Travel FAQ's: Quick Guide to the Most Common Situations

Prayer For Travel - Tefillat Haderech



Who says tefillat haderech?


Anyone traveling more than seventy-two minutes outside of the city limits recites tefillat haderech. Each person, man or woman, traveling should say this prayer, or if one cannot, he can hear it from someone else.


When should I say tefillat haderech?


When driving, one should say tefillat haderech at the beginning of the journey. If one is in the middle of his ride and then remembers, he can still recite the prayer if he is seventy-two minutes out of the city limits of his destination. When flying, one should say tefillat haderech before takeoff as the airplane is at the runway or even in the car on the way to the airport.


If I am taking a connecting flight, do I say tefillat haderech again?


If the connecting flight is that same day, one does not say tefillat haderech a second time. If one stayed overnight, and then resumed his journey the next morning he should say tefillat haderech again.


Are there any segulot for a safe trip?


Giving tsedaka is in general a protection, and therefore it is customary to give money to someone traveling to deliver tsedaka at his destination. This makes the traveler a messenger en-route to perform a mitsvah thereby gaining protection throughout his travel and return. Escorting someone who is going to travel is also beneficial for his protection.


Which flights require hagomel?


If one traveled by air on a flight that from takeoff to landing is longer than seventy-two minutes, one is required to make birkat hagomel.


When should I say birkat hagomel?


Birkat hagomel should be said the earliest time the sefer Torah is read, after your arrival. Birkat hagomel should be recited again when you return home. If you don’t have the opportunity to say hagomel when away, only say it once when you return. Preferably one should say hagomel soon after the trip, within three days. However, even if one was not able to, or forgot, it can still be said later.

Like all prayer, it is beneficial to understand what one says. Below is the prayer for tefillat haderech and its translation in picture format.


 

Praying



Must I pray with a minyan?


If one is driving and can find a minyan by going out of their way within eighteen minutes of his location, then one should take out the time to do so. If by continuing along the route there will be a minyan within the next seventy-two minutes then one should continue on to meet up with the minyan. www.godaven.com has a database for worldwide minyanim. However, when praying without a minyan one should try to pray the same time as a local minyan is praying. On an airplane, if passengers or staff might be disturbed by congregating, it is better not to make a minyan and pray individually.


Can I pray while sitting?


While traveling, one may pray sitting if he will have more concentration this way. When doing, so keep your feet together while sitting. One should bow at the times to bow, by either bending forward in his seat or if possible to stand and bow. If one is a passenger in a car, he should preferably stop the car while praying the Amidah; however, if he cannot then he can pray while the car is in motion. However, the one driving cannot pray while driving, even if he will miss the time for prayer. May one pray in a nondenominational chapel? Many airports or hospitals have rooms designated for prayer. As we know, one may not enter a church even just to sightsee. Such a room designated for people of all faiths to use for prayer, should not be used for prayer. I am in the airport with my tefillin bag in hand,

May I enter the bathroom?

Although anything holy must be covered twice before being exposed, tefillin is an exception; therefore, even in its regular tefillin/tallet bag it may be brought into a bathroom if it cannot be properly guarded otherwise. If there is a siddur or ketoret in the bag then it will require one additional covering. However, do not place the bag with the tefillin in it, on the floor.


When flying, how do I know when it is time to pray?


The proper time to pray or recite Shema is determined by standing at sea level under the location of where your plane is at that moment. Just looking out the window may be off by up to a half hour. Go to www.zemanim.com where you can enter your departure and arrival location and time and it will calculate your route and tell you all your halachic times throughout your flight.


What if the “fasten seatbelt” sign goes onhile I am standing in the Amidah?


One should sit down without saying a word or making any gestures and resume his prayer. Even if there is no danger involved it is proper to be courteous to the staff who request that you remain seated.


Can I make a beracha or pray if I am not clothed properly?


When praying one should be dressed as if he were having an important meeting. However, if in a pressing situation one can pray as long as something covers his chest and lower body with a separation between the two. As for a beracha, as long as he is wearing something, e.g. a bathing suit, and one’s head is covered, he can recite a beracha.


