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Rabbi Nissan Wilson

Why Can't We Eat Fish and Meat Together on the Same Plate?

Rabbi Nissan Wilson of Clayhall United Synagogue explains how this ruling is different from other Kashrut laws and therefore has different applications.

Very interesting. Why then does the Kashrut Division allow caterers to (a) have buffets with both meat and fish dishes and (b) serve fish and meat finger foods at receptions? I couldn't really care because I know I need to take a swig of Scotch between times, but many people don't.

Rabbi Conway of the KLBD and Rabbi Wilson: Precisely for that reason! Since one can have meat & fish at the same “sitting” or indeed standing at a Kiddush, for example by taking that swig of whiskey, they is no reason why both items should not be served. Although there are those who might not be aware of the requirement to “clean out the mouth” inbetween, since there are some Halachic opinions who are lenient, we do not need to be overly concerned about those who do not follow this practice as long as we have not mislead those who do!

Don't you have separate knives and forks as well?

Rabbi Wilson of Clayhall United Synagogue: Cutlery and crockery that have been used for fish must be washed before using them for meat (and vice versa). In the course of a meal, one would usually serve fish as a starter and then use clean plates and knives and forks for the next course.

There is, however, no need to have completely separate sets of cutlery or crockery for fish and meat. The rules are totally different to those pertaining to milk and meat. In short, with milk and meat, even flavours absorbed into a pot or item of cutlery may not come into contact with food or flavour of the opposite 'gender'. For this reason we must have separate cutlery and crockery for milk and meat.

With fish and meat, however, the Talmud addresses a health concern that can potentially arise when the two come into direct contact. If we think of this in medical terms, we can understand that the body may have a certain resilience to minor quantities of some dangerous substances. The Talmudic Sages understood that fish and meat would only pose a health risk when there is actual contact of the two foods, either in a pot or on plates and cutlery.

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