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milk spoon in meat cup mistake


Rabbi David Sperling

Elul 18, 5772
Dear Rabbi, I accidentally used a milchig teaspoon to mix hot (just below water boiling point) pareve tea in a fleischig cup. The cup has not been used for any meat or with any meat for at least the last two months. It may have been used for pareve over 36 hours befor this. But the milchig spoon has been used for milchig possibly within the 24 hours prior. I read somewhere that since only one item was used in the last 24 hours all items remain kosher and can be washed and reused in original category. Is this correct? If not what is to be done with the spoon and mug. Thanks
Shalom, Firstly, let me apologize for the delay in answering - there have been some technical problems on the site, and I have only just received your question. Before answering your question we need to determine if your teaspoon is really dairy. For this to be true, you would have had to use it in a "kli rishon" of milk - that is put the teaspoon in a pot containing dairy food that was on the fire, or still hot from being on the fire. Usually people only use teaspoons in their coffee cups, and as such they are considered as "second vessels", and whilst we should be careful not to use such a spoon in meat food or with meat utensils, after the fact we do not consider that any milk taste can come out of the teaspoon. So if your teaspoon was not used in the preceding 24 hours in a dairy pot on the fire, or directly after it was on the fire, everything is fine. Even if this was not the case, you write that "the milchig spoon has been used for milchig possibly within the 24 hours prior". The rule is that unless one is certain that the spoon had been used for milk, then the working assumption is that it was not used for milk in the preceding 24 hours. So, as you are unsure, the rule is that we assume it was more than 24 hours, and again, everything is kosher. Lastly, as we wrote above, a "second vessel" - that is a cup of tea, if it was poured from a kettle - does not (after the fact) transfer the taste from the spoon to the water. So here too is another reason that all is still kosher. In general, what you heard - that if only one item had been used in the past 24 hours then everything is fine - is not so simple, and I advise you to ask a rabbi (or write to us) with details of each individual case. Blessings
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