• Tfilas HaDerech

Tfilas HaDerech

1. One who embarks on a journey, either by foot, wagon, train, etc. recites the special Tfilas HaDerech.
2. Although the Halacha refers to a journey beyond city limits, i.e. uninhabited areas, the custom is to recite it even in the situation in America where one city leads into another city. The explanation for this would be the added danger of highway accidents, which is not related to highwaymen or thieves as in days of old. The accepted custom is not to recite it when travelling in the city limits.
3. One recites this Tfila only when one is already a few miles into the journey. If however, one recited it in the city limits one need not repeat it.
4. One may recite it as long as he remembers before the final few miles of the journey.
5. It would be proper to stop and say it or even stand up to say it. However, if this would disrupt his trip and cause him loss of concentration one may recite it even sitting, even moving.
6. If one settles in a place for the night one should recite it again the next morning. The brocha is in effect until the next morning similar to “Birchos HaShachar”. If however, he does not settle for the night the Tfilas HaDerech should be recited without a brocha at the end. This would probably apply to a plane trip across the ocean in which the next morning arrives while in flight. In these cases, the Tfilas HaDerech could be incorporated into Shmone Esrei as part of Shomea Tfila.
7. If one is in transit and settles for the night to continue the journey the next morning one may recite the Tfilas HaDerech even within city limits.
8. Since the prayer does not begin with “boruch Atah Hashem” it is suggested to precede the recitation with a “brocha achrona” on food or any brocha such as “Asher yotzer”. If this is not possible some permit saying a brocha on a food item and then to swallow a small piece of that food item and then to recite Tfilas HaDerech. If none of the above is possible, it is recited as is without positioning it next to a brocha.
9. One who travels on Shabbos for a medical emergency or such should still say Tfilas HaDerech.
10. One, who is travelling to the funeral of a close relative, although exempt from mitzvos, should still recite Tfilas HaDerech.
11. If one begins reciting it by heart and forgets the exact text, he may complete the brocha if he has included the general theme of the tfila.
12. As much as possible, one should occupy ones mind with Torah and “Divrei Kedusha” when travelling, since it is considered a dangerous moment.
13. One should always prepare some food for the trip, even on a short journey. Some have a custom to always bring along Talis and Tfilin when travelling, even if one intends to return that same day.