Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Waiting Between Meals

Milk to Meat


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

24 Tammuz 5765
I have read other questions similar to this however I haven’t really understood them. I understand that some people in Europe only wait 1 hour after meat before eating milk. Are there any other people who do? I recently heard someone say in the name of a rabbi that it is acceptable to wait only 3 hours and some say it’s okay to wait 5+ hours. I had always thought that the number of hours given by the Shulchan Aruch is 6 and nothing else. Are there any opinions to wait less than 6 hours?
The time waiting between a meaty meal and milk is subject to your family custom. The Sephardic custom (Shulchan Aruch YD 89), the vast majority of Ashkenazi households and the highly recommended Halachic view (or using the words of the Shach (ibid 8), "anyone that has any scent of Torah"…) is to wait full six hours after meat. Unless you have a different family custom – that’s the opinion to follow. The Rema (ibid) brings a lenient opinion to wait one hour and some Dutch Jews follow that opinion. Another practiced custom is to wait three hours, the source for that custom is not so clear, yet, if that’s your family's custom you can follow it. For the six hour opinion some authorities hold one can wait a bit less (responsa Divrei Chachamim p. 178), if that's not your custom you should stick to the full six.
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