Halacha for Sunday 12 Cheshvan 5779 October 21 2018

The Laws of Changing One’s Location During a Meal

The Basis of the Laws of Changing One’s Location During a Meal
The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (101b) states that if one changes one’s place during a meal, one must recite a blessing on the food once again. The Gemara adds that “this only applies if one changes location from house to house; however, if one changes from place to place, one need not recite the blessing over.” This implies simply that if one actually leaves the house one has begun eating in, for instance, if one goes to a neighbor’s house in the middle of one’s meal, one must certainly recite the Hamotzi blessing again. However, if one changes location in the same house, one need not recite the blessing over.

The Definition of “From House to House”
The Rishonim, nevertheless, disagree regarding the explanation of this Gemara: Does “from place to place” mean that one is permitted to move from one room to another in the same house during the meal or does this only refer to moving from one corner to another in the same room, however, moving from one room to another will be forbidden since this will be considered “from house to house”?

Moving From Place to Place in a Large Hall
All opinions agree that if one changes one’s location within the same room during the meal that one does not recite a new blessing on the food one is eating as long as one is able to see the original place one began eating. Even if one cannot see the place where one was eating originally because a closet or other object is blocking one’s view, it is still considered as though one is able to see one’s original place. The same law applies even in a large hall; as long as one is able to see the original place where one started eating, this does not constitute a change of location. It is indeed permissible for one to change one’s location from one place to another within the same room during the meal, for this is not considered a change of location.

Moving to Another Room or Another Apartment in an Apartment Building
If one wishes to move from one room to another or from a room to the attic (i.e. from a room on one floor to a room on another floor) during a meal, one should preferably not do so, for there are those that maintain that moving from one room to another is considered a change of location similar to moving from one house to another in which case one is obligated to recite another blessing on one’s food. Nevertheless, if one has already done so, one should not recite another blessing because of the rule, “When in doubt regarding a blessing, do not bless.” Since there are Rishonim who rule that one does not recite a new blessing when transferring from one room in the house to another, we must be concerned with their opinion and not recite another blessing. The same Halacha applies when one goes from one apartment to another in the same building that one should preferably not do so, but if one has, one should not recite another blessing, for some say that the law of moving from one apartment to another in the same building is equal to the law of moving from one room to another in the same house.

The Distinction Between a Different Apartment in the Same Building and a Different Room in the Same House
Nevertheless, there is a halachic difference between transferring from one room to another in the same house and transferring from one apartment to another in the same building, for in the former case, if one has in mind to move from one room to another at the beginning of the meal when reciting the blessing, it is permissible for one to do so later. However, regarding moving from one apartment to another in the same building, even if one has in mind to do so at the onset of the meal, it is still preferably forbidden for one to do so.

If one transfers from one house to another (actual houses not apartments) during the meal and there is a public domain passing between the two houses, one must certainly recite the Hamotzi blessing over on the meal one eats in the second house, for the Gemara clearly says that moving from house to house is considered an interruption and one must recite another blessing.

Summary: One may move from one corner to another within the same room during the meal; however, one may not move from room to room. If one did move to another room during the meal, one does not recite another blessing, for some maintain that only transferring from one house to another is considered an interruption. Nevertheless, if one has in mind to transfer from one room to another at the beginning of the meal, one is permitted to do so. If one moves from one apartment to another within the same apartment building, one likewise does not recite another blessing. It is nevertheless forbidden to do so, even if one intended to do so in the beginning of the meal. If one transfers to a different house which one must pass a public domain to reach, one must recite another blessing, for this constitutes an interruption according to all opinions.

In the next Halacha we shall discuss what kind of meal is subject to the laws of changing locations.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Searching for and Renouncing Chametz

The Laws of Searching for Chametz On the eve of the Fourteenth of Nissan, which will fall out this year (5779) tonight, Thursday night, one must search for Chametz by candlelight. The candle must be made of wax (or congealed paraffin oil, common nowadays) as per the enactment of our Sages. If one ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Elimination and Sale of Chametz

Elimination of Chametz On the morning of the 14th of Nissan, meaning this year (5779) which falls out on this coming Friday morning, one must eliminate Chametz before the last time to do so arrives. (In Jerusalem, the latest time for burning and renouncing Chametz is at approximately 11:20 AM and t......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation customarily follows this ord......

Read Halacha


Mentioning “Morid Ha’Tal” and “Barechenu”

The Amida Prayer during the Summer Months The first day of Pesach marks the end of the rainy season and as such, beginning from the Mussaf prayer of this day, “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is no longer mentioned in the Amida prayer. Instead, we say: “Ata Gi......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Matzah or a Meal on Erev Pesach and the Laws of Matzah

On the day of Erev Pesach (which is the 14th of Nissan), one may not eat Matzah so that one will be able to eat Matzah that night at the Seder with appetite. One may, however, eat Matzah on the night of the 14th of Nissan (meaning the night before the Seder night, this year on Thursday night). &......

Read Halacha

“And You Shall Tell Your Son”

Question: Does one fulfill the Mitzvah of “And you shall tell your son” on the Seder night by recounting the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt to his daughters or does only one who tells this over to one’s sons fulfill this Mitzvah? Answer: The Torah states regarding the Mitzvah......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing of the Trees

The Proper Time for the Blessing of the Trees Our Sages, who have established the Blessing of the Tress, write that the proper time for this blessing is during the month of Nissan, for it is then that trees begin to blossom and buds come forth. It would seem from the words of our Sages though that ......

Read Halacha