by R. Daniel Mann
Question: Sometimes I serve the same salad at a fleishig meal and again at a milchig meal. My daughter told me that her friend’s family does not do that. Is it okay?
Answer: The main source on such issues involves bread. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 89:4) rules (based on a Yerushalmi in Pesachim, cited by the Tur, YD 91) that between a dairy meal and a meat meal, one “must remove from the table the leftover bread which was eaten with the cheese.” The Beit Yosef, after citing these sources, quotes a Hagahot Oshri: “It is a choice mitzva in cases in which one ate cheese and wants to eat meat that he needs to remove from the table the bread and the food that came to the table with the cheese, and then he can bring the meat and eat.” While the Beit Yosef does not cite anyone who argues, he also does not explicitly cite this second source in the Shulchan Aruch.
These sources greatly resemble your question (it is difficult to argue that one must remove such food from the table but can use it in a future meal if he ascertains it is clean). However, we must notice nuances and explore distinctions. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, YD I:38) notices that the Yerushalmi and Shulchan Aruch refer to “leftover” bread, which he takes to mean a piece of bread that was cut from the loaf and was eaten along with the fleishig food in his plate, or at least was intended to have been. Those pieces are more problematic than the rest of the loaf, which, even if it was sitting on the table, ready to be cut, still was separate from the food as it was being eaten. Therefore, Rav Moshe comes up with the following distinction – that which is cut off must not be eaten with the other type of food. Regarding the uncut remainder of the loaf, it is only a worthy stringency.
Rav Moshe does not address other foods that were on the table. There is halachic precedent to say that the stringency is only in regard to bread, as we find unique kashrut precautions in regard to bread. It is generally forbidden to bake a milchig loaf of bread because one must be concerned that he will eat it with meat; if he does bake milchig bread, it is forbidden to eat it at all (Shulchan Aruch, YD 97:1). The Siftei Da’at (ad loc. 1) posits that this halacha is just for bread because it is the foundation of classic meals. On the other hand, the Aruch Hashulchan (YD 89:15) extends the recommendation to remove all of the food from the milchig table and claims that this is the minhag. It makes sense that Rav Feinstein would agree, considering that the Beit Yosef/Hagahot Oshri, which is the basis of his distinction between required and recommended, refers to all foods on the table.
The Badei Hashulchan (89:(209)), while mentioning a dissenting view, accepts Rav Moshe’s leniency regarding the remaining loaf, to which we will now add support (not a full proof). One of the exceptions to the prohibition on milchig (or fleishig) bread is if the loaf is small enough to be expected to be finished in one meal because it is then less likely a mistake will occur (Shulchan Aruch, YD 97:1). This implies that in the standard Talmudic case, one loaf was used for more than one meal. Yet, in that standard case, if the bread is pareve, it is not considered a problem, even though often one meal will be milchig and one fleishig. Apparently, the only serious problem is when there is actual contact between the pareve bread and food of one type.
In a place without a clear minhag to not reuse the salad at the different type meal, it is logical to be pragmatic and subjective, a direction the Badei Hashulchan (89:99) embraces. If at the table, every salad has a serving utensil, people do not reach in to the salad bowl with soiled hands or their personal flatware, and they do not let the serving utensil touch their plate, one can be lenient to reuse the salad. When people are not careful (facemasks are not necessary ☺), it makes more sense (although not a full halachic requirement) to follow the stringent opinion/minhag.