We've spent the last few classes discussing the rules of shinuy makom, the circumstances in which a bracha that terminates due to a change in location. In this class, we'll learn of instances when a bracha remains in effect even after making a shinuy makom.

Someone Remains at the Table

A shinuy makom necessitates a new bracha because leaving the location implies that the "eating session" is finished. If, however, other people remain at the table, then the "eating session" continues, and upon returning you may continue to eat without saying a new bracha. As long as someone remains at the table, all of your brachot are still in effect.1

Let's say that you and your wife are sitting down to a cup of coffee, and you go outside to bring in the newspaper. Even though you left the house, which is a shinuy makom, you would not say a new bracha when you resume drinking your coffee. Since your wife is still sitting there, your drinking session never came to an end, and your bracha is still valid.

What would happen if, while you were away, the others terminated their eating session by saying a bracha achrona? In that case, a new bracha is necessary when you return to the original location.2 Even if the people are still sitting there, there is no longer a continuation of the eating session, and a new bracha is required.

What if you are eating together with a group of people, and while you were away, everyone except for one person either left or said a bracha achrona? In that case, as long as one of your original group is still at the table (and hasn't yet said a bracha achrona), the eating session is still in effect and there is no need to say a new bracha upon your return.3

There is an additional factor to consider: This "connection" only applies when people are actually eating together, i.e. in a "joint eating session." If people just happen to be eating at the same time in the same place, then your leaving will constitute a full-fledged shinuy makom.4

Mike is eating alone in a crowded school cafeteria. He leaves the building for a minute to make a phone call. That constitutes a shinuy makom – even though when he returns there are still hundreds of other people eating in the same place – since Mike was not "eating together" with those people.

Shinuy Makom Does Not Apply to All Foods

Now let's talk about foods to which the rules of shinuy makom do not apply.

As we've mentioned in previous classes, a bracha is not only required before consuming food or drink, but also after eating and drinking. Sometimes, the halacha requires that the "after-bracha" (called a bracha achrona) be recited in the same place that you ate. This means that if you were to leave the place where you ate without saying a bracha achrona, you are required to return to that place and say a bracha achrona.5

Paradoxically, this "stringency" creates a concurrent "leniency": Since you must go back to that place again, the halacha considers it as if you are still connected to your original eating session – and no shinuy makom has taken place.6

So the rule is: any food that requires a bracha achrona in the location where you ate is not affected by a shinuy makom.

To further understand, let's discuss which foods require a bracha achrona in the place where you ate, and which do not. There are three types of bracha achrona:

  • Birkat Hamazon, said after eating bread
  • The Three-Faceted Blessing, said after mezonot foods, wine, and the seven species
  • Borei Nefashot, said after all other foods

Let's start with the easiest one first: The bracha achrona of Borei Nefashot does not need to be said in the same location where you ate. Therefore, when eating such foods, leaving a place will be considered a shinuy makom.7

Mike was on his lunch break eating an apple in a public park. He neglected to say a bracha achrona, and when he got back to his office he wanted to eat another apple. Because there was a shinuy makom, Mike needs to say a new bracha Ha'aitz.

Bread

The bracha achrona on bread, Birkat Hamazon, must be said in the place where the bread was eaten.8 Therefore, the rules of shinuy makom do not apply to a bread meal.9

This means that if you leave your place in the middle of a bread meal, you may continue eating – either in the new location or back in your original location – without saying another bracha. This only applies, however, if at the time you began the meal you had in mind to continue eating elsewhere. Furthermore, in such a case, any foods covered by Birkat Hamazon on the bread will not require a new bracha.10

Mike's neighbor asks him to pop in for a visit during Shabbat lunch. Mike can say Hamotzee at home to begin the meal, while having in mind to continue eating elsewhere. Then, there is no problem leaving home and continuing to eat at the neighbor's without reciting a bracha.

However, keep in mind that this only works with a bread meal. If you sit down to eat an apple at home, it would not help you to have in mind for this bracha to "cover" more apples at another location.11

Mezonot and Seven Species

There is a special bracha achrona – M'ain Shalosh (the Three-Faceted Blessing) – that is said after eating mezonot foods,12 wine, and the seven species. Regarding the rules of shinuy makom, this is a bit of an in-between case, as we'll now see:

Like Birkat Hamazon, M'ain Shalosh should be said in the location where you ate.13 It follows, then, that the rules of shinuy makom do not apply to these foods as well. Since you must return to your original location to say a bracha achrona, you remain "connected" to that original place, and leaving that place is not considered a termination of your eating session.

There are, however, opinions who maintain that M'ain Shalosh does not have to be said in the same location where you ate.14 Accordingly, the rules of shinuy makom would apply to mezonot foods, wine and fruits of the seven species.

