Tefillat HaDerech

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Obligation and Text

  1. Someone who goes on a trip whether by foot, car, train, or airplane should say Tefillat HaDerech. [1]
  2. One who travels on the path should say Tefillat HaDerech (prayer for traveling) with the following text:

יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שתוליכנו לשלום, ותצעידנו לשלום, ותסמכנו לשלום, [ואם חוזר בו ביום יוסיף: ותחזירנו לשלום] ותצילנו מכף כל אויב ואורב בדרך, ותשלח ברכה במעשי ידינו, ותתננו לחן לחסד ולרחמים בעיניך ובעיני כל רואינו, [כי אתה שומע תפלות עמך ישראל ברחמים] ברוך אתה ה' שומע תפלה . [2]

What Kind of Trip Requires Tefillat HaDerech?

  1. According to some poskim, one should recite Tefillat HaDerech only if one is nervous about the trip. [3] Other poskim maintain that one should recite it regardless of whether one is nervous. [4]
  2. Ashkenazim hold that when one travels a distance of 8000 Amot from one city to another city, one recites Tefillat HaDerech only if there is no city within 16,000 Amot along the path one is traveling. If there is a continuous line of cities along the way within 16,000 Amot from the city where one departed one should say Tefillat HaDerech without reciting Hashem’s name in the bracha. [5]
    1. The distance is measured according to the distance it takes to travel the roads even if the road is not straight and not according to the shortest most direct line. [6]
  3. Sephardim hold that if one travels in a car, train, boat, airplane or any other mode of transportation if one travels 72 minutes from one city to another city then one says Tefillat HaDerech. [7]
    1. The distance is only counted between one city and the other. [8]
    2. Even if there are cities or pit stops along the way, the Sephardic minhag is to say Tefillat HaDerech. [9]

Distance Traveled

  1. According to Ashkenazim as long as the distance traveled is 3.84 kilometers then one should make the bracha, however, according to Sephardim one should only make it for a travel of 72 minutes. [10]

When Should One Say Tefillat HaDerech?

  1. One should preferably say it within the first 8000 Amot of the trip. [11]However, if one did not, as long as there are 8000 Amot left in the trip one may say Tefillat HaDerech. [12]
  2. One should not say Tefillat HaDerech until one leaves the city and a bit more than 70 Amot from the city. [13] If one made the bracha while one was still in the city, after the fact, one is considered to have fulfilled the obligation. [14]
  3. Tefillat HaDerech should be said right after a bracha such as a Bracha Achrona or Asher Yatzer so as to connect a bracha beginning with Baruch to Tefillat HaDerech, if it is impossible then one should make Tefillat HaDerech without any bracha beforehand. [15]
  4. One who needs to travel on Shabbat for a medical emergency should say Tefillat HaDerech. [16]

How it Should Be Said

  1. It is proper to stand still when saying Tefillat HaDerech, however, if one is unable to one may say it while walking. [17]
  2. If one is on a bus or train (or public transportation) and one is able to stand to say Tefillat HaDerech one should do so, otherwise one may say it seated. [18]
  3. It is preferable to stop the car to make the bracha, however, if it is dangerous or it will disturb one’s concentration if one stops, one may say it while traveling. [19] Some say that because of lack of safety in saying Tefillat HaDerech while driving and lack of kavana (proper intent) one may say it in the Shomeh Tefillah of the Shmoneh Esrei prior to leaving. [20]
  4. It is preferable that each person say it themselves but the strict law permits one to say it and others to fulfill their obligation by hearing it. [21]
  5. Although the prayer should be recited in the plural, one nevertheless fulfills one's obligation by reciting it in the singular. [22]

How Often Is it Said

  1. Tefillat HaDerech covers one’s travels for the entire day and night until Olot HaShachar unless one had in mind to complete one’s travels and then changed one’s mind to travel. [23]
  2. If one continues to travel the next day another Tefillat HaDerech is needed unless one traveled non-stop through the night (without stopping for a Shinat Kevah). [24]

Halachos of Traveling

  1. When traveling one should learn Torah but not learn Torah in depth so that one is not too distracted, however, if one is riding in a carriage and someone else is leading the horses one may even learn in depth. [25]
  2. When one departs from one’s friend one should leave him with a halacha. [26]
  3. When one departs from a friend one should say “לך לשלום” and not לך בשלום. [27]
  4. One should give Tzedaka before departing [28].
  5. One should try to have several people escort one for the beginning of one's journey; the person who is escorting one must stay in place until the person is out of sight [29].
  6. One should say each day some Tehillim with intent and humility. One should bring bread with one, even if one is not going far. One should take an extra pair of tzitzit. One should not eat too much when one is traveling. [30]
  7. There are Halachos related to saying Shmoneh Esrei sitting. See Davening Sitting.

