> Judaism 101 > Jewish Law > Laws of Blessings (Adv.)

28. Leaving the House

October 27, 2015 | by Rabbi Shraga Simmons and Rabbi Yair Spolter

Walking outside implies a cessation of this eating session.

The previous class began our discussion of shinuy makom, changing locations after you start eating. Let's review some basic principles that we learned so far:

  1. Moving from one side of a room to another does not constitute a shinuy makom. Therefore, you may continue eating without saying a new bracha.
  2. Moving from room to room: You should only do so if you either: a) had in mind to move when you started eating, or b) you can see your original location from the second room. However, if you did change rooms without fulfilling either of these conditions, you should nevertheless not say a new bracha.

Keeping these basic rules in mind, we will now learn more practical applications of shinuy makom.

Leaving the House

Walking outside of your house implies that you have stopped this eating session, and is therefore considered a shinuy makom. This is true whether you go out to the street, or even simply walk out to your own backyard. As soon as you leave the building where you started eating, you've made a shinuy makom and a new bracha is necessary if you want to continue eating.1

This is true whether you want to continue eating outside, or even if you immediately come back inside to continue eating there. The mere act of leaving the house ends your original eating session, and terminates the original bracha along with it.

The reverse is true as well. If you began eating outside, and then walk into your house (or any other building), a new bracha is necessary if you want to continue eating.2

Continuing Outside with Original Location in Sight

In truth, this issue is a bit more complex. Recall in the last class, we learned that when moving from room to room in a house, if you can see the place where you began eating, then it connects you to that place and no new bracha is necessary. Some authorities apply this principle not only in regards to moving from room to room, but also in a case where you went completely outside of your house or even to another building. As long as you can still see your original location, they argue, there is no shinuy makom and you should not say a new bracha.3

Other opinions contend that leaving a building is automatically a shinuy makom, regardless of whether or not you can see the place where you began eating. Since this issue is unresolved,4 you should avoid getting into such a situation. However, if you did switch locations and your original location is still visible, no new bracha should be said.5

Mike is enjoying a tall glass of lemonade in his backyard. He hears the phone ringing, and goes inside to answer it, at a spot where he can still see the backyard. This is a situation of halachic dispute. The best approach is to finish drinking and then go inside. But if Mike forgot and went inside with the drink in his hand, he can keep eating without a new bracha.

Total Disconnect

There are two cases where all authorities agree that "seeing your original location" still triggers a shinuy makom:

  1. In the process of changing places, the view of your original place became obstructed (e.g. by a wall or shrubbery).6 For example, if you went into a backyard storage shed to do some work, you would need to say a new bracha.
  2. If you went through a public area when changing places.7 For example, you began eating an apple in your house, and then walked across the street to mail a letter. Even though you can still see your original location, you would need to say a new bracha before taking another bite of the apple, since by crossing the street you passed through a public area.

What about going from one apartment to another within the same building? That is considered a shinuy makom, even though you have not left the building. Since each apartment has a different owner, exiting one residence to the public hallway is the equivalent of going outside of a house to the street.8 The same is true of a hotel, where the individual rooms are "rented" to separate people.

In a dormitory, on the other hand, the entire building is considered "one house," since the rooms are all owned by a single institution.9 Moving from room to room in a dormitory, therefore, is the equivalent of changing rooms within a house, which we discussed in class #27. To review:

  • It is preferable to have had in mind (while saying the bracha) to go to that other dorm room, or have your original place visible from where you want to continue eating.
  • However, in the absence of these factors, you should still not say a new bracha.10

A Balcony

Now let's consider an intermediate case. If you are in the middle of eating and you go out to a balcony, is that considered like leaving the house, or simply changing rooms?

The answer depends on whether or not the balcony has a roof.

  • A balcony that is covered by a roof is considered like one of the rooms of the house.11 Thus you should preferably either: a) have in mind to move when you start eating, or b) can see your original location from the balcony. But if you did go to the balcony without fulfilling either of these conditions, you should nevertheless not say a new bracha.

  • A balcony that does not have a roof (e.g. an open patio) is a matter of halachic dispute. In practice, when moving between the house and an open balcony, you need not say a new bracha. (An additional mitigating factor, such as the original place can be seen, makes it even more reasonable to consider that porch as another room in the house.12)

A Sukkah

A sukkah that is directly adjacent to your house is considered like a room in the house.13 Since entering the sukkah does not necessitate stepping outside, walking from the house to the sukkah (and vice versa) is like walking from one room in the house to another.

On the other hand, a sukkah that stands separate from your house is considered a separate domain. In this case, leaving your house in order to get to the sukkah (and vice versa) is a full shinuy makom, and – even if you can see the original place – a new bracha is necessary in order to continue eating.14

This concludes class #28 on Hilchot Brachot. In the next lesson, we'll discuss eating outdoors, as it pertains to the rules of shinuy makom.

  1. Orach Chaim 178:1; Rema – Orach Chaim 178:2
  2. Mishnah Berurah 178:39
  3. Shulchan Aruch HaRav (OC 178:1); Chayei Adam 59:6
  4. Mishnah Berurah 178:12; see also Biur Halacha 178:1 (s.v. lepetach baito) and Mishnah Berurah 178:39
  5. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 58. See, however, The Laws of Brachos, pg. 189, which differentiates between simply leaving your house and leaving your own property completely.
  6. V’Zot HaBracha, pp. 58-59
  7. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 58
  8. Halachos of Brochos, pg. 139, citing Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach and Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv. See, however, V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 57 and The Laws of Brachos, pg. 190 which cite dissenting opinions, since both apartments are “under the same roof.”
  9. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 56
  10. Biur Halacha 178:1 – s.v. b'bayit echad
  11. Laws of Brachos, pg. 191
  12. The Laws of Brachos, pg. 191; Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv, cited in V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 57
  13. Mishnah Berurah 273:5; V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 58
  14. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 58


Leave a Reply

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram