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Halachot of Berachot  

Location Change (Shinui Makom)

General Rules: If you change locations while eating, it is a form of interruption known as Shinui Makom, and would require you to make a new beracha (for beracha achrona see below with “crucial difference between Sephardim and Ashkenazim) if you wanted to eat more EITHER in this new place OR EVEN if you return to your original place.

What constitutes a change in location?

1. House to House: you have committed a definite shinui makom.

2. House to yard: This is also a shinue makom but since under the same ownership, it’s slightly lower in degree and the practical difference comes up within the exceptions (see below).

3. From Room to Room: There is a dispute among the poskim whether this transition entails a shinui makom or not. The Mishna Berura poskins that LeChatchila (“in the first place” – meaning the best way to do it) one shouldn’t move from room to room. If however one did (bedeved) then he wouldn’t make a new beracha. Some have the practice to be even more lenient in this regard and lechatchila move from room to room – and one shouldn’t argue with them since they have ample source upon which to rely.

4. Within a Room: You can go from corner to corner, even if the room is huge and you can’t even see that far, it still isn’t considered a location change.

Outdoors:

If the area is enclosed – then it has the status of “within a room” and you can go from one corner to the next even if you can’t see that far. By enclosed, I don’t mean a real concrete wall – even a row of short shrubs or a halachiac eruv would work. (Pischay Halacha 6:6 clarifies that the area must be owned by one guy or one entity and therefore a personal eruv would work, but not the town eruv.)

If it’s open (like in an open field, a forest or jungle) – then you can walk as far as you can see. Beyond that point it would be considered a location change. It doesn’t make a difference if the visibility is lost due to distance or a blocking object like a tree or ditch.  The logic is that the area is considered one place as long as you can see it from where you make the initial beracha. Even if there is a tree 5 feet away, you wouldn’t be able to go behind that tree because once you cut off visibility from the original place, you have performed a shinui makom.

Apartment to Apartment: same status as “leaving the house”

House to Balcony/Porch: If the area is covered then it’s like “room to room” if uncovered then it’s a dispute among the poskim if its like “leaving the house” or only “room to room” Therefore it’s best to avoid such a situation by either having prior intention or refraining from moving – but if one did then he wouldn’t make a new beracha.

Street to Taxi: same status as “room to room” and therefore best to have prior intention but if not then you wouldn’t make a new brocha.

Sukah to House: If the succah is touching the house and has a direct door into the house then it has the same status as “room to room” otherwise it’s like “house to house.”

The Exceptions

1. Prior Intent – If you have intention to move before you make the beracha, then you can move anywhere. You can even use this for the “house to house” category.” (Additionally, you don’t need express intent – as long as you habitually would do it then it would work.For example, if you’re eating in the dining room, but you always make trips into the kitchen or to the garage to get more food or whatever – then that would be sufficient. Additionally you don’t need explicit intent to go to the bathroom during a meal.)

Example: One could start eating bread in his house and have intent to later join a friend within walking distance. He can leave without making a beracha achrona and then continue eating at that house without a new beracha rishona. And then make one beracha achrona there.


2. Seeing – If you already moved, and now from where you are standing you can see the original place (we don’t mean exactly the original place but even part of the same room OR within 4 amot would suffice) then we would say he didn’t commit a shinui makom. This works for “house to house” and for "house to yard” only on a bidieved level.
(Limit – if there is a big street or a highway in between then it’s a shinui makom even if you can see)

Summary Chart for Exceptions 1 and 2

 

 House to House

 House to Yard

Room to Room

Prior Intent

Can be used lechatchila to prevent a shinui makom

Can be used lechatchila to prevent a shinui makom

Can be used lechatchila to prevent a shinui makom

Seeing

Can only be used bedeeved

Best to only use bedeevd

Can be used lechatchila to prevent a shinui makom

3. Brocha Achrona – If the foods you originally eat require a beracha achrona, and not only that, but they would require you to return for them even if you left by accident – then shiniu makom wouldn’t apply. Certainly bread falls into this description and some say any mezonot and some say foods of the Sivah Minim (7 species) / wine or grape juice.
It is important to note that you have to eat a kzayit (reviis for the wine) in the original place; otherwise you don’t have the obligation to return for the beracha achrona because there is no obligation to say a beracha achrona!
In terms of lechatchila and bidieved:  

  • For mezonot and 7 species – since there is a dispute, it should only be used bidieved. If you want to do it lechatchila then you should have prior intent.
  • For bread – It also shouldn’t be used lechatchila, since Chazal put a decree against moving in middle of a bread meal because perhaps you would tarry too long and the time limit would run out. However, Chazal permitted one to leave a bread meal with intention to return if he was going to do a mitzvah (like daven). Additionally, Chazal permitted one to leave a bread meal on condition he returns immediately even if not for a mitzvah (like escorting a friend). If for any other reason, he should go and therefore it wouldn’t work on a lechatchila level unless he had prior intent. The only time one can use exception 3 on a lechatchila level would be to interrupt a BREAD meal for a quick thing or for a mitzvah.