Questions and Answers

  1. For which trips should one make tefillat haderech? see above

Sources

  1. Shulchan Aruch 110:7 writes that one only makes the bracha for a distance of a parsa (which Mishna Brurah 110:31 explains is 8000 Amot). Mishna Brurah 110:30 writes that one should make the bracha for riding a train. Piskei Teshuvot 110:2 writes that one makes the bracha for travel when traveling by car, train, boat, or airplane. Ishei Yisrael 50:2 writes that whether one is walking or driving one makes the bracha. Ishei Yisrael 50:1 quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman saying that one who is traveling by car can add the phrase “VeTatsileynu MeTeunot Derachim” (may we be saved from a car accident).
  2. Gemara Brachot 29b, Shulchan Aruch 110:4. Text from Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 2, 110:2). According to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:1, the text is "ותתנני"; otherwise, everything else is in the plural.
  3. R' Joseph B. Soloveitchik, R' Hershel Schachter in Daily Halacha Chabura #21 (5:25).
  4. R' Yaakov Kamenetsky, quoted by Rabbi Schachter Daily Halacha Chabura #21 (5:25)
  5. Beiur Halacha 110:7 s.v. VeEin says that if there is a city with 8000 Amot along the way one should not say Tefillat HaDerech. Halichot Shlomo (Tefillah 21:7) writes that one is only obligated in Tefillat HaDerech if one travels in an area in which there is no city for 16,000 Amot. He adds that we calculate the trip by distance and not time. Tefillah KeHilchata 27:26 rules that in order to make the bracha at the conclusion it must be a trip the distance of 4.7 km (based on the Chazon Ish’s measure of the Amah).
  6. Eshel Avraham MeButchach 110, Tehillat LeDavid 110:4, Halichot Shlomo (Tefillah, chap 21, note 7, pg 253), Piskei Teshuvot 110:8
  7. Halacha Brurah 110:16 based on Sh”t Yabia Omer 1:13, 6:48(9)
  8. Halacha Brurah 110:16
  9. Yalkut Yosef (Tefilla vol 2, 110:2, pg 3)
  10. Piskei Teshuvot 110:8 writes that according to Rav Chaim Noeh the measurement is 3.84 km and according to the Chazon Ish 4.6km. Sh”t Yabia Omer 1:13 writes that Sephardim follow the time it takes to walk a mil which is established to be 72 minutes.
  11. Rama 110:7, Ishei Yisrael 50:7, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:1
  12. Shulchan Aruch 110:7, Ishei Yisrael 50:7
  13. Shulchan Aruch 110:7 writes that one should not say Tefillat HaDerech until one is on the way. Mishna Brurah 110:29 adds that one should not say while one is in the extension of the city which is a bit more than 70 Amot.
  14. Mishna Brurah 110:29
  15. Mishna Brurah 110:28, Ishei Yisrael 50:5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:3 writes that if you are traveling before prayers, then you should ideally recite it after the beracha of "gomel chasadim tovim liamo yisrael."
  16. Tefillah KeHilchata 27:30 based on Sh”t Besel haChachma 5:41
  17. In Gemara Brachot 30a Rav Sheshet says that one may say it walking while Rav Chisda says one should say it only standing. The Rif (Brachot 20b) rules that it is preferable to follow Rav Chisda. This is also the ruling of Rosh 4:18, Tur, Shulchan Aruch 110:4
  18. In Gemara Brachot 30a Rav Sheshet says that one may say it walking while Rav Chisda says one should say it only standing. The Rif (Brachot 20b) rules that it is preferable to follow Rav Chisda. This is also the ruling of Rosh 4:18, Tur and Shulchan Aruch 110:4. Mishna Brurah 110:22 writes that if one if standing still will cause one not to be able to have concentration one may say it while walking or seated. Halacha Brurah 110:11, Ishei Yisrael 50:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:4, and Tefillah KeHilchata 27:27 rule similarly. Beer Moshe 7:114:2 writes that in a car and plane one should initially say it sitting since one can't stand.
  19. Shulchan Aruch 110:4, Mishna Brurah 110:22, 23, Halacha Brurah 110:11
  20. Tefillah KeHilchata (chap 27 note 80) in name of Rav Scheinberg says that if one will not be able to stop and one cannot say it while driving because of a safety hazard and lack of kavana one should say it in the Shomeh Tefillah of the Shmoneh Esrei prior to leaving.
  21. Piskei Teshuvot 110:3
  22. Mishna Brurah 110:18
  23. Shulchan Aruch 110:5, Ishei Yisrael 50:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:5
  24. Mishna Brurah 110:26 , Ishei Yisrael 50:4. See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:5, who holds that if one embarks on a journey which lasts more than a day and night--and this includes if one sleeps on the journey in an unsettled place--one repeats the Tefillat Haderech each day, while concluding without a bracha.
  25. Magen Avraham 110:10
  26. Gemara Brachot 31a, Shaarei Teshuva 110:6
  27. The Gemara Brachot 64a notes that Dovid HaMelech told Avshalom, "לך בשלום", and he eventually died, hung on a tree from his hair; Yitro told Moshe, "לך לשלום", and he succeeded. The Gemara concludes that when one parts from a friend one should say “לך לשלום” and not "לך בשלום". This is codified as halacha by the Mishna Brurah 110:17 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:6.
  28. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:6. The Passuk in Tehillim 85:14 says: צֶ֭דֶק לְפָנָ֣יו יְהַלֵּ֑ךְ וְיָשֵׂ֖ם לְדֶ֣רֶךְ פְּעָמָֽיו.
  29. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:6
  30. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 68:6