Going Kosher – Problems and Solutions – Chapter 8

By: Rabbi Amiram Markel

 

Introduction

In this section we will specifically deal with common errors and accidents that may occur in a kosher kitchen and how to correct them. However, because these laws deal with so many possible scenarios, they are extremely varied and complex. They, therefore, are quite beyond the scope of this small book. If the Merciful One, Blessed be He, will grant wisdom, strength and length of days, these issues will, G-d willing, be dealt with in full in a separate book dedicated to this subject alone.

Before proceeding, it should be pointed out that the main intent and purpose of this section, is not to enable the reader to arrive at Halachic rulings on his or her own. This may lead to error, G-d forbid. As stated, these Halachos are very complex. As a result, the rulings may change according to the details and conditions of each case.

To complicate matters, there may be more than one opinion on any given subject. Some authorities may be stricter and others more lenient. This being the case, it takes the expertise and experience of a seasoned rabbi to know how to apply each law according to the situation. His ruling may, therefore, vary according to the details and circumstances surrounding each case.

Therefore, be aware that the purpose of this chapter is to educate you as to some of the possible scenarios that may occur and the possible solutions to them, so that in the event of a problem, you will be sensitive to it and seek rabbinical counsel. Moreover, if a problem arises, there will be a greater understanding of what to ask and how to ask it. However, as stated before, should there be any doubts, it is of the utmost importance to ask a rabbi who is expert in this field.

Some Common Problems

1) If a meat dish was cooking in a meat pot and a dairy spoon was inadvertently used to stir it, or if a dairy dish was cooking in a dairy pot and a meat spoon was used to stir it, the Halachic consequence depends on whether or not the spoon was used for cooking within the previous 24 hour period:

A) If the spoon was used for cooking within the previous 24 hour period, two possibilities exist:

a) If the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, the food and the pot remain kosher. The food may be eaten and the pot need not be koshered before its next use. However, the spoon must be koshered through immersion in boiling water before its next use.[1]

(However, if the spoon was inserted into the food twice, according to Sephardic authorities, the food must be 120 times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it.[2] Nevertheless, more than 120 times is not required, even if the spoon was inserted three or four times.[3])

b) Nonetheless, if the food was not sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, then the food may not be eaten. Moreover, both the spoon and the pot must be koshered through immersion in boiling water before the next use.[4]

B) However, if the spoon had not been used within the previous 24 hour period, the food and the pot remain kosher even if the food was not sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it. Nevertheless, the spoon must still be koshered through immersion in boiling water before its next use.[5]

2) If a meat or dairy spoon which had been used within the previous 24 hour period was inserted into pareve food that was cooking in a pareve pot that had not been used in the previous 24 hour period the Halachic outcome depends on whether or not the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it:

A) If the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, the food may be eaten together with either dairy or meat food.

B) If the food was less than sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it:

a) According to Ashkenazic authorities the food may be eaten only together with food similar to the spoon. If it was a dairy spoon the food may be eaten with dairy food and if it was a meat spoon it may be eaten with meat food.[6]

b) According to Sephardic authorities the food may be eaten regardless of whether it is eaten together with meat or dairy food.[7]

3) If a meat pot which had been used in the previous 24 hour period had pareve food cooking in it and during the course of cooking, a dairy spoon which had also been used in the previous 24 hour period was inserted into it:

A) If the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, the food may be consumed during a meat meal only. In addition, neither the spoon nor the pot needs to be rekoshered.

B) If the food was not sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted in it, the food may not be consumed. Furthermore, both the spoon and the pot need to be rekoshered through immersion in boiling water.[8] This rule applies both to Ashkenazim and Sephardim.[9] However, there are Sephardic authorities that are of the opinion that if this was inadvertently done[10] and the spoon did not touch the pot itself, but rather, only the food,[11] both the food and the pot remain kosher.[12]

C) If both the pot and the spoon had not been used within the previous 24 hours, the food is kosher and may be eaten. In addition, the pot and the spoon may be reused and do not need re-koshering.[13]

4) If a pareve dish was cooking in a meat pot which had been used within the previous 24 hour period and a dairy spoon which had not been used within the previous 24 hour period was inadvertently used to stir it, the Halachic consequence likewise depends on whether or not the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it:

A) If the food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, the food is kosher and may be eaten. In addition, the pot and the spoon do not need re-koshering.[14]

B) If the food was not sixty times greater than the part of the spoon which was inserted into it, the food should only be eaten during a meat meal. Moreover, the spoon must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water.[15]

5) If a meat pot was removed from the fire and a dairy spoon was inserted into it before its contents had cooled to less than 113 Fahrenheit/45 Celsius; the above rules still apply. This is likewise the case if a meat spoon was inserted into a dairy pot after it was removed from the fire.

