Shabbat Parashat Terumah| 5763
Ask the Rabbi
Question:When can one kasher utensils from fleishig to milchig or vice versa?
Answer:Let’s start with a basic understanding of the problem. From the perspective of the gemara and even the Rishonim, one may kasher between fleishig and milchig. (We will refer to the two interchangeably). However, the Magen Avraham (509:11) reports a minhag not to do so. The rationale is that if we allow one to kasher freely, he may decide to have only one utensil which he uses for both. Chazal opposed this situation, as the gemara (Chulin 8b) states that one should have three different knives to use for different functions. This minhag has been widely accepted and is considered binding in the Ashkenazic community. Harav O. Yosef shlita (Yabia Omer III, YD 4) shows some of the weaknesses of the minhag and says that it was not accepted bySefardic poskim.
Some important poskim understood that the prohibition is not so much not to use a formerly milchig utensil for fleishig, but rather not to kasher autensil for that purpose. Consequently, if one kashered a utensil in order to prepare it for Pesach, he can change from milchig to fleishig (Shut Chatam Sofer, YD 110). Similarly, if the utensil became treif and is kashered, then it can be changed as well (Pri Megadim on Magen Avraham, ibid.).
Harav Moshe Feinstein z.t.l. suggests that if no recognizable taste remains in the utensil (i.e. after kashering or after 12 months of non-use), it might be permissible to change (Igrot Moshe OC I, 43). Others permit kashering fora new owner, who never used the utensil in a different manner and, thus, has no reason to make mistakes (see Darkei Teshuva 121:59). An interesting machloket exists on whether one can switch from milchig to pareve (Tzitz Eliezer 9:38). It is easier to be lenient when a pareve utensil accidentally becomes milchig (Darkei Teshuva, ibid.).
[The above is a brief survey of the topic and not a p’sak on any particular case].
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