practice: Nevertheless despite the above custom which follows the lenient opinion, it is proper to follow the meticulous which wait six hours between eating meat and milk.

  • Shach[9]/Taz[10]:

    Anyone with a radiance[11] of Torah is to wait 6 hours[12] and one who does not wait six hours is proper to be screamed and protested against, especially if he is a Ben Torah.[13]

  • Peri Megadim:

The Halacha and custom is like the opinion which requires one to wait 6 hours, and one may not break the accepted ruling.



One must wait 6 hours between eating meat and milk.[14] One is not to be lenient in this matter like those opinions which do not require waiting.[15] [However those countries which have an accepted custom to wait less than 6 hours may continue to do so.]


B. Why must one wait between eating meat and dairy?[16]

  • Rashi[17]/Tur:

    Meat that is swallowed has the ability to give off a fatty taste for up to six hours after consumption.


  • Rambam:

    Meat becomes stuck between the teeth and retains its meat status up until 6 hours pass.  


  • The final ruling:[18]

One is to be stringent like both opinions. Hence one is to wait 6 hours after chewing meat for a child, and is to remove any meat found in the teeth after 6 hours have passed.



If one slept after eating meat may he wait less than six hours prior to eating milk?

No. However there are Poskim[19] which are lenient and allow waiting 1-2 hours less.


Must one wait 6 full hours, or does it suffice to wait “into” the 6th hour, which is after 5 hours have passed?

One must wait six full hours[20], although there are Poskim[21] which permit waiting past five hours. The final ruling and custom is like the former opinion.


If one tasted a meaty food and spit it out must he wait 6 hours?[22]

If one licked a meaty food and immediately spit it out, or entered a piece of meat into his mouth and then removed it prior to chewing it, then he does not need to wait 6 hours prior to eating milk. Hence one may taste a meaty soup or chicken soup and then spit it out if he wants to eat dairy within the next 6 hours.


[1] 89/1

[2] So rules the Rif and Rambam.

[3] Which are all only Rabbinically forbidden to be eaten with milk and hence we would think is more lenient in this law. [Shach 89/1]

[4] The Arizal was accustomed to avoid eating milk products until the next day. Likewise after he ate cheese, he would not eat meat until the next day. [see Darkei Teshuvah 89/2]

[5] Tosafus

The basis of this dispute is the words of the Talmud which requires one to wait from meal to meal between eating meat and milk. The first opinion rules “from meal to meal” refers to from the morning meal to the evening meal which is 6 hours. The second opinion rules it simply refers to two different meals separated by an after blessing. [Shach 89/5]

[6] The reason: The reason for why an after blessing is required is because that is what separates the two meals. If one does not say an after blessing then it is considered as if he is eating meat and milk in the same meal according to all. [Rama 89/1; Shach 89/5]

[7] So was the custom in Holland. In many other European countries the custom was to wait three hours between meat and milk.

Ruling of Taz: This custom does not really have any basis and simply became widespread as a commonly accepted form of compromise between the two opinions of whether a six hour wait is required. [Mahariy mentioned in Taz 89/2]

[8] Ruling of Taz: According to the Taz [89/2] even those who are accustomed to wait one hour must clean and wash their mouths prior to eating milk products. His reasoning is because those which wait an hour are only an offshoot of the opinion which does not require waiting at all, and according to that opinion Kinuach and Hadacha is required.

Ruling of Shach: The Shach [89/7] however rules that those which wait an hour for certain do not need to clean or rinse their mouth prior to eating milk products. However according to all if one then found meat in between his teeth he must then clean and wash his mouth prior to eating milk products, as will be stated in F.

[9] Shach 89/8 in name of Rashal

[10] Taz 89/2 in name of SH”D

[11] Lit. Reiach/smell

[12] Shach ibid in name of Rashal

[13] Taz ibid

[14] Michaber 89/1; Rashal and SH”D brought in Taz 89/2; Peri Megadim; Rama in his conclusion that so is proper to follow.

[15] Taz 89/2

[16] Brought in Taz 89/1 and Shach 89/2

[17] Brought in Beis Yosef 89

[18] Shach ibid; Taz ibid and so rules Michaber 89/1

[19] Daas Kedoshim Butshatsher 89/2

It is told of the Chasam Sofer that he ruled this way as well and after twice having tried to drink milk after awakening to only have the milk spill, he retracted his ruling. [Hakashrus 10 footnote 77]

[20] Yabia Omer 1/4; 3/3; Mishneh Halachos 5/97

[21] Rav Elyashiv [brought in Hakashrus 10 footnote 76] based on wording of Meiri 5-6 hours.

[22] Ben Ish Chaiy Shlach 9; Hagahos Mahrashak on P”M; Zivcheiy Tzedek 89/5 brought in Kaf Hachaim 89/4

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