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I've been to a few shuls on Shabbat morning where the rabbi recites Kiddush in the shul from the bimah. After that, the congregation proceeds to the Kiddush room to eat. Is this halachically permissible?

My understanding of the problems and confusion:

  • One should not eat prior to hearing Kiddush
  • Kiddush must be made in a makom se'udah (place where you will have the meal)
  • The shul is not where people will be eating. It's in a different room.
  • My understanding of the term "se'udah" is that it requires a bracha of "hamotzi". In most cases, bread is not served at the Kiddush. However, it seems that people eat a sufficient amount of cake that it may require washing and "hamotzi", though, I haven't seen people following this rule.
  • Based on the last item, perhaps, there is no "makom se'udah" involved here. That, may question the effectiveness of the Kiddush in the first place.
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    Side note about physical makom. I saw a synagogue which had a removable wall in the back which separated the davening space and the eating space. What kind of a wall or divider or distance impacts "makom"? – rosends May 1 at 13:59
  • A Rebbe of mine learns the Gemara which says that בית לבית doesn't qualify for קידוש במקום סעודה, but מקום למקום in the same house does, as saying even in different rooms in the same building, regardless of how big the building is. A different Rebbe of mine interprets בית לבית as meaning from room to room, and מקום למקום as meaning from one part of a room to another part of the same room; changing rooms, even if you don't change houses, disqualifies it as במקום סעודה. There's definitely room to argue either way. – DonielF May 1 at 19:05
  • Maybe that the Kiddush room and the Bet Hakneset are at the same place, to change room. – kouty May 2 at 11:54
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The Beur Halacha says that beshaas hadechak, in pressing circumstances, when you make kiddush you can have in mind to eat in another room in the same building. He concludes that if you can see the other room, then in all circumstances it's fine, so long as you had in mind to eat there.

My guess has always been that in certain shuls the Rabbi is concerned that once people reach the kiddush room they will start eating right away, before hearing kiddush. That, or they won't hear the kiddush as everyone will be talking. They therefore feel compelled to make kiddush in the shul, where (hopefully) everyone is paying attention and can more easily hear.

Kiddush bemakom seudah is satisfied with mezonos, such as cake (SA OC 273:5 with Magen Avraham), which most shul kiddushes provide.

  • Thanks. I'll have a view at those sources. I didn't know the part re mezonot. Again, it does put to question whether most people should be washing for the cake, anyway, as I stated above. – DanF May 1 at 14:08
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    It's clear from the Magen Avraham that I quoted and the others in that seif that you only need a kezayis. The SA also sounds that way, that you just need enough for a bracha achrona – robev May 1 at 14:11

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