Can I make a beracha or pray if others are not clothed properly?


One may not make a beracha or pray facing any woman over the age of seven who is not dressed properly. Ideally, one should turn around to make a beracha; otherwise, it is sufficient to close one’s eyes. When praying one should find a secluded spot where he can concentrate and not be exposed even to a screen showing anything inappropriate. When making a beracha one must cover his head with something other than one’s own hand.


Which direction should I face?


Ideally, one should ascertain his direction and face toward Yerushalayim. If one cannot determine the direction or feels he will have more concentration facing another direction, he should in his heart direct his prayer toward Yerushalayim.



 

Eating


When one is in the comfort of his home, kosher food is much more available and relatively easier to keep. Being away can present unique challenges and therefore the answers below are specifically for when one is away, and should not necessarily be applied when at home.

What items never need kosher certification?


Items that currently do not require kosher certification include: bottled water; flour; unflavored seltzer; unflavored beer; common soda flavors such as Coke and Sprite from the tap; raw nuts, peanuts roasted in a shell; dried Turkish apricots; dried dates with no oil; dried peaches, pears and nectarines; salt; unflavored teas and coffee; granulated sugar; all dried legumes; canned fruits and frozen vegetables containing no oils or additives other than sugar; popcorn kernels and other basic items that can be verified by contacting your local kashrut agency.


Vegetables: When eating salads or vegetables one should be aware that infestation of bugs in other countries may be worse than it is in the U.S. One can buy cut fruit or vegetables from a supermarket without being kosher certified. We can assume that they would make the effort to use a clean knife so as not to ruin the taste of the fruit. Even if the knife had something non-kosher on its surface, the knife was cleaned off by the first few pieces cut which are then nullified with the remaining pieces. In other places, it is more of a concern and one should verify that a perfectly clean knife is used.

Coffee: Unflavored brewed coffee may be purchased anywhere; however, once any flavors are added it will need to be certified kosher as flavors can come from insects and other sources.


Milk: Buying milk most places in the world without kosher certification should be ok for those that rely on non-halav Yisrael milk, however one must be more cautious with milk in countries where regulations and standards are different. In some Arab countries Camel milk (and ice cream) is available for purchase in supermarkets.


Eggs: Eggs, as long as they have the familiar oval shape, may be purchased anywhere in the world, and are assumed to come from a chicken.


Fish: One can only recognize a fish as being of a kosher species if a portion of the skin is still intact and you see the scales attached to the fish. One cannot determine a fish to be kosher on the basis of its name or what it looks like. The knife and cutting board at the non-kosher fish counter are assumed to have unkosher fish oils adhering to their surfaces. If one would like to buy a cut of fish, he should personally look over the knife to make sure that it is sparkling clean, or one can bring his own knife and cutting board and request that the man use them. Watch at all times to ensure that he is using your knife because it is to his advantage to use his own knives which are more professionally suited for the job. He should also wrap the cutting board with paper and take caution that a piece of non-kosher fish does not mistakenly make its way into your fish order. If the fish was cut with the non-kosher knife one must scrub the surface that was cut very well to remove any traces of non-kosher fish.


Vinegar: Wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar are very kosher sensitive and should not be used without a recognized symbol as wine may be a component.

Ordering a Kosher Meal;


It is recommended to order your kosher meal at least 24 hours in advance. On weekend flights, more than a twenty-four-hour notice may be required. Sefaradim should order a Glatt kosher meal even when traveling on El Al. Make sure the double wrappings are intact on meat products and the like. Anything unwrapped is not considered supervised even if the stewardess tells you otherwise (unless she’s a religious Jew). Fresh cut cold fruit served on the airline’s china dishes with metal forks is permissible.

Can I eat it if it looks like the Hebrew words say “kosher”?

