In the previous Halacha we have discussed the basic laws of changing one’s location during a meal. We have written that if one transfers from one house to another during one’s meal, such as going to visit one’s friend in the adjacent building, this transfer constitutes an interruption and one is obligated to recite a new blessing on the food one eats in the friend’s house.
We have also written that if one moves from one room to another in the same house during the meal, although one should preferably not do so, if one has done so, one does not recite another blessing on the food one is eating. However, if one had in mind to do so when he began eating, it is then perfectly acceptable to do so, as long as one is in one house.
To What Kind of “Meal” Do the Laws of Changing One’s Location Apply
We must point out that regarding all of the laws of changing one’s location during a meal, the Rishonim disagree whether these laws apply equally to anything one is eating or if it depends on the food one is eating. According to many Rishonim, it makes no difference if one was eating a full bread meal or merely some fruit; regardless, if one transfers from one house to another, one must recite another blessing. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules likewise in Chapter 178.
Nevertheless, the Rosh and other Rishonim write that the laws of changing location during a meal apply only to one who is eating fruit and the like; since one is leaving the place where one started his meal, one has thus concluded his meal and must recite a new blessing. However, if one is eating bread, since according to the law even if one has left one’s original location, one must return there to recite Birkat Hamazon, it is not sufficient for one to leave one’s original place in order for it to be considered that one has concluded his meal, for he must return to his original location in any event. Therefore, the Rosh rules that the laws of changing location only apply to foods that do not require the individual to return to the place he ate them in order to recite the after-blessing, such as fruit. However, regarding foods for which one must return to the original place he ate them in order to bless, such as bread, the laws of changing one’s location do not apply.
Halachically speaking, since we must be concerned with the opinion of the Rosh because of the rule “When in doubt regarding a blessing, do not bless,” one should not recite the Hamotzi blessing again, for one must return to the original place in any case in order to recite Birkat Hamazon. However, if one was eating fruits and then transferred to another house, one must recite another Ha’etz or Ha’adama blessing on what one eats there. (Nevertheless, since according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch there is no distinction between foods which require an after-blessing in the place they were eaten and foods which do not, a Sephardic individual who changed his location in the middle of a bread meal may recite Birkat Hamazon in his original location upon returning, after which he should recite the Hamotzi blessing once again and continue his meal.)
In the following Halacha we shall, G-d-willing, deal with some more details of this law.