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This article delves into some details on what constitutes "eating together" for the requirement of zimun. I see that there is a dispute regarding what happens when some people leave in the middle or others join at the end.

Let's say you have a group of 10 people travelling in 2 cars that follow each other constantly - 5 in each car. All 10 people stop at a rest stop, wash hands, and are about to sit together at a picnic table when they see a funnel cloud in the distance. They jump in their cars, and since they made the bracha for washing hands, they eat bread in the cars.

About an hour later, they meet again at another rest stop. They don't eat anything, there.

Can they make a joint 10 zimun saying Elokenu? (They washed together and had intent to begin together and they are one "group") Or, should each group of 5 make their own "3-person" zimun while riding in the car?

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    Re "when they see a funnel cloud in the distance. They jump in their cars": usually not smart. See e.g. emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/during.asp, spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html, bigthink.com/praxis/why-people-die-trying-to-outrun-tornadoes – msh210 Nov 25 '15 at 19:35
  • @msh210 I haven't read the link, but, I have studied and follow quite a bit about meteorology to know that it's not smart to outrun a tornado. However, even the National Weather Service recommends that you should try to drive parallel or in the opposite direction of the storm's movement. In my scenario, assume that's what the drivers did. – DanF Nov 26 '15 at 1:58
  • Could get complicated. "About" an hour - more or less than 72 minutes? Could they (still within the time limit of "seudah") share a small piece of bread and then make a minyan zimmum? Would it be sufficient to share any food? – Epicentre Nov 26 '15 at 6:26
  • @Epicentre for purposes of this discussion, assume that there is no food around, which is why I stated "they don't eat anything". I'm uncertain about the 72 minute factor that you questioned. Please explain why that matters. – DanF Nov 27 '15 at 15:17
  • I learnt (can't source offhand) that this is a limit for a meal with bread without actually eating during which you can bentch. – Epicentre Nov 27 '15 at 16:04
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+100

The 'eating together' that binds a group together for Zimmun would have to be eating. Preparing for the meal together, or performing any pre-meal prerequisites/rituals (such as washing hands) is not any form of kvius.

Two groups of people who eat even in the same house (which two cars do not fit that description), can only be mitztaref for Zimmun if they could see each other.

In two separate houses (which is the equivalent of two cars), the Shulchan Aruch rules that they may join together if they can see each other, provided that the Reshus Harabim does not divide between the houses.

Therefore, the street between the two cars will invalidate the Zimun.

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