[For the record, (I believe) I know the answer, but I saw someone post the question, as stated in the subject, on social media, and I am drawing it to its logical conclusion here.]

Say, for example, that someone makes a pot of Cholent on the stovetop, and, while the Cholent is at a low boil, some powdered milk, of less than 1/60 of the volume of the Cholent, is accidentally spilled into the Cholent and, because of the circumstances, it vanishes from sight almost immediately. A small amount of the Cholent is subsequently eaten, and the Cholent is refrigerated for later consumption.

Let's now say that the chef adds some water to the Cholent, but accidentally adds too much, making it now very watery, and in order to reheat the Cholent, the chef decides it is best to bring it up to a boil and leave it uncovered to allow some of the water to evaporate, thereby thickening it somewhat.

Somehow, another accidental powdered milk spill occurs, this time again with less than 1/60 the volume of the Cholent, but if combined with the first milk spill would now constitute more than 1/60 the volume of the Cholent.

Do we say that it's as if the first milk spill never happened - that first bit of milk ceases to exist in Halachic reality? Or do we say that the first milk spill had no significance to the Cholent at the time of the spill, but with some liquid being boiled off and reducing the overall volume, and some more milk being added to the mixture, do we say that now the first milk and the second milk combine to take up a significant amount of the total volume and make the Cholent not kosher?

  • If you nullify any overlooked chametz on Erev Pesach, so that it is hefker and "like the dust of the earth", does that mean that if you find a crust of bread behind your sofa you can eat it on Pesach because it's been nullified and isn't chametz anymore?
    – mweiss
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:48
  • 1
    @mweiss You are mixing up two different kinds of nullification. Mar 31, 2014 at 2:50
  • Yes, but the question is about both kinds -- no? That is, something may be nullified for different reasons and by different processes, but the question is about the ontology of nullified items. Do we say that they no longer exist, or merely that they have no halakhic significance? It may very well be that the answer depends on the type of nullification; the purpose of my comment was to try to tease that distinction out, if it exists.
    – mweiss
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:54
  • @mweiss anything perceptible is never nullified. Your nullification vis a vis the bread is about your ownership and connection to the bread. It is nullified "like the dust of the earth." The dust of the earth very much exists. You just don't own it, and you wouldn't care if a small amount made its way into your home - nor would you be able to prevent it.
    – Seth J
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:55
  • Okay, I'll agree. So the issue at question is specifically pertaining to imperceptible mixtures.
    – mweiss
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


I asked my LOR and he showed me the mishnah in trumos (Perek 5 Mishnah 8) which is the original source of the machlokes. If 1 piece of chulin falls into a 100 pieces of chulin, it is batel. If a second piece of trumah falls in, then there is a machlokes as to whether it was now considered 2 in a 100 (1 in 50) and asur or 1 in 101 and batel again. This machlokes continues up through the rishonim and the Taz also mentions the machlokes. He (my rav) spoke of the situation as to why people get 18 minute matza because of the possibility of a small piece becoming chametz and being batel before Pesach and then the machlokes of chozeir v'neiur as to whether the mashehu would 'revive' and make the matza asur on Pesach.

I found A reference in the Chazon Ish on Yorah Deah(Siman 16, Seif 3) which refers to the Shulchan Aruch Yorah Deah Siman 94.

If a piece of meat falls into a milchig soup, we say that the milk absorbed by the piece of meat becomes batul as it comes out and new milk is absorbed. Otherwise, since milk is constantly being absorbed and replaced by new milk, eventually all of the milk would have cycled through the meat and there would be more than 60:1 that has become asur by being cycled through the meat and the milk in the pot would become asur.

On the other hand, if a second piece falls in, then there must be sixty times both pieces. The analogy to the drops of milk falling into the cholent. While they become batul, my LOR pointed out that all the drops that have fallen need to be added up. Otherwise, you can get drop by drop falling in and becoming batul even though there is a massive amount of milk in the cholent.

The Chazon Ish goes into detail as to the reasoning behind this.

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