Sorry to bother you again. I have looked but cannot find what I am after. Can you explain please how long we wait between milk and meat and why in other countries they don’t do the same. I have heard of Jews in Holland only keeping an hour before but it is deemed acceptable?
According to the actual Torah law, the only prohibition concerning meat and milk is actually mixing them–cooking the together, or eating a mixture.
However, authorities derive from Talmudic sources (see Chulin 105a) that there is a customary obligation to wait after eating meat, the reason being because of pieces of meat that remain between teeth (Rambam), or because of the lingering taste of meat in one’s mouth (Tur).
The time one has to wait is not elucidated in the Gemara, and different rulings and customs developed. Some rule that the prohibition applies only in the same meal, and beyond the meal it is sufficient to rinse out the mouth; others ruled that one must wait one hour, which is the source of the custom in Holland, and used to be the common custom in Ashkenaz; whereas the common ruling is that one must wait six hours, which is the approximate time between one meal and another (for the times of Chazal). Each person should act according to his custom, although the “default custom” is six hours.
I should add that it’s no bother, and please feel free to ask questions.
Sources: See Rema, Yoreh De’ah 89:1 (one hour); Shulchan Aruch, 89:1 (six hours); Shaarei Dura 76:2 9 (criticizing the “one hour” custom).