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.

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