Shkoiach for your excellent insights on waiting 6 hours between Milchig and Fleishig.
I have a couple of questions:
1. You mention it but do not explain why Yiden of German origin wait only 3 hours. What is the reason?
2. Apparently people of Holland only wait one hour. What is the reason for this variation of the Minhag?
3. Some poskim apparently discuss kulos of waiting less than 6 hours on Shavuos. Who are they and what is their reasoning?
1. The reason is not recorded in any of the Poskim, and the Minhag itself is mentioned only in passing in the Chayei Adam.
However, R' Avigdor Feintuch wrote to us:
>>I once asked Rav Schwab zt'l [the leader of the Adas Yeshurun community] of Washington Heights for the reason for the minhag. He told me that they customarily [in Germany] ate 5 meals a day. He said that when he came home from school his mother used to give him a roll to wash on. Therefore the spacing between meals was only three hours.
However all the rabbonim waited 6 hours as per the Shach.<<
2. People of Holland have the Minhag to follow the opinion cited by the REMA ("the widespread practice in these countries...") to wait only one hour. The basis for this practice, as described by Rav Aharon Pfeuffer zt'l (in KITZUR HILCHOS BASAR V'CHALAV), is the view of TOSFOS who maintains that it is permitted to eat milk immediately after eating meat, as long as the meat Se'udah is concluded and a new Se'udah is started (and the mouth is rinsed and washed). The extra hour, Rav Pfeuffer explains, is a stringency based on the Zohar that we cited in the Insights.
3. I'm not familiar with this discussion. If I find anything on the topic, I will let you know.
The Poskim do discuss the difference on Shavuos regarding waiting to eat meat after eating dairy. The PRI MEGADIM (Mishbetzos Zahav 89:3) writes that even according to those opinions that are stringent and require waiting one hour after eating dairy before eating meat, on Shavuos they agree that one may be lenient and finish the dairy meal, recite Birkas ha'Mazon, and begin the meat meal immediately afterwards.
See Darkei Tshuvah Y"D 89 Ois 19.
>>1. The reason is not recorded in any of the Poskim, and the Minhag itself is mentioned only in passing in the Chayei Adam.<<
I have seen brought (in Artscroll Gemoro) a reference to Darchei Teshuva who brings this.
Also, it is apparently brought in Rabbeinu Yerucham (a Rishon), but somewhere at the back (milu'im or something like that). If anyone finds an exact reference I would be grateful. (A scanned copy of the text would be even better!)
Darchei Teshuvah was after the Chayei Adam.
Rabbenu Yerucham in Isur Veheter at the back, (I think ois 39) does quote three hours waiting, though it is a bit out of place and many say there are many mistakes in Rabbenu Yerucham.
As far as I remember, the citation from Rabeinu Yerucham was based on a questionable Girsa in his text; there appears a "Gimel" (3 hours) in the text where he appears to have written a "Vav" (6 hours).
The Mishna Brura (494:16) says that so long as you don't eat hard cheese, there is no need to bentch between the milchig and fleishig meals. The Rama (494:3) and the Mishna Brura (494:14) seem to be implying that in fact you are supposed to have milchigs and fleishigs without bentching in between - otherwise, how do you understand the analogy of the two challos (one for the milchig meal and one for the fleishig meal) to the Shtei HaLechem and to the Korban Pesach and Korban Chagiga? Clearly the Shtei HaLechem were brought together and the Korban Chagiga and Korban Pesach could be eaten at the same meal.
Yasher Ko'ach for pointing that out to us. The Mishnah Berurah does say that it is not necessary to recite Birkas ha'Mazon, as long as one clears away the table of all meat food, brings a new Chalah, and washes out his mouth (and hands if necessary). It also seems clear that the Mishnah Berurah is saying that this is the Halachah all the time with regard to eating meat after milk, and not just on Shavuos.
Accordingly, it seems that the Mishnah Berurah is not following the views that incorporate the Zohar that we mentioned into the Halachah. Even the most lenient way of reading the Zohar understands "in the same meal" to require Birkas ha'Mazon as a way of separating between meals (just as Mar Ukva's statement in the Gemara here is understood by the Poskim). If, however, we do not follow the Zohar at all (or we understand that it is referring only to eating dairy *after* meat), then it is not necessary to recite Birkas ha'Mazon as the Mishnah Berurah says.
On this Halachah in Orach Chaim, the KAF HA'CHAYIM (OC 494:61) also says that it is not necessary to recite Birkas ha'Mazon if one does not eat Gevinah Kashah. However, he quotes the Sheyarei Keneses ha'Gedolah who writes, "Even though I am among those with the practice not to eat cheese and meat at the same Se'udah [in contrast to the Mishnah Berurah's words and consistent with the Zohar], nevertheless, to fulfill the custom of eating dairy and meat on Shavuos day, I eat dairy food with honey first, then I recite Birkas ha'Mazon, and afterwards, after an hour, I eat meat." This was also the practice of the Shelah and others. Obviously, each person should follow his own accepted tradition.
Note that the Mishnah Berurah later quotes the Pri Megadim who says that one should not be any more lenient with any of the laws of Basar v'Chalav on Shavuos that at any other time of the year.
It is our tradition that the three hours of the german jewry comes from Mar Ukba, who says [105a] that he eats dairy in the next meal. Germany, being affluent during certain periods, were in the habit of eating as many do nowadays - diet notwithsstanding: an early breakfast, 10 o'clocks, lunch, five o'clock, and supper - pretty close to every 3 hours. Three hours then is the standard shiur of 'leseudata aharina'.
My son married into a very Hareidi family and asked should he change to 6 hours, and the [Litvak] Rav told him that he should retain his minhag of three hours.
Although I know of people who were told to change to waiting 6 hours (possibly based on the language of the Rema), in the introduction to sefer Shoroshei Minhag Ashkenaz (a very interesting sefer that discusses many long-standing minhogim in great depth), he brings a story where someone who used to wait 3 hours asked Rav Shach z'l if he should change to 6 hours, and was told to keep his minhag.