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Milky Knife and Meaty Onions

I was frying onions in a clean aino ben yomo meaty pan, and after about five minutes I took out a knife to stir them, as some were starting to burn. I took it out of the drawer and checked to make sure it was clean. After stirring i realized that I used a milky knife. What needs to be kashered? Is everything assur because of davar charif?


The knife, provided it is actually milky (it was used for hot milky dishes), requires hag’alah. The onions themselves (if the knife was not ben yomo), and certainly the pan, remain kosher (meaty).

Sources: After five minutes of frying, the strength of the onions is neutralized, and they no longer have the status of charif. Therefore, the milky knife, which came into contact with meaty onions (although it is not clear that onions are charif concerning eino ben yomo, this is not a case of hefsed in which one may sometimes be lenient), requires hag’alah. However, assuming that the knife was not ben yomo, after five minutes of frying the onions are not sharp enough to mend the taste in the knife, and the onions would therefore remain unaffected. This would apply to the pot even if the knife is ben yomo.

See (concerning onions after their cooking): Nachalas Shiva (61); Perim Megadim 108:9 and 96:1 (M.Z.); Yad Elimelech 94; Be’er Yaakov 103; some write that the halachah depends on our noticing that the sharpness has been weakened, but this is a safe assumption for onions after five minutes of frying. There is also a general safek about whether of not onions have the strength to mend the taste of eino ben yomo, and one may be lenient where there is an additional tziruf.Mi

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  1. kvod harav, if so, i don’t understand why the knife would need hagaalah! aren’t stam keilim, especially from drawers considered aino ben yomo? and it says it was checked for be’yn – and plus aren’t there opinions that are more lenient with a milky knife that it probably never cut hot milky food?
    if so, if everything else is ok, shouldn’t the knife also be, since you wrote that its not considered a davar charif?
    i am a bit confused.

    1. The knife requires hag’alah because the onions were davar charif when they were placed in the pan, and therefore became meaty. Although five minutes later they are no longer charif, they remain meaty, and their contact with a milky knife–even not ben yomo–creates a mixture of milky and meaty taste in the knife. Therefore, the knife requires hag’alah.

  2. but even so wouldn’t it be a nat bar nat? – if they are not a davar charif – then their current status is like that of macaroni with meaty (possibly aino ben yomo) bleeyos which shouldn’t transfer to an aino ben yomo knife? also the pot doesn’t maintain ben yomo status so why should the onions?

    1. I have had a lengthy discourse on this subject with Rabbi Yehuda Spitz, whose opnion–like yours–is that the knife would not require hag’alah. The way Chochmas Adam (48:16) understands the ruling of Shach (Yoreh De’ah 95:7 and 122:2) implies that taste within a davar charif, though it becomes “ben yomo,” does not have the potency to transfer to a pot or utensil on a “ben yomo” level, and the beliyah would therefore remain nat bar nat. This is confirmed by a passage of Mishmeres Shalom (96:5), who understands that once the food has ceased to be charif, it will no longer transfer the taste as taam shevach, even though it absobed the taste as a davar charif. (Mishmeres Shalom understands this to be the opinion even of Peri Megadim, unlike Pischei Teshuvah). See also Chavas Daas 96:4 (biurim). Therefore, in light of these rulings, the knife would not require hag’alah.

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