In a message dated 5/19/2006 10:01:09 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
< The different customs of waiting between eating meaty foods and milky is
interesting one. I remember going to a series of lectures on Kashrut issues
and this very same question came up, the Rabbi suggested that English,
perhaps German & Dutch Jews might have traditionally had a milk based drink
at 11 the term elevenses and the English Jews would have certainly adopted
the English custom of afternoon tea at 4 taken with milk. >
==I think the custom goes back to many centuries before Englishmen poured
milk into their tea.
==the explanation I learned >from a rabbi in a series of lectures on Kashrut
was that meat e(even fowl) was a great luxury in Eastern Europe and usually
eaten only on Shabbat or festivals; but it was much more affordable in
Germanic countries, while the Dutch could afford it just whenever. Where meat was
a once-a-week affair, people could wait patiently for six hours to taste
milk; where it was enjoyed frequently, there was more of an inclination to
shorten the wait.
==The one-hour Dutch-Ashkenazi wait was almost certainly related to the
Sephardi halakha which required only a separation between meat and milk meals,
wwhich is the basic halakha in the matter as discussed in the Talmud which did
not impose a set wait; the suggested waiting time was propounded by
Ashkenazi rabbis in the respective regions, no doubt influenced both by the eating
customs of their Jews and their own views on how strict and demanding their
Jews expected their rabbis to be.
==Local custom played a part. In Germany it was customary among Jews and
gentiles to eat the main meal at noon.
==In the old days, milk was drunk by infants, children, nursing mothers and
the feeble. It was more commonly consumed as butter or cheese, and was
incorporated into meals. Drinking milk in tea or in coffee did not become common
until the twentieth century. Elevenses and afternoon tea would not have
influenced the waiting period in Vienna or Frankfurt. In any event, Jews variously
set no waiting period between milk and meat or limited it to half an hour or
an hour. Putting hypothetical milk into their hypothetical elevenses tea
would have no effect, therefore, on any meat consumed at the noon-time main meal.
Michael Bernet, New York