THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
SPECIAL BONUS DRASHA: Ask Rabbi Pinky: On Eating Milk and Meat
Rabboisai, Tanya G. writes:
"Dear Rabbi Pinky,
"Rabbi -- I have been wondering: If a man just ate dairy and his wife just eat meat -- can they kiss, or do they have to wait six hours?"
Meideleh, thank you for your well thought out and engrossing question, which gets at the heart of both Kashrus laws and the rules which govern the relations between man and woman. Your deep question echoes the primal lesson of Adam and Chava (Eve), the foundational relationship between Avraham and Sarah, and the quickie between Yehuda and Tamar.
Ironically, your name "Tanya" brings to mind a great text which reflects on the essence of Toirah, mitzvois, relationships, and the worship of dead rabbis.
It is written in the Tanya, Perek Chuff, that man and woman are fundamentally different in the way the Aimishteh perceives them. Yes, in the eyes of Hakkadoshboruchhu, not all flesh is equal.
The Tanya compares women to fish, and man to beef. One must ALWAYS eat the fish prior to eating the beef, and may eat the fish with other foods, dairy for example. Indeed, many Gediolim hold, and my bashert Feigeh Breinah agrees, that meat is somehow special, and must be eaten rarely, only to mark special occasions. Or never at all. But fish must be eaten as frequently as possible.
Says the Tanya, fish and beef are fundamentally different, yet they are both flesh. Such is Klal Yisroel -- similar to other nations, yet quite distinct in its own nature.
There is a Braisah in Maseches Shkalim that tells us that Rav Yose Haglili once fasted for three days in repentence for using a clean meat knife to cut salad that was later eaten with dairy. Upon learning of this, Rabbi Akiva stated that "Rebbi (Yose Haglili) should go back to cooking school." The Gemarrah then brings down a famous Machlokess, Rabbinic debate, between Rav and Shmuel on how best to understand this Braisah. According to Rav, Rabbi Akiva's statement implied that he totally rejected kosher laws. However, Shmuel holds farkhert: Rabbi Akiva was a big advocate of kosher laws, but was absolutely offended that Rav Yose Haglili used a steak knife to cut salad.
So why don't we eat meat and milk together? There is a Pussook that tells us "Loi Sevashel Gedi Bechalaiv Imoi," a calf must not be cooked in its mother's milk. How do we know that the proper interpretation is the warning aganst mixing dairy with fleish? According to the RAMCHAL, this Pussook is actually properly understood as reflecting a pre-Israelite cultic ceremonial sacrifice celebrating the first born of the flock in spring. Of course, the RAMCHAL later retracted this comment in exchange for a shorter sentence and a reduced fine.
A different interpretation, offered by the Akaidas Yitzchuk, suggests that the Pussook does indeed warn us about eating, but actually goes beyond milk, to include any bodily fluids. This is indeed consistent with laws stated elsewhere that prohibit the consumption of meat that contains any blood, which of course is the essence of the kosher requirements of draining, soaking, and salting meat before it may be eaten.
I am reminded of a maiseh shehoya. Rabbeinu Gershom, when he was not busy opening other peoples' mail, was reknowned as a Poissaik, a Rabbi who could rule on the contemporary questions brought forth by commoners. One evening, a local townswoman dropped off for inspection for Toomas Nidah a pair of underwear -- a thong. As was the practice at the time, the underwear was given to Rebbetzin Gershom, who later brought it to her husband after dinner. The next day, on his way home from shul, the townswoman came up to Rabbeinu Gershom and enquired, "Nu, Rebbe, can I be mezaneh with my husband tonight?"
Rabbeinu Gershom, looked up at her, astounded. "Rebboinoisheloilum, is that what that was?" he answered. "I thought it was dental floss. So I can't tell you if you are pure of Mei Nidah, but my teeth have never been cleaner!"
So, Meideleh, to fully answer your question, we must understand the roots of the tradition of waiting between milk and meat. As is well known, the waiting period differs by sub-culture. Jews of Polish and Russion descent wait six hours; people from Germany wait three hours; people from Holland wait one hour; and Latinos wait about twelve minutes.
Some say this has to do with cuisine and the spacing between the traditional mealtimes in different societies. But I believe that to appropriately address your shailah, we should rely on a minority opinion which suggests that this practice is not a cultural marker denoting times between meals, but between Maiseh Beyuh, if you know what I mean. In Poland and Russia it was really cold, so no one dared stray from under the blanket for at least six hours. In Germany, efficiency dictated prompt and structured increments of three hours. And in Spanish speaking countries, they may as well not have bothered putting their pants on.
I, the RAPAS, would like to humbly suggest that in our days, where the historical residence of our grandparents is largely a nostalgic question rather than a practical one, we must adopt a new approach to separating between meat and milk, especially as it relates to marital relations. So as a general rule, your question should be addressed by age: If a man is in his 20s -- wait one hour. If he is in his 30s -- wait two hours. 40s and older -- wait six hours. But if a man is sneaking out for a little traifus or a rendezvous with a hot shiksa, he needn't wait at all.
Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess