General Laws of Traveling

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Types of Trips

  1. Before traveling, one should be sure these travels will not cause a compromise of halakhic laws. Under most circumstances, it would seem as though one cannot travel to a place where he/she will not be able to fulfill one’s halakhic obligations.[1] However, some poskim assume that if the only mitzvah that will be missed is tefillah betzibur, one can still make such a trip[2] especially for the purpose of doing a mitzvah or business.[3]
  2. Normally, one is not allowed to place oneself in a dangerous situation,[4] and so traveling to a dangerous place or using a dangerous method of transportation should not be allowed. However, it is very hard to know what is considered dangerous enough to be prohibited, and so activities or places that normal people do not avoid due to the danger are considered permissible.[5] A certain amount of personal risk is also allowed to be incurred for the purpose of making a parnassa.[6]
  3. One is not allowed to leave Eretz Yisrael[7] except for the purposes of marriage, learning or teaching Torah[8] to to make a living, [9] and to honor one’s parents.[10] The same is true for performance of a mitzvah, and perhaps even visiting friends.[11]
  4. There is a prohibition to move to Egypt,[12] but most assume that this does not apply to visiting Egypt.[13]
  5. A wife has a right to demand that her husband not undertake a particular trip, even if he says he must do so for business.[14]
  6. A student should ask permission from his teacher before embarking on a trip[15] even if traveling for the purpose of a mitzvah.[16]

Preparing for a Trip

  1. One should not travel without his tefillin.[17]
  2. Before traveling, one must make sure that he or she has enough food and water for possible delays, as well as water for the purposes of hand washing.[18]
  3. It is a good practice to give charity both before embarking on a journey, and to take some money to give to charity once one arrives.[19]
  4. One should ensure that his or her traveling plans will not involve violations of halakha. However, most poskim say that a kohen does not need to check if a plane’s path will be flying over gravesites.[20]

While Traveling

  1. It is important to learn Torah while traveling.[21]
  2. When traveling through an area that is considered to be more dangerous for Jews than non-Jews, then one may dress as a non-Jew, provided that one is not violating a prohibition (of kilayim, etc.) by doing so.[22] Some say that this is true even when traveling in an area that is not known to be specifically more dangerous for Jews.[23]

Sources

  1. Cf. Pri Megadim, Eishel Avraham 640:15 and Shut Igros Moshe III O.C. 93 regarding the mitzvah of Sukkah, and Avnei Nezer O.C. 321 regarding escaping one’s obligation in general
  2. Chavos Yair 115. Halichos Shelomo Tefillah 5:4 (pg. 61) writes that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach thought that it was permitted to travel for pleasure to a place without a minyan, as does R. Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe O.C. 2:27, but R. Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg’s comment in Halichos Shlomo on Tefillah pg. 358 permits it
  3. Halichos Shelomo ibid. Shevet Ha’Levi 6:21:3, Ishei Yisroel 12:2
  4. Shabbos 32b, Rambam Hilchos Rotzeach Chapter 11, Shulchan Aruch C.M. 427:8 and Y.D. 116, see also Mesilas Yesharim Ch. 9
  5. Shut Minchas Shelomo 2:37, see also Shut Binyan Tzion 137 and Shut Chasam Sofer Y.D. 338
  6. Shut Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat 104
  7. Rambam Hilchos Melachim 5:9, Chachmas Adam Shaar Mishpetei HaAretz 11:14
  8. Rambam Hilchos Melachim 5:9, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 342:1, Pe’as Hashulchan 1:11
  9. Rambam Hilchos Melachim 5:9, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 342:1, Pe’as Hashulchan 1:11
  10. Tashbetz 3:288
  11. Shut Tzitz Eliezer 10:42, Mishnah Berurah 531:14 and Magen Avraham 531:7
  12. Rambam Hilchos Melachim 5:8
  13. Sanhedrin Yerushalmi 10:8, Shut Radvaz 4:73
  14. Shulchan Aruch E.H. 76:5
  15. Rama Y.D. 242:16
  16. Kaf Hachayim O.C. 110:17
  17. Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 110:5, Mishnah Berurah O.C. 110:20
  18. Kaf Hachayim 110:23
  19. Sefer Chassidim 1056, Kaf Hachayim 110:27
  20. Shut Betzel Hachachmah 2:82, Tzitz Eliezer 12:62:10, Mishneh Halachos 9:226
  21. Eliyah Rabbah 110:8, Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 110:15, Kaf Hachayim 110:24
  22. Bach Y.D. 147
  23. Shach Y.D. 147