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The main textual source for the minhag of waiting three hours between eating meat and eating milk is Rabeinu Yerucham. However, it appears to many that the "ג" in there is actually a typo and it should be a "ו" as it does not match what he wrote in his other works, nor does it match his cited source (Rashi) for that waiting time.

Given this, my question is - excluding Rb. Yerucham, what is the earliest source that mentions a three hour time period?

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The Mizmor LeDavid (Yoreh Deah 89:6) mentions a 3 hour wait. Its author, Rav David Pardo, lived from 1718-1790.

The Chayey Adam (127:10), first published in 1810, mentions a few hour wait. (Although he doesn't say exactly 3, his language would only be understood in halachah as describing 3-4 hours. He uses a plural that does not refer to a minimum of two. He also meant it as avoiding the stricter 5-6. So, he must have been referring to some custom of 3-4 hours.)

  • @DavidKenner How did you claim the Chayei Adam is the earliest source when you had already cited the Mizmor LeDavid? The Chayei Adam was published 1810 TTBOMK – Double AA Oct 28 '16 at 3:55
  • I thought they were at the same approx. time. I don't think the MLD says exactly 3, but says "close to 3" comparing it to "close to 4". The CH'AD says "a few" which means the same thing. I have no way of knowing which of these contemporary Rabanim actually penned the idea first; regardless of a close publishing date? – David Kenner Oct 28 '16 at 4:20
  • I therefore thought the details of what the MLD and CH'AD said were helpful to the answer. I added him now copying your simpler style :) – David Kenner Oct 28 '16 at 4:21
  • If I had known the exact MLD date, I may have realized to say MLD or just both. TY – David Kenner Oct 28 '16 at 4:27
  • I don't know when MLD was written, but I'd love it if someone would find out. – Double AA Oct 28 '16 at 4:31
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There really isn't an earlier source than Rabbenu Yerucham. R. Cohen writes:

Many quote Rabbeinu Yerucham (Kitzur Issur Veheter 39) who mentions waiting three hours, though R’ Asher Zvi Lunzer (Madanei Asher 41) claims that this is a misprint as in the unabridged sefer (Sefer Adam 15:28) he writes that one must wait at least six hours. Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz writes that there is no real source though postulates that the three hours came about by German Jews who originally kept one hour who later wanted to compromise with those waiting six hours.

The Darkei Teshuva (89:6) and Mizmor Ledovid (YD 89:6) explain that it is based on the short winter days when people would typically wait three hours between their meals or that it is based on the calculation of shaos zemanios (halachic hours that vary by season).

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    I think you misunderstood the question. He's not seeking an earlier source than R Yerocham. He's seeking the first source that is not R Yerocham. – Double AA Oct 27 '16 at 17:48
  • Most of this citation is not applicable (no one asked if those who have it can continue the minhag, what reasons were given, if r yerocham actually supports this custom, what communities have this custom, and what german rabbis thought of it). Please trim this down to only the relevant parts. – Double AA Oct 27 '16 at 17:50
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    It appears that he answers the question by stating that most of those who come after Rabeinu Yerucham use him as the basis. He also states that there appears to be no one earlier. He does bring three locations that use other reasons than Rabbeinu Yerucham. – sabbahillel Oct 27 '16 at 21:08
  • @sabbahillel "stating that most of those who come after Rabeinu Yerucham use him as the basis" That in itself is not an answer... The goal is to name any human (with the exception of one) who held this way. Who is that human? – Double AA Oct 28 '16 at 3:49
  • The only line in this answer that addresses the question, is the first unsourced sentence. – mevaqesh Oct 28 '16 at 4:46

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