Pareve Bread – Bava Metzia 91


by: Rabbi Yechezkel Khayyat

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Bread – only Pareve?

The Gemora introduces the prohibition on producing and eating meat or dairy bread. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch discuss this prohibition at length in YD 97. Below are a number of issues related to this topic.


The Gemora explains that these breads are forbidden due to a concern that one may eat the bread with meat of milk. This is true even if the bread was baked with bird fat, even though bird meat and milk is only Rabbinically prohibited.

The Poskim question why this is not a gezeirah l’gezeirah – a Rabbinic decree applied to a Rabbinic decree.

The Pri Megadim (Sifsei Da’as 97:1) answers that bread is such an essential staple that indiscriminately eating bread with meat or milk – i.e., assuming it is pareve – is so pervasive and common as to be certain. Therefore, the Rabbinic prohibition on a milk and bird meat mixture includes the prohibition of such bread.

Other Applications

The Taz (YD 97:1) applies this prohibition to other essential foods that are assumed pareve, including spices. Therefore, the Taz says that if one had a spice grinder which was used as pareve, and then one ground meat in it, it may not be used for any spices, even for use with meat.


The Gemora (Pesachim 36a) allows one to make such bread when made k’ain tura – like an ox. Rashi says this means that when one bakes only a small amount, which will be eaten in one meal, we are not concerned that it will be accidentally eaten with the wrong type of food, and is therefore permitted.

The Rif says that this means that if the bread baked has a distinctive shape and/or appearance, we are not concerned that one will eat it with the wrong food. For example, a muffin type of bread, or bread with obvious cheese or meat in it, would be permitted.

The Rama (YD 97:1) says that this is why it is customary to bake bread with milk for Shavuos, and with fat for Shabbos, since the bread looks different, and only a small amount is baked this way.

Taste Once Removed

The braisa says that if one coated an oven with fat, one may not bake bread in it until he burns out the fat.

The Rishonim discuss why simply cleaning the fat from the surface is not sufficient. The Rashba says that cleaning the surface is sufficient, but the braisa gave the more common action of burning it out.

Tosfos (Pesachim 30 Dilma) says that since the fat is so hard to clean at the surface, we assume that cleaning the surface will not be done thoroughly enough, and therefore one must burn it out.

The Poskim discuss whether the case of the oven whose surface is cleaned out is a case of nat bar nat – an embedded taste that is one step removed. If it is, the question and answers given by the Rishonim may indicate their position on whether one may intentionally create food that is nat bar nat for eating with meat or milk. See Yalkut Yosef YD 89, footnote 35.

Coffee Breaks

The Mishna discusses at what point in the work day a worker can eat from the food he is harvesting. Most Rishonim read the Mishna and Gemora as saying that from the Torah, while the worker is working with the fruit – until it is harvested – he may eat, while the Sages allowed them to eat during breaks between sections of the vineyard.

The Rambam (Sechirus 12:2) says that from the Torah a worker may only eat after he has harvested, since before then he will be wasting work time on eating. The Sages allowed the workers to eat before the harvest is fully done, during breaks between sections, to limit the break time taken once the harvest is done.

The Rambam’s text in the Mishna seems to be like the Rif’s – that one may eat only “b’shas gmar m’lacah” – at the time of the end of work, as opposed to our text – “b’shas m’lacha” – at the time of work.

The Maggid Mishnah says that the Rambam’s position is similar to Rashi’s. Rashi says that the Mishna says that a worker may not take a break from his work in order to eat, indicating that eating out of the permitted time is prohibited due to idling from the required work. See Drisha HM 337:4 for further details on the positions of the Rambam and Rashi. See Even Haezel for an alternate explanation of the Rambam’s position.