A) However, if the spoon was inserted into the food after it was transferred from the pot to a bowl or a plate, if it still retained a heat of 113 Fahrenheit/45 Celsius, and:

a) The food was sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it. Or

b) The spoon had not been used during the previous 24 hour period

Then, in such a case the food is kosher and may be eaten.[16]

(As stated above, if the spoon was inserted into the food twice, according to Sephardic authorities, the food must be 120 times greater than the part of the spoon which was inserted into it.[17] Nevertheless, more than 120 times is not required, even if the spoon was inserted three or four times.[18])

B) However, if the food was not sixty times greater than that part of the spoon which was inserted into it, but the spoon had been used within the previous 24 hour period:

a) According to Ashkenazic authorities the food may not be consumed except if there is great need or substantial monetary loss. Furthermore, the spoon should be rekoshered.[19]

b) According to Sephardic authorities the food may be consumed.[20]

6) Generally, all the rules mentioned above regarding a pot which is still on the fire also apply to a pot which has been removed from the fire, on condition that it still retains a heat of 113 Fahrenheit/45 Celsius.[21]

7) If a dairy dish was inadvertently cooked in a meat pot which had been used within the previous 24 hour period, the Halachic consequence depends on whether or not the food is sixty times greater than the pot.

A) If the food was not sixty times greater than the pot, the food must be discarded and the pot must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water.

B) If the food was sixty times greater than the pot, the food is kosher and may be consumed. However, the pot must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water. Likewise, even if the pot had not been used within the previous 24 hour period, it should not be used, even to cook a pareve dish, until it is re-koshered by immersion in boiling water.[22]

8) If meat was cooking in a meat pot and a dairy lid was inadvertently placed upon it or if dairy was cooking in a dairy pot and a meat lid was placed upon it:

A) If the lid had not been used within the previous 24 hour period, both the lid and the pot remain kosher. However, if it was not removed before the food came to a boil and hot vapors managed to come up from the food to the lid, then it should be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water.[23]

B) If the lid had been used within the previous 24 hour period, if the food came to a boil and hot vapors came up from the pot, the food must be discarded and both the pot and the lid must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water. However, if the food was sixty times greater than the lid, it is still kosher and may be consumed.[24]

9) If a meat dish was cooking in a meat pot or if a dairy dish was cooking in a dairy pot, and a pareve lid was inadvertently placed upon it, and the food came to a boil so that vapors managed to rise from the food to the lid before the lid was removed, the Halachic consequence is that the lid takes on the properties of the food cooking in the pot. If the food was dairy the lid becomes a dairy lid and if the food was meat the lid becomes a meat lid. It must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water before it may be used as a pareve lid once more.[25]

10) If a clean meat utensil, such as a fork or spoon, was inadvertently used with a cold dairy food or a clean dairy utensil was used with a cold meat food, the food is still kosher and may be consumed. Furthermore, the utensil must merely be cleansed well and it retains its original status. If it was a dairy utensil it remains a dairy utensil and if it was a meat utensil it remains a meat utensil. However, great care must be taken not to wash it in hot water, especially if it was used with hot food within the previous 24 hour period.[26]

11) In the event that the meat utensil was not very clean when it was used with dairy, or vice versa, that the dairy utensil was not clean when used with meat, the part of the cold food which came in contact with the utensil should be discarded and the remainder is still kosher and may be consumed. In addition the spoon should be thoroughly cleansed in cold water.[27]

12) If a cold, liquid meat dish, such as beef soup, was stored in a cold dairy container for 24 hours or more or cold milk was stored in a cold meat container for 24 hours or more, both the beef soup and the milk remain kosher and may be consumed.[28] However, the containers must be re-koshered by immersion in boiling water.[29]

13) If hot milk was poured from a pot that was on the fire into a meat container that had been used within the previous 24 hour period or if hot beef soup was poured from a pot that was on the fire into a dairy container that had been used within the previous 24 hour period, the food is no longer kosher and must be discarded. In addition, the container must be re-koshered (if it is made of kosherable material).[30]

14) If hot water is poured from a non-kosher pot which has been used within the previous 24 hour period into a kosher container, the water must be discarded and the container must be re-koshered.[31]

15) If hot water is poured from a clean meat pot that had been used within the previous 24 hour period, into a dairy pot that had been used within the previous 24 hour period, if there is no great monetary loss,[32] the dairy pot should be re-koshered. However, if either pot had not been used within the previous 24 hour period, the dairy pot need not be koshered.[33] Of course, the same principles hold true if hot water is poured from a dairy pot to a meat pot.