Practically, what this means is that you should try not to make a shinuy makom when eating these types of foods.15 If you must change locations, it is preferable to first say a bracha achrona before leaving, and then recite a new bracha before eating in the new location.16 If you have already changed locations without saying a bracha achrona, then you should not recite a new bracha before continuing to eat.17

Dan is snacking on some pretzels and his son calls him to come outside to play ball. Before leaving the house, Dan should say a bracha achrona. Then, once outside, he should say a new bracha Mezonot before eating more pretzels.

Minimum Quantity

The exemption to the rules of shinuy makom applies only when you eat at least a kezayit18 of food in the original location. Since eating less than a kezayit does not require a bracha achrona, once you leave the original location, nothing connects you back there, and the act of leaving terminates your eating session.19

Better Not to Leave

Although one who changes places during a bread meal is allowed to continue without a new bracha, it is always better not to leave your original location without first saying a bracha achrona. This is a safety measure against forgetting to say a bracha achrona altogether, or allowing the time limit to elapse, after which one can no longer say a bracha achrona. Therefore, it is generally required to say a bracha achrona before leaving the premises.20

There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. If you are leaving for a very short time, e.g. going outside to get the mail. In this case, since you are returning immediately, there is no reason to suspect that you will forget to return.21
  2. If, when you originally said Hamotzee, you had in mind to continue eating bread in a second location, then you may leave without saying a bracha achrona.22

So if you're attending a kiddush after Shabbat morning services, and you don't want to start the meal again when you get home, you can simply eat a kezayit of bread (not just cake)23 at the kiddush, having in mind to continue eating when you get home.

Please note that many of these rules are discussed further in class #36 that deals with the laws of bracha achrona.

Review

Congratulations! This completes the rules of shinuy makom. Let's take a few moments to review the many halachot that are involved in this subject.

1. Moving from one place to another within the same room does not constitute a shinuy makom.

2. Leaving or entering a building does constitute a shinuy makom.

3. When moving from room to room within a building, it is best to have in mind to do so at the time when you say the bracha, or to make sure that you can still see the room where you said the bracha. However, even if neither of these conditions is met, a new bracha is not said.

4. For someone who normally changes rooms during an eating session, doing so does not constitute a shinuy makom. Similarly, going into a room that is normally entered during a meal (e.g. kitchen or bathroom) is not considered a shinuy makom.

5. If you leave the building and can still see your original location, no new bracha should be said, unless:

  • you passed through a public area, or
  • at some point along the way, you lost sight of the original location

6. A balcony with a roof is like another room within the house.

7. Moving from one apartment to another is a shinuy makom; moving from room to room within a dormitory is not.

8. When eating outdoors, an enclosed area is considered like one large room. Leaving such an area, however, is a shinuy makom.

9. If you're eating in an open outdoor area, have in mind to move from place to place, or make sure your original location is still in sight. If not, a new bracha is necessary.

10. The rules of shinuy makom do not apply:

  • when eating in transit
  • if someone (who ate together with you) remains behind, and has not yet made a bracha achrona
  • if you are eating a bread meal

11. When consuming mezonot, wine, or fruits of the seven species, try not to make a shinuy makom without first saying a bracha achrona. If you did, no new bracha is recited.


  1. Orach Chaim 178:2, with Mishnah Berurah 18, 27; Sha’ar Hatziyun 178:1, 14
  2. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 61
  3. Mishnah Berurah 178:14, 27; V’Zot HaBracha pg. 61
  4. Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv, cited in Halachos of Brochos, pg. 146, footnote 26.5; V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 61, citing V’Tein Bracha 146
  5. This will be explained in further detail in class #35.
  6. Rema – Orach Chaim 178:2; 184:1
  7. Orach Chaim 178:2, with Mishnah Berurah 26
  8. Rema – Orach Chaim 178:5
  9. Orach Chaim 178:2
  10. Mishnah Berurah 178:33, with Biur Halacha – s.v. V'achal
  11. Rema – Orach Chaim 178:1, with Mishnah Berurah 12
  12. except for rice, for which the bracha achrona is Borei Nefashot (Orach Chaim 208:7)
  13. Orach Chaim 178:5, 184:3
  14. Orach Chaim 178:5, 184:3
  15. Mishnah Berurah 178:45
  16. V’Zot HaBracha, ch. 6, sec. 2
  17. Mishnah Berurah 178:45
  18. literally a piece of food the size of an olive. This is a volume measurement equivalent to approximately the size of half a large egg in its shell. (In the times of the Talmud, olives were apparently much bigger than today.) This is estimated to be the volume of slightly less than one fluid ounce (30 cc).
  19. Mishnah Berurah 178:28
  20. Rema – Orach Chaim 178:2, with Mishnah Berurah 33
  21. Mishnah Berurah 178:34
  22. Rema – Orach Chaim 178:2, with Mishnah Berurah 33
  23. Orach Chaim 178:5; Mishnah Berurah 184:9