Transfer of Taste (2)

  • Rav David Brofsky

Keli Rishon, Sheini and Iruy (2)




Last week, we discussed the factors which together may induce a transfer of ta'am from one substance to another.  We noted that not only must there be a proper medium (i.e., fat or liquid), and sufficient heat (yad soledet bo), but the proper source of heat is also required in order to facilitate a transfer of taste. 


We noted that all agree that taste may be transferred in a keli rishon, i.e., a utensil either placed on or just removed from the fire.  The Rishonim debate, however, whether taste may be transferred in a keli sheni, i.e., if a substance is placed into a liquid which was first heated over a fire and then transferred into a second pot.  Common custom is to be stringent unless financial loss may be involved.  In such a case, a Rav should be consulted. 


Today we will discuss the status of solid foods (davar gush), and liquid (iruy) transferred to a keli sheni).  As well as the impact of direct contact between a permitted and prohibited substance.


Davar Gush:


The Rishonim discuss the status of a solid food removed from a keli rishon and placed into a keli sheni.  Regarding the laws of Shabbat, the question may relate to the permissibility of pouring cold, uncooked liquids onto hot solid food.  Regarding the laws of kashrut, the question may involve pouring cold milk over a solid piece of hot meat removed from a keli rishon.  Alternatively, we may question the consequences of cutting this piece of meat with a dairy knife. 


Are we to view the meat as a keli rishon, even though it is no longer in the pot in which it was cooked? If so, the meat is prohibited in both the above-mentioned cases.  Or, do we treat the meat as a keli sheni, in which case, as we learned last time, many Rishonim maintain that the meat would most likely be permitted (though one must remove the area which came into contact with the knife or the milk). 


The Rishonim refer to this solid food as a "davar gush."  Generally, this refers to a substance which cannot be poured and does not stick to the walls of the utensil in which it is contained.


Rabbeinu Yona and the Maharshal (see Shakh 94:30) posit that a piece of solid food retains its status as a keli rishon even after it is removed from its original pot.  It seems that most Rishonim disagree with this ruling. 


As for why a davar gush should be different from a liquid, we may offer the following suggestion.  We noted that the Tosafot explained that a keli sheni cannot cause bishul on Shabbat, as the walls of the keli sheni cool off the liquid and therefore it can no longer provide constant heat.  A davar gush, however, isn't contained within a new keli and there are no walls to cool it down.  Therefore, its status may be closer to that of a keli rishon than a keli sheni. 


The Rema (YD 94:7) seems to reject the position of the Rabbenu Yona and the Maharshal, and rules that a solid piece of food shares the same properties as liquids.  Therefore, he rules that if one cuts a piece of meat in a keli sheni with a dairy knife, the meat remains kosher, as the encounter between the meat and the knife occurred in a keli sheni. 


A number of Acharonim (Taz 94 and Shakh 105) adopt the more stringent view, especially when a knife was used, as the pressure of the knife (duchka de-sakina) may add another reason to be more stringent.  Therefore, in the above mentioned case, the meat must be discarded, as it is viewed as a keli rishon.  Some are lenient when financial loss is involved.  Therefore, one should consult a halakhic authority. 


Does it Matter if the Solid is on the Top or the Bottom?


Our discussion until now has involved a case in which the hot solid food was removed from a keli rishon.  What if the hot solid was placed ON TOP of a cold solid?


Generally, the operative halakhic principle is that "tatai gavar" (Pesachim 76a).  The bottom substance is considered dominant.  Therefore, if the bottom food is in a hot keli rishon, and an appropriate medium is present, a complete transfer of taste is possible.


If on the other hand, the bottom food is cold and the top food is hot, only a partial transfer of taste is accomplished.  Therefore, theoretically, if a hot piece of meat is placed on a cold block of cheese, both substances are permitted as long as the outer layer (kedei kelipa) of both pieces is removed.


The authorities disagree regarding the status of two foods, one permitted and the other prohibited, placed alongside each other.  See Rema YD 105:3, and Taz (5) and Shakh (9).


Once again, these cases are complex and often require the guidance of a halakhic authority.


Iruy – Splashes:


Unlike the case of davar gush, iruy relates to the status of a cold food or utensil onto which a hot liquid is poured.


The Rishonim debate the impact of pouring a hot liquid onto a utensil or a substance.  Regarding the laws of bishul on Shabbat, the question may involve the permissibility of pouring water from an urn onto tea leaves or another uncooked substance.  Regarding the laws of kashrut, the question may relate to the effect of hot milk poured onto a cold piece of meat, or hot gravy which is spilt onto a dairy plate or pot.


Some (see Rashbam cited by Tosafot Shabbat 42b) explain that the impact of a poured liquid is no greater that the impact of a keli sheni, which does not cook or cause absorption (according to many).  Others claim that iruy mi-keli rishon may cause bishul and beliah (absorption), although they differ as to what extent.  Some (see Rosh) claim that iruy may only effect a partial transfer of taste, kedei kelipa (through the outer layer).  Others (see Rabbeinu Tam as cited by above Tosafot) rule that iruy mi-keli rishon may effect a full transfer of taste, similar to a keli rishon. 


The Rema seems to adopt the middle position, as he rules (YD 68) that iruy induces a transfer of taste only throughout the outer layer (kedei kelipa).  In other words, iruy is viewed as a case of "tatai gavar," as described above, and thus can only affect the outer layer of the lower food.  Practically, however, due to the chance the lower substance, due to its porous nature, might still absorb the milk, one should consult a halakhic authority.


See YD 91:4 and Shakh (8) regarding the status of the milk.


Iruy of Hot Water From One Utensil to Another, or Onto Two Different Utensils:


The authorities disagree regarding a case in which hot water cooked in a dairy pot is poured onto a cold meat dish or pot.  As we noted in an earlier shiur, the Rema (YD 95:2) allows one to place food cooked in a dairy pot onto meat dishes.  However, in the very next se'if (95:3) the Rema states explicitly that if one pours a liquid, which was cooked in a fleishig keli rishon, directly onto a dairy dish, the dish and the liquid are prohibited! Apparently the Rema equates this case with the case of washing meat and dairy dishes together in a keli rishon, regarding which he rules like the Sefer HaTeruma who prohibits both utensils.


The Taz (95:13) suggests that since the flow of water is connected to both utensils, it is as if they are together in the same pot.  The Shakh (95:5) and Peri Chadash (95:17) rule leniently.  The Arukh Ha-shulchan (95:22) is also inclined to rule leniently, yet suggests that when possible one should kasher the utensil.  If, however, the keli may not be kashered, like a mug, the utensil is permitted.


Incidentally, hot milk poured directly onto a countertop is considered a keli sheni, and a meat pot placed on that puddle is subject to the laws of keli sheni, as detailed in last week's shiur.


What if one pours hot water, from a pareve keli rishon, over meat and dairy dishes?


The Rema (YD 95:3) rules that iruy mi-keli rishon is not strong enough to facilitate a transfer of taste from one utensil to another, and therefore, even if they are both dirty, they are permitted.  The Shakh (20) adopts a more stringent approach.


This discussion, of course, brings us one step closer o discussing the proper use of, and potential problems relating to, sinks.


Next week we shall address sinks, as well as other scenarios in which there may or may not be a transfer of taste.  Finally, we will attempt to summarize some of the complex halakhot we discussed the past two weeks.