16) If hot water is poured from a meat pot which has not properly been cleaned, into a dairy utensil, or vice versa, the receiving utensil should be koshered.[34]   Similarly, if hot water is poured from a clean meat pot which had been used within the previous 24 hour period, into a dairy utensil which has not properly been cleaned, the dairy utensil should be re-koshered.[35]

17) Meat and dairy utensils washed together in hot water must be re-koshered. Since it is impossible to kosher china, porcelain or ceramic dishes etc. great caution should be taken to assure that this does not happen.

18) The problems of dairy food cooked in a meat oven, meat food cooked in a dairy oven or dairy and meat foods cooked in an oven simultaneously are complex. The Halachic outcome often depends on whether the food was solid or liquid, whether there was a transference of aroma or steam from the food to the oven walls or from one food to the other, whether the food was covered or not, whether the two types of food came into direct contact with each other and whether the oven itself had a ventilated or a sealed compartment. Even the size of the oven is a determining factor. The subject is further aggravated by the lack of consensus amongst many of the rabbinic authorities regarding several key issues. Therefore, it is best to avoid doing any of this altogether.[36]

However, though cooking meat and dairy in an oven simultaneously is a practice that should generally be avoided, nonetheless, if it has been done, here are several guidelines to be aware of:

a) If a meat pot and a dairy pot were in an oven simultaneously and one of them was covered by a tight fitting lid or with aluminum foil with no possibility of transference of steam or aroma from one food to the other, both foods may be eaten. However, to avoid spillage, the pots should have been placed in the oven on the same level, rather than one above the other. Of course, if both pots were properly covered the food may be consumed and neither the pots nor the oven need rekoshering.[37]

b) If a meat pot and a dairy pot were in an oven and both foods were solid, they may be eaten, and neither the pots nor the oven need to be rekoshered, even if both pots were uncovered, unless it was observed that steam was rising from the pots.[38]

c) However, if both pots were uncovered and one or both contained liquid, we assume that steam arose from the liquid and transferred to the solid. Therefore, the food may not be eaten.[39]

d) If bread was baked in an oven simultaneously with meat it generally should not be eaten with dairy. However, if other bread is unavailable and the dairy dish must be eaten with bread, it is permissible to eat it together with the dairy.[40]

e) If an open pot of dairy liquid was cooking in a meat oven or an open pot of meat liquid was cooking in a dairy oven we assume that the steam rose to the oven ceiling. Furthermore, it may have condensed on the oven ceiling and fallen back into the pot. According to some opinions[41] the food may not be eaten. Other opinions[42] hold that unless drippings were observed falling into the pot the food may be eaten. Furthermore, depending on the size of the oven and whether it was ventilated, it may need to be rekoshered.[43] Inquire of your rabbi.

Now, it must be reemphasized that the above are only general guidelines. As said before, the Halachic outcome may change according to several factors, including the size of the oven and whether or not it is ventilated etc. It would take us far beyond the parameters of this book to do justice to all these important issues. However, by making you aware of them it is hoped that you will contact a Halachic expert in the event that they arise. If in His mercy, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will grant wisdom, strength and length of days, this subject will,   G-d willing, be addressed thoroughly in a subsequent work.

It should further be pointed out that in addition to the above problems there is also controversy as to whether a single oven may be used for both dairy and meat on a regular basis by koshering it from meat to milk and from milk to meat. Even those authorities who permit it may differ in their approach of what method of koshering to use etc. Ask your rabbi for his opinion.

19) If hot meat fell into a pot of cold milk or if hot milk fell into a pot of cold meat, none of the food may be consumed.[44] Moreover, the pot must be koshered before further use.

20) However, if there was a quantity of 59 parts more of one food than the other, the flavor of the lesser food is so overpowered by the majority food that it is considered to be null and void. Therefore, if a piece of meat fell into a pot of hot milk and there were 59 parts of milk to one part of meat, the milk remains kosher and may be consumed. However, since the meat is still identifiable as an entity unto itself, separate and apart from the milk, it becomes non-kosher and may not be consumed.[45] Rather, it must be extracted from the milk.

