Whatever your tradition for waiting between meat and milk, let's say you forgot you were fleishig, and now realize that you have just eaten milk within your traditional waiting period. What are you supposed to do?

Do you continue to wait until the end of the initial waiting period?

Do you start over (I see this as unlikely, but had to ask)?

If one of the above, do you have to wash out the dairy taste from your mouth/brush your teeth, lest you continue to get Hanaah (enjoyment/benefit) from the potential mixture of meat and milk in your mouth?

Or does the waiting period come to an abrupt end, such that you can now eat as much milk as you want? (This would be especially convenient in some instances, such as if you've prepared a large dairy meal and realized after the first bite or two that you still have 'X' amount of time to wait until your traditional waiting period ends, after which you will be exceedingly hungry, and/or your meal will no longer be fresh.)


I'm also curious if you can go back to eating meat immediately (assuming you normally wait some period after milk before eating meat, or even if the milk product you ate requires you normally to wait the same length of time you wait after meat).

  • 3
    +1 this is why I don't eat meat during the day! Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 20:27
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    I'm also curious if you can go back to eating meat immediately (assuming you normally wait some period after milk before eating meat, or even if the milk product you ate requires you normally to wait the same length of time you wait after meat). But I don't think that fits within the framework of the rest of the question.
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 20:33
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    @SethJ sounds like a separate question to me
    – yydl
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 20:35
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    @yydl I don't know. I think a good and full answer to this question would include an answer to that question.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 3:08
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    SethJ. I think it fits, add it in.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 3:10

3 Answers 3


Kaf HaChaim in siman 89 #8 writes in the name of דע׳ק If one forgets and starts to eat cheese during the six hours, he may finish and he does not need to stop. He also does not need to fast because of this mistake, being that there is no issue of eating issur here, it is merely a safeguard.

Chacham Ovadia Yosef in his commentary on the Ben Ish Chai called Halichos Olam brings this opinion and remarks this only applies to Ashkenazim who hold only one hour is the accepted halacha, the next five are only a minhag. He writes that Sfardim who hold six hours is the accepted halacha as per the Mechaber should not rely on this ruling. IIRC he expressed some disappointment that the Kaf HaChaim wrote this in his work which was mostly aimed at Sfardim, as if it applied to them.

Of course CYLOR whether to rely on this or not. I personally did ask my Rosh Yeshiva way back when if I can rely on this is ruling, if it would ever come up, and he said yes, unless I find a more contemporary Ashkenazi posek who brings this and argues on it.

Notice though the Kaf HaChaim made no distinction between the first hour and the subsequent ones, unlike Chacham Ovadia. Notice also Kaf Hachaim never discussed if one is now 'milchig' and can can go eat another cheese dish, or if after completing the meal, the six hour wait continues.


If you last ate meat at 1PM, and you normally wait 6 hours, then you can eat dairy at 7PM. It makes no difference what you've done in between. If you ate something you shouldn't have earlier, we don't penalize, but neither do we say you can eat whatever you want.

Rinsing your mouth would probably be advisable, but not required -- nothing about "prohibited benefit" here. Benefit is only prohibited if the meat and milk are Biblically prohibited, which requires that they be cooked together.

The reasons for the waiting period are either a blanket rule out of concern that there may be some traces around in your mouth, or that there's still some of the taste lingering as you digest. Either way, I see no reason why there should be any of these funny ideas you're throwing out there. Wait your normal hours from your last consumption of meat, and move on.

A more interesting question is how to deal, religiously, with your lapse.

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    Sources for the claims in this answer would be invaluable.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 4:40

To add a source to Shalom's answer:

In The Kosher Kitchen, the author writes that it is a common misconception, but eating dairy after meat does not "break" the required waiting time (of whatever that person holds - e.g. 6 hours). The full amount of time must still elapse before eating more dairy.

  • Is that a source? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10330/5
    – Seth J
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 12:48
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    @SethJ I think you meant to ask "Is that an authoritative source?". Since it is written by Rabbi Forst, I would assume that is an actual source. Incidentally, the answer there that you are probably referring to, makes no mention of a source for the idea that "No one considers any modern book as authoritative." And see my comment there...
    – yydl
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 21:27
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    No, I meant is he an original source, and if so from where does he derive his authority as such? Does he cite other sources that lead him to come on his own to his conclusion, or does he merely echo another authority that states it outright?
    – Seth J
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 1:31
  • @SethJ Ah, yes. I shall look tomorrow when I have access to the Sefer and update accordingly.
    – yydl
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 2:08
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    @SethJ Checked. He doesn't quote anyone.
    – yydl
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 21:03

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