In Israel fruits and vegetables also need to be certified kosher to ensure that teruma and maaser were properly separated. There are various levels of certification and accordingly one should know the difference between different organizations. Rabbanut Mehadrin, Rav Landau, Badatz Bet Yosef, Badatz Edah Charedit, Rabbi Shlomo Mahfud, as well as others are well known for their reliability. There is meat on the black market that is not kosher, and that does not even meet any government standards, that is sold to unreliable Jewish vendors.


I found the same exact product as I normally use, without certification?


Although it is possible that the product is kosher, being that they are produced in a different factory perhaps even under different license owners, they may contain different ingredients and should not be consumed without further verification. Many ingredients and product availability vary from region to region. For example, in many South American countries, meat oil is cheaper than vegetable oil; therefore, breads and standard products are often not kosher. Chile is a major wine exporter and the Hellman’s mayonnaise which is usually kosher, in Chile often contains unkosher wine vinegar.


Can I wash my hands in the bathroom?


An airplane bathroom does not have the status of a regular bathroom and one may therefore wash his hands there for bread or for the morning netilat yadayim. One need not wash when walking into such a bathroom without using the facilities. However, by a regular bathroom, it is preferable for one to dry his hands outside of the bathroom. What if I have no water with which to wash? If one has no water, one may use other drinks to wash one’s hands. A minimum of 3 oz. should be used. When using liquids other than water a beracha of “al netilat yadayim” should not be recited. If you are traveling and don’t anticipate to have water within the next seventy-two minutes of your journey, and cannot get water within deviating eighteen minutes out of your way, then one may wrap his hands (not the food) in a cloth or bag and eat without touching the bread. So too if one cannot get up without waking up his fellow passenger, then he can wipe his hands on a cloth very well. What if I donít have a cup to wash my hands? If there is no cup to wash one’s hands, he may turn on the sink and wash with the first flow at each part of the washing. Therefore, one would place his hand under the spout and turn on the water then shut the water, turn on, then shut, three times. For washing in the morning one would begin by placing his right hand under the faucet and then turning it on, place his left hand turn on and shut, repeating this three times alternately. If there is a lake or a pond, one may dip his hands into it, and then make the beracha of “al netilat yadayim.”



 

In the Hotel (Or AirBnB)

May I eat the breakfast offered by the hotel?

Bread, bagels, muffins, and individual cereal packets require proper certification. Fresh fruit, apples, oranges and bananas of course do not need to be certified. Even if no other ingredients are added to scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, if prepared by a non-Jew it is bishul akum and may not be eaten. The pan or pot used is also forbidden from the absorption of bishul akum as well as assumed to be not kosher from other ingredients. Juice that is 100% pure is fine (unless it is grape juice). Once any flavors are added, since its production is kosher sensitive, it will require certification. In order to have 100% juice from a fountain machine that serves non-kosher drinks such as non-certified fruit punch, or pink lemonade, let its spout run a minute before taking some of the kosher drink. If juice is in the hotel pitcher, look for the original container.


Can I use the hotel’s oven?

One can double wrap the food, and then place the food in the oven. If you want to cook food open in the oven, kosher the oven by A) wiping down the oven and then putting on a self-clean cycle, or B) clean thoroughly any residue (and for dirt that that cannot be removed use a strong cleaning chemical which renders any remaining food inedible) and then turn the oven to the highest temperature (or 500 degrees) for one hour.


What about the Stovetop?

Whether it is electric or gas, if the burner is clean one does not have to kosher it. Of course you cannot use the hotel pot to cook anything, even water.


And the Microwave?


Double wrap the food or very securely wrap it with one wrapping, as the microwave is assumed to be non-kosher. If necessary it can be koshered by boiling a cup of water in the microwave for twenty minutes. One can choose to wrap either the meat or the dairy in a double-wrapping or a secured single wrapping, and then use the microwave interchangeably between meat and dairy.


Dishes and silverware?


One may eat cold foods, e.g. cereal, on their dishes after making sure the plate, bowl or silverware is perfectly clean. Food under 115 degrees is considered cold. Glass does not absorb any flavor, therefore all clear glass utensils may