Summary:  Exception 3 barely adds any wiggle room on the lechatchila level. For the main part, the halacha would still prefer you have prior intent in addition, and thus its useless by itself.  On a bedieved level it adds a good amount. Even if you didn’t have prior intent and can’t see – as long as what you ate was a kazayit of bread, mezonot, 7 species then you wouldn’t make a new beracha in your new location.  
(One additionally thing – say you eat cake and fruit, obviously lechatchila you shouldn’t change locations, but bedieved you can continue eating in you new place without a new beracha for BOTH mezonot food and Ha’etz foods.)

4. Leaving members of your group while you leave – As long as one person remains behind (even a katon) and everyone else returns before the remaining guy got up, then they can all continue eating without making a new beracha. This works for any location change and even lechatchila.
Rules for exception 4:

  • The other members must be eating and can’t just be sitting there accompanying you.
  • It would work even for a non bread, non mezonot snack (like ice cream)
  • Also, it only works in this location but not in a different location. For example: if a guy left a group to go to his office and then comes back and at least one of the original guys he was eating with is still there and didn’t bentch yet – he can continue without a new beracha. However if he wants to eat in his office he will need a new beracha.

5. In transit – If one was eating while moving (walking or driving) since he never established an original location he isn’t committing a shinui makom. This works even if he can’t see the original place as long as he is still thinking about the food. This works even if you get held up for a bit, as long as you don’t sit down thinking “I’m going to stay here for a while” you are still considered in transit.

(This exception works on the principle of exception 1, since there is an obvious built in intention that you’re moving and that you’re not marking down any one specific location. But let’s say you started eating with intent not to go anywhere and then decided to get in the car and go somewhere. In this case, one would need to make a new bracha once in the car.

However, if you were continuously eating (food in mouth) while making the transition from original place to car you wouldn’t have to make a new brocha. But once you take a break – and you still have more food you want to eat, you would need to make a new beracha rishona. )

Examples:

  • If you are hiking you can make one shehakol on water and drink every once in while without making new Berachot.
  • If you buy ice cream in a store and you walk home with it you can continue eating the entire time and the first beracha in the store or on the street would work the entire time.
  • You could have even started eating while sitting in a taxi and when you got to the airport you can continue eating and when you get on the plane you can continue, all with one brocha. As long as you never forgot about the food. Note, that you couldn’t have taken a seat in the airport with intention of sitting for a while because if you do that becomes your original location and you wouldn’t be able to leave (without making a brocha achrona) unless you had prior intent that you would eventually continue eating on the plane.

 

Crucial difference between Sephardim and Ashkenazim

There are two and a half differences (one small, one big, and one possible difference).

One small: First off the Mechaber doesn’t hold of exception 3, only the Rema.

One big: In addition, the Mechaber views shinui makom as a total termination poskining like the Rambam while the Rema poskins like the Rosh and they view shinue makom as a Heseach Hada’as.

This makes a big difference when it comes to beracha achrona!

The Rema would say if one made a shinui makom, he would need a new beracha rishona (in his new location or even if he returned to the original place). But only a new beracha rishona, he would be able to make one beracha achrona at the very end and it would cover everything.

The Mechaber holds one would need to make a new beracha achrona and then a new beracha rishona and then a new beracha achrona.

One possible difference: some say that the Mechaber holds that exception 4 (leaving a guy at the table) only works with a bread or mezonot meal, but not for shehakol or ha’etz etc. However many disagree.

So What’s the halacha for Sephardim

 First off don’t worry about “the possible difference” since there are many poskim that disagree.

In terms of the big difference, the best thing is to avoid the situation. Don’t commit a shinui makom. Exceptions 1,2,4,5 still apply to Sephardim so try not to do a shinui makom. If however, you committed a shinui makom then out of difference to the opinion of the Rema, even Sephardim wouldn’t make 2 beracha achronas.

Therefore, bidiEved, Sephardim would hold just like Ashkenazim. Ironic, the big difference in the end didn’t make any difference and the small difference is the only real difference.

 


 

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