22) On the other hand, if milk falls into a pot of hot beef soup and there are 59 parts soup to one part of milk; since the milk is a liquid it mixes with the soup and looses its identity. The soup may therefore be eaten.[46] However, if a drop of milk falls on a piece of meat protruding from the broth, the meat must be 59 parts to one part of the milk for it to be permissible to eat.[47] If it is less than 59 parts of meat to one part milk the entire piece becomes non-kosher.[48] This being the case, it must be extracted from the soup and there must be 59 parts of soup relative to the whole piece of meat, rather than just to the drop of milk that fell on it, in order for the soup to remain kosher.[49] Nevertheless, if the pot was immediately shaken or covered as soon as the drop of milk fell into it, the whole soup, including the piece of meat,[50] is permissible to eat, on condition that its contents are 59 parts relative to one part milk.[51]

Salting is Equivalent to Cooking

1) As a general rule, it is best to be cautious that meat and dairy do not come in direct contact with each other. Nonetheless, if dry meat food came in contact with dry dairy food they may both be eaten (separately, of course) on condition that they were both cold and that no residue was transferred from one to the other.[52] However, if one of them was moist,[53] they must be rinsed with cold water before being consumed.[54] If, however, one of them was greasy they should be scrubbed, as well as being rinsed, before being consumed.[55]

2) On the other hand, salting is halachicly considered to be equivalent to cooking.[56] This being the case, transfer of flavor may occur through heavily salted foods. Therefore, if heavily salted meat and very salty cheese come in contact with each other, there is transference of flavor between them. However, this is only so under the following qualifications:

A1) The definition of “heavily salted” here is that there is so much salt that the food is inedible.[57] In other words, normally, the salt would have to be removed for the food to be eaten.[58] There are three levels of salting applicable here:

A2) The highest level of salting is the method used for preserving meat. Salt is applied to the meat to the point that it is caked upon it. Though in bygone years this was the chief method of preserving meat, nowadays, we make little use of it because of the advent of refrigeration. Unless the salt is removed by soaking it in water meat preserved in this fashion transfers flavor to other foods. Merely rinsing off the salt does not eliminate its ability to transfer flavor.[59]

A3) A lesser level of salting is that used in order to draw out the blood from the meat so that it may be cooked through boiling etc. This is known as “koshering” the meat. Salt is heavily applied to the meat, but not nearly to the degree that it is when preserving meat. Unless the salt is rinsed off the meat it transfers flavor to other foods. Nonetheless, soaking it is not required as it is when removing salt from preserved meat.[60]

A4) An even lesser amount of salt is customarily applied in preparation to broiling meat. Ashkenazic custom is to regard this level of salting as being capable of transferring flavor too, because we are not proficient in assessing the degree of salt necessary to transfer flavor.[61] However, once the meat is rinsed it can no longer transfer flavor, even according to Ashkenazic custom. Ashkenazic Jews may be lenient with this type of salting only in the case of serious loss.[62] However, Sephardic custom is lenient, even when the loss is a minor one.[63] Moreover, if meat is lightly salted, it is regarded as being inconsequential.[64]

B) Transference of flavor only occurs if the salt is damp or wet. This is the case even if the salt was damp, but dried before the two foods touched each other.[65] Thus, if dry salted meat and cheese come in contact, they only need to be rinsed before consumption.

C) If both salted foods are damp but lean, the transference is not deep and all that is required is that a thin surface layer be removed[66] from each food.[67]

D1) If both foods are lean but only one, such as the meat, is damp and heavily salted; a thin surface layer needs to be removed from the unsalted cheese only. This is because flavor was transmitted from the meat to the cheese only, but not vice versa. Nevertheless, the meat should be rinsed before it is eaten.[68]

D2) However, according to some opinions, the salty food also absorbs flavor. Therefore, a thin surface layer should be removed from it too.[69] Nonetheless, if doing so would incur a loss, the lenient opinion may be followed.[70]

E1) On the other hand, if the salty meat and cheese were also fatty, the flavor transmitted from one to the other permeates them completely and they both become non-kosher. This is likewise the case even if only one of them, such as the meat, was fatty, because the cheese absorbs the grease and then transmits it back to the meat.[71]

E2) However, since most meat and dairy etc. contain some degree of oils and fats, it is difficult for us to ascertain which should be considered fatty and which should not. This being the case, in practice, they should all be treated as fatty foods.[72] In the event that the problems of this section arise, seek the guidance of a Halachic expert as to how to proceed.



