Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: What's Wrong With Eating Milk After Meat

[BEGIN Introductory prose to demonstrate my flair for writing]
At least one person will be very happy to read this post.  He (you know who you are) asked me a question that I more or less pushed off.  First, I thought I knew the answer, but I had no proof.  Second, it's the kind of question that you really need a posek for, but it's not l'ma'asah, so I was nervous about bothering the poskim I know.  Well... I had a few seconds with a posek this morning while we were getting our coats (I even "accidentally" stole his t'fillin to get a few extra seconds with him...)  I am glad I did, because I was wrong about what I had thought was the answer.  Moreover, I was gleefully enlightened about how to judge the relevant factors (I was wrong about that also.)  So now... what was the question, what did I incorrectly think, and what was the correct answer?
[END Introductory prose to demonstrate my flair for writing]

Suppose a soon to be ger eats a a nice, grilled rib steak for lunch, finishing at 1:00 PM just before his beis din for conversion.  He enters the beis din at 1:30 PM where he is grilled for three hours.  He gives a drop of blood, immerses, and heads home at 5:00 PM as a new Jew as certified by the beis din.  (Not a Dutch beis din, not even a German beis din; but a good ole American  -- why, yes; we do wait six hours after eating meat before drinking milk -- beis din.)  It's August in Dallas and very hot, and he's had a long day.  A milk shake is just what the doctor ordered.  Can he drink it immediately, or does he need to wait till 7:00 PM?

I posed the question, the posek asked me, "What do you think?"  "I figured he could probably drink it right away."  "Ah."  [Bad sign...] "You were probably thinking since a ger is koton sh'nolad dami (like a new born child."  [Really, really bad sign that he has already determined where I went wrong.]  I am committed, though, so I plunge ahead, "If his mother also converts too, he could even marry her!" (d'oraiso)  "True," says the posek, "because there is no halachik relationship.  On the other hand, there is no issur yichud; because the m'tzius (reality) is that there is a physical relationship.  The reason you can't eat dairy after meat is because Chazal were worried about grease on your teeth and/or bit of meat stuck between your teeth.  Why would that concern be any different here?"

Right.  I was so focussed on my beautiful s'vara that I forget the most elementary first step in deductive analysis: know your facts.  The issur of eating dairy after meat has nothing whatsoever with the meat in your stomach (or any other part of your alimentary canal).  The issur is to have the taste of milk and meat in your mouth.  The fact that he was a goy when he ate the steak is a red herring  (and we know the danger of mixing meat and fish).  The physical situation is that this new Jew has grease on his teeth and/or bits of meat stuck between them that is less then six hours old.  Of course he can't have that milk shake till 7:00 PM!

Of course, if he had eaten ham, then he certainly could have the milk shake now.  "Wait!", you exclaim, "How sincere can he be and how likely is the beis din to accept him after watching him eat ham!?"  A reasonable remark, and I have a remarkable answer.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…