What do you think the Kosher Food Laws say regarding the following scenario: You cook a piece of meat in a meat cooking device. Then afterwards you remove the meat from the pot and wash it out until it is sparkling clean, and then you cook in the same pot a neutral food, let's say string beans for example, in this "meaty pot," this pot that was used just before for meat but is now clean. I ask -- Does the "neutral" food remain neutral? May the beans be eaten with milk?

This resulting food, the string beans, is called in the codes a "nat bar nat." Nat is an abbreviation for the words, in the expression of the Talmud, "that which gives (or transfers) taste." Bar means in the same language "the son of," therefore nat bar nat becomes "that which transfers taste which is the offspring of that which transfers taste." I explain: The meat didn't transfer its taste directly into the beans as if they would be in the scenario if they were cooked one with the other all together. Rather, the taste of the meat was absorbed into the walls of the pot, and then afterwards, in a second cooking, transferred the taste into the beans. This second level taste is obviously weaker. How does the the Jewish Bible and the Jewish codes relate to that weaker taste?


in such a case where the taste so much weakened, since it was absorbed into the walls of the pot and then afterwards when you cooked the beans the second time, it came out again, then we say like this: If the food that produced the taste was permitted food, the meat in the above example, then we say that such a weak taste doesn't have the strength to become a forbidden food if it happens afterwards that it becomes mixed with milk. I mean to say, the secondary taste isn't strong enough to create a new prohibition by virtue of its contact with milk. But, if the taste involved was from a prohibited food, for example donkey meat, first you cooked donkey meat in a pot and then after a thorough cleaning you cooked string beans, so the beans are forbidden as long as there remains any taste of the forbidden meat. Similarly, however not so obvious, if instead of cooking string beans in the meat pot you cooked milk, then the milk (and the pot) would become prohibited, because when the taste of the meat comes out it immediately strikes the milk and becomes forbidden food, meat and milk.


--Rabbi Aminadav Hinton