[1] שו”ע צד:ג.

[2] שו”ע יו”ד צד:ב.

[3] כה”ח יו”ד קה:כב.

[4] שו”ע יו”ד צד:ג.

[5] שו”ע יו”ד צד:ד.

[6] שו”ע יו”ד צה:א,ב,ג.

[7] שו”ע שם.

[8] שו”ע יו”ד צה:ג.

[9] כה”ח יו”ד צה:לח.

[10] היינו בדיעבד.

[11] חכמ”א מח:ו.

[12]  שו”ע שם, בא”ח קרח:יז, וראה שו”ת יבי”א ח”ד יו”ד ד.

[13] רמ”א יו”ד צה:ג.

[14] שו’ע יו”ד צד:ה, וראה פמ”ג ורע”א שדוחים את ש”ך שם.

[15] שו”ע יו”ד צה:א-ב.

[16] שו”ע יו”ד קה:ב, ש”ך שם ה.

[17] שו”ע יו”ד צד:ב.

[18] כה”ח יו”ד קה:כב.

[19] דרכ”ת יו”ד קה:ס, חידושי רע”ק יו”ד קה:ב.

[20] שו”ע יו”ד שם.

[21] שו”ע יו”ד צד:ד.

[22] ש”ך שו”ע יו”ד צג:ג.

[23] שו”ע יו”ד צג.

[24] שו”ע שם.

[25] רמ”א יו”ד צג.

[26] שו”ע יו”ד צא:א וט”ז שם.

[27] פת”ש יו”ד צא:א, דרכ”ת יו”ד צו:ד.

[28] ט”ז יו”ד קה :א, חכמ”א נז:ט.

[29] שו”ת שבט הקהתי ב:רנג.

[30] רמ”א יו”ד צה:ג.

[31] ש”ך יו”ד צה:יח, חכמ”א מח:יג.

[32] לערוה”ש צה:כב אם יש חסרון כיס אפשר להשתמש בו אחרי עבור כ”ד שעות.

[33] רמ”א יו”ד צה:גת וראה משבצות זהב יו”ד צה:יג. וש”ך צה:ה ופר”ח צה:יז חולקים. וערוה”ש צה:כב מכריע שטוב להכשיר.

[34] תורת חטת מז:יב

[35] רמ”א יו”ד צה:ג. והאו”ה לד:יח  כותב שלא צריך הכשר.

[36] רמ”א יו”ד קח:א.

[37]  רמ”א יו”ד קח:א, שפתי דעה יו”ד קח:י.

[38] אג”מ יו”ד א:מ, מנחת יעקב, תורת חטת לה:כא.

[39] רמ”א יו”ד קח:א, ט”ז יו”ד קח:ה.

[40] רמ”א יו”ד קח:א, וראה

[41] דגמ”ר יו”ד צב:ח.

[42] משבצות זהב יו”ד צב:כט, יד יהודה צב:נב.

[43] אג”מ יו”ד א:מ, מנחת יצחק ה:כ.

[44] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ד.

[45] שו”ע יו”ד צב:א.

[46] שו”ע יו”ד צב:ב. וראה ט”ז וש”ך שם.

[47] שו”ע יו”ד צב:ב.

[48] שו”ע שם.

[49] שו”ע שם.

[50] כה”ח שם:ה.

[51] שו”ע שם.

[52]שו”ע יו”ד צא:א.

[53] ש”ך יו”ד צא:א.

[54] שו”ע יו”ד צא:א וצא:ה.

[55] פת”ש יו”ד צא:א.

[56] מליח כרותח, גמ’ פסחים עו:א, חולין צז:א.

[57] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ה ורמ”א שם.

[58] גמ’ פסחים עו:א, חולין קיב:א.

[59] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ה.

[60] שו’ע יו”ד צא:ה.

[61] רמ”א יו”ד צא:ה.

[62] רמ”א שם.

[63] כה”ח צא:לח.

[64] כה”ח צא:לז.

[65] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ה.

[66] כדי קליפה.

[67] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ה.

[68] שו”ע יו”ד שם.

[69] שו”ע יו”ד ע:ג, רמ”א קה:י.

[70] רמ”א יו”ד קה:י, ש”ך יו”ד ע:כ, חכמ”א מג:ה.

[71] שו”ע יו”ד צא:ו, שו”ע יו”ד ע:ד.

[72] רמ”א יו”ד קה:ט, וראה כה”ח יו”ד קה:קא.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*