FAQ's on Tefilas Haderech
August 2, 2019
Beis Moshiach in #1176, Halacha 2 Go

A collection of relevant halachos regarding Tefilas Haderech and traveling from AskTheRav.com & Halacha2Go.com.

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

Saying Tefilas Haderech on a Plane

Tefilas haderech should be recited if a person travels at least a parsah (approximately 2.4 miles) past iburah shel ir (the outskirts of the city). Iburah shel ir is equivalent to approximately 108 ft. after the last house of the city. 

According to most poskim, this applies to travel by air as well. If the airport is beyond the limits of the city’s populated area, the tefilah should be said when traveling to the airport, after leaving city limits. If the airport is within the city limits, it should be recited on the plane; whether it can be said before takeoff—while technically still in the city—or one must wait until after takeoff is the subject of a dispute among halachic authorities. If the tefilah wasn’t recited at the first opportunity, it may be said throughout the flight until the moment of landing.

After landing, it may no longer be recited with Hashem’s name, unless the distance from the airport to the city of destination (where one will stay for the night) is at least a parsah. (Halacha2go.com #476*)

May One Recite Tefilas Haderech on Behalf of Others? 

It is important for all those who are traveling together to say Tefilas Haderech (the Traveler’s Prayer) simultaneously. In case there are not enough siddurim available, an option is for one of the travelers to recite Tefilas Haderech word by word, and for the others to repeat the words in unison. 

Some have the practice of one person saying the tefilah and being motzi (fulfilling the obligation of) all the others in the group. In order for one person to be motzi others, the following conditions have to be met:

1) The one saying the tefilah must have in mind to be motzi all the others.

2) The listeners have to bear in mind that they are being yotzei through the reader.

3) They must hear every word.

4) They may not hear the tefilah through a microphone. After the conclusion of the tefilah they all should answer amen.

Even if all the above conditions are met, it is nevertheless not the preferred manner. The right way is for every person to say Tefilas Haderech by themselves—but it should be said simultaneously.  (Halacha2go.com #377*, read more on this topic in Halacha #831: How to Heed: Participating in a Brachah)

Be the Best You Can Be:

Based on the pasuk (verse) in Mishlei, “Al timna tov m’baalav bih’yos l’el yadcha la’asos” (Do not withhold good from its rightful owner when you have the ability to do so), the Gemara instructs us: “Mih’yos tov, al tikarei ra” (If you can be good, don’t be called not good”). This reading of “al tikarei” (don’t be called)—a bid to act beyond reproach—is an emphasis of the Shaloh; with the usual pronunciation of the word “tikra,” the phrase would simply mean “don’t call it ‘not good’”—which is passive and undemanding).

 This principle encourages us to always choose the high road; if we have the option of doing something in a way that satisfies all halachic opinions without much difficulty, why would we choose to do it in a lesser manner?

 Several examples of the application of this pasuk are found in the Gemara, here we will bring just the one in connection with Tefilas Haderech: The preferred way to recite Tefilas Haderech (prayer for travelers) is in a standing position, although it is halachically acceptable to recite it while sitting. The Gemara tells us, “mih’yos tov”—to recite it standing whenever possible. (For other examples see the full article on Halacha2go.com #476*)

Is there an Inyan not to go on the first or last train car?

 To the best of my knowledge, there is no Torah source about this matter. It stems either from superstition, or the fact that some people think the first and last car in the train are less safe in the event of a collision. The facts, however, are that most accidents from train rides are associated with derailment rather than collisions. See here and here. (See full article for links to scientific articles explainig how the front train car is no less safe than others).

It’s best not to try to outsmart the system and rely on Hashem while taking proper safety precautions and always traveling as per Torah guidelines: learning Torah on the way, reciting Tefilas Haderech where relevant and taking along Seforim and a Tzedaka Pushka. (AskTheRav.com #2958*)


* References and marei mekomos are available for this Halacha on the websites: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

Please note that these halachos apply in general situations. In unique circumstances, a different halacha may apply. If you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rov.

Short Q&A’s

“The custom of the Rebbe Rashab was to say Tefilas Haderech every day he was away from home without Hashem’s name.” (See HaYom Yom 19 Tammuz).

Q. Do we omit ä’ àìå÷éðå åàì÷é àáåúéðå and say éäé øöåï ùúåìéëðå, or only omit Hashem’s name at the end?

A. Read everything regularly up     until the end where you say:  “ברוך אתה שומע תפילה”.

Q. Is there a specific time to say it? After Davening?

A. Right after Shachris.

Q. Does one say it on Shabbos?

A. Don’t say Tefilas Haderech on Shabbos. (AskTheRav.com #3804*).

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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