Travelling & Vacation – Ask Before You Go… – by The Pocket Halacha Series

When travelling on a journey Chazal instituted a special tefillah to be said when traveling through an area frequented by armed robbers or wild animals to protect him from those dangers. Although some Poskim only require it when travelling in real dangerous areas, most Poskim require it in any form of travel on any type of journey.[1]

In the Gemarah, this tefillah was actually a form of request to travel from Hashem, and one would actually ‘feel’ if one would be successful or not while saying the tefillah.

1.How long of a journey requires tefilas haderch to be said?
2.Chazal require one to recite this tefilla when leaving a city and travelling more than the distance of a parsa – 3.84km/2.4 miles (R’ C’ Noah) or 4.60km/2.9m (Chazon Ish).
•Women are also obligated in this tefilla.[2]
•Even one travelling for mitzvah purposes should say this tefilla.[3]
•One going boating, fishing or sightseeing on a boat and travels approximately three miles away from the city should also recite tefillas haderech.
•One going on a cable car (the required distance – see below) should also recite tefillas haderech.[4]

1.When should tefillas haderech be said?
2.It should be a said after one has left a distance of seventy amos (approx. 120 feet) past the last house in the city. If it was said too early, one has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation.[5]

•If one is travelling in a populated area the entire time, one does not recite this tefilla – unless it is a dangerous area.
•When travelling on a plane (if it wasn’t said on the way to the airport), it should be said on the runway as the plain takes off.[6] Some have the custom not to say tefilas haderech when flying.
•Since this tefillah doesn’t start with a “ברוך..” one should say it close to another beracha, such as after a beracha achrona or after asher yotzar after using the bathroom. If one isn’t able to do so, it may be said on its own as well.[7] Some Poskim don’t require this condition and allow it to be made at any time.

1.How many times a day must this beracha be said?
2.It is only said once a day, no matter how many times a person travels during that day.[8]
•If one is travelling continuously for a few days, it should be said each day (in this case one need not wait until he is 72 amos past the last house – see next question) provided one slept a proper sleep in the night.[9] When travelling at night and continuing the next day, it should be said at night when one starts the journey, and then the next day without the beracha at the end.[10]
•If one said tefilas haderech and along the way stopped travelling for a few hours, and continued on his way need not say it again.[11]
•One saying it on the way to the airport for example, should have intention to cover the flight also.[12]

1.What is the correct manner that it should be said?
2.If one is driving, it is always best to stop the car and say it, since all berachos should be made while standing in one place.[13] One need not leave the car. If one is travelling on a bus or train, its best to stand if possible.[14] If it is difficult to stand, it may be said sitting.[15]

1.Should each person make his own beracha, or one person should say it to exempt everyone else?
2.Although the minhag seems to be that one person says it for everyone,[16] some Poskim prefer that each person recites his own beracha.[17] It is best not to be said over a microphone.[18]

The Satmer Rebbe zt”l used to say one who goes on holiday should remember that although one may be leaving his home, one cannot leave Hashem. Have a Safe and Enjoyable Trip!

[1] Gemarah Berachos 29b.

[2] Levushei Mordechai Yora Deah 35.

[3] Sefer Ohlecha B’amisecho Chapter 9:6.

[4] Sefer Vayehi Binsoah Chapter 2 in the name of Rav Shamei Gross Shlita.

[5] Mishnah Berurah. Some have the custom of saying it in their house before leaving, others include it in shemonei esrei during ‘shema koleinu’.

[6] Shut Mishnei halachos siman 77.

[7] Shulchan Aruch.

[8] Mishnah Berurah 26.

[9] Mishnah Berurah.

[10] Shulchan Aruch and Mishnah Berura.

[11] Mishnah Berurah 5.

[12] Rav Y S Elyashiv zt”l.

[13] Shulchan Aruch 4.

[14] Levush, Aruch hashulchan 11.

[15] Mishnah Berurah 22.

[16] Aishel Avraham, Rav Y S Elyashiv zt”l.

[17] Mishnah Berurah 59:15.

[18] Shut Minchas Yitzchok 3:38:17.

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