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In the Mishnah Brurah's explanation for the custom of eating dairy foods on Shavuot (Orach Chaim 494:12), he mentions that the Israelites' pots had been used for non-kosher food within the past 24 hours prior to Matan Torah, and were therefore ben yoman (taste of non kosher food remained in the pot) and they couldn't be used for cooking after they received the Torah (including the laws of kashrut):

ולבשל בכלים חדשים כי הכלים שהיו להם מקודם שבישלו בהם באותו מעל"ע נאסרו להם ע"כ בחרו להם לפי שעה מאכלי חלב ואנו עושין זכר לזה:‏

And to cook with new utensils because the utensils that they had previously had been used in the previous 24 hours and were forbidden to use...

But how could their pots have been used for non-kosher food in the previous 24 hours? Weren't they eating manna at that point? What non-kosher food were they cooking?

  • 1
    Ben yomo applies to basar b'chalav as well. If they had recently cooked meat they couldn't kasher it for milk. Also, since ben yomo is an issue of taste (nosein ta'am leshevach/lefegam), perhaps one could argue that the man had the halachic status as whatever they wished it to taste like. Thus, if they wished it to taste like camel meat, it gave camel meat taste to their pots and made them treif. On the other hand, if the man was kosher its bli'os should be as well. – DonielF Jun 2 '17 at 15:52
  • I believe there is a Gemara that says the Jews were able to go to the "Tagrei Umos Haolam - gentile merchants if they wanted to buy something. I don't remember where it is offhand. – Earl Jun 2 '17 at 16:03
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In the Torah portion Beshalach (Shemos 16,8) it says that the Jews were to receive meat at night:

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה בְּתֵת יְהוָה לָכֶם בָּעֶרֶב בָּשָׂר לֶאֱכֹל וְלֶחֶם בַּבֹּקֶר לִשְׂבֹּעַ - And Moses said when Hashem gives you in the evening meat to eat and bread (i.e manna) in the morning.

It then says that they received the meat shemos 16,13-14:

וַיְהִי בָעֶרֶב וַתַּעַל הַשְּׂלָו וַתְּכַס אֶת הַמַּחֲנֶה וּבַבֹּקֶר הָיְתָה שִׁכְבַת וַתַּעַל שִׁכְבַת הַטָּל וְהִנֵּה עַל פְּנֵי הַמִּדְבָּר דַּק מְחֻסְפָּס דַּק כַּכְּפֹר עַל הָאָרֶץ. הַטַּל סָבִיב לַמַּחֲנֶה.-and it was that evening the quail (type of bird) came up and it covered the encampment and in the morning there was a layer of dew and it evaporated and behold there was manna.

So we see that there was quail meat that required shechita.

Now let us go to the laws of converts in Yevamos 46a - b אמר ר' חייא בר אבא אמר ר' יוחנן לעולם אין גר עד שימול ויטבול וכיון דלא טביל נכרי הוא - a person isn't a convert until he is circumcised and ritually immerses. (we are commanded to circumcise in Bereishis ובן שמנת ימים ימול לכם כל זכר לדרתיכם- eight days old shall you circumcise for future generations) באבות נמי טבילה הוה מנא ליה - How do we know ritual immersion happened with our fathers מהכא (שמות כד, ח) ויקח משה את הדם ויזרוק על העם וגמירי דאין הזאה בלא טבילה - From here (at Mount Sinai just before accepting the Torah) "and Moses took the blood and threw it on the the people" and we have a tradition that there is no sprinkling without ritual immersion.

From here we see that before the giving of the Torah the Jewish nation were not Halachicly Jewish until they immersed and their slaughtered animals were treif (which they cooked in their pots). Source: שחיטת נכרי נבילה slaughter of a gentile is a neveila (treif) (Chulin 13a)

So since they used their pots for cooking quail that was neveila every night, As soon as They converted at Mount Sinai, they needed to wait 24 hours in order to use their pots which they had used for treif meat when they were gentiles, so that the taste in the walls of the pots became pagum(see Nazir 37b) - unfit for purposes of consumption and permitted Min hatorah to use for the kosher meat which they ate henceforth.

  • Was the quail every night? I understood that it was only that first night. – DonielF Jun 6 at 11:38
  • @DonielF see Rashi arachin 15b בשליו ראשון - כשהתחיל המן לירד היה שליו יורד עמו כדכתיב (שמות טז) ויהי בערב ותעל השליו וגו' ובבקר היתה שכבת הטל וגו' ולאחר זמן מרובה התאוו יותר: i.e they wanted more meat the second time when they complained than they originnaly had every evening. – user15464 Jun 13 at 13:20
  • I since looked into it since I posted that comment. It seems to be a dispute in the commentators how often they got it. See Let My Nation Serve Me, page 39 with footnote 14, which cites a number of commentaries on the matter, the Rashi you cite being one of them. – DonielF Jun 13 at 13:33
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They used to pots cook the מן as it says about the מן

שָׁטוּ הָעָם וְלָקְטוּ וְטָחֲנוּ בָרֵחַיִם אוֹ דָכוּ בַּמְּדֹכָה וּבִשְּׁלוּ בַּפָּרוּר

The people streched out and gathered and ground with mills or crushed with a crusher and cooked in a pot and made it into cakes (Num. 11:8)

They had been using the pots each day since they came out of מצרים.

A pot only loses its status of בן יומו once it has not been used at all for a day, even for water. See Shulchan Aruch YD 103:7. Their pots were used every day, for the מן, so they never lost their status.

  • Did מן flavor become Notar the next morning (or Sunday morning, in the case of Shabbat)? – Double AA Sep 17 '17 at 21:34
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    Did they cook on Shabbat or did they cook the whole double portion on Friday? If the latter, then there'd be 24 hours without cooking on Shabbat. – Double AA Sep 17 '17 at 21:35
  • @DoubleAA Presumably they left the pots on the fire over Shabbos unless they were צדוקים – Dov F Sep 18 '17 at 2:38
  • Perhaps the מן flavor would be מין במינו which מדאורייתא is batel b'rov – Dov F Sep 18 '17 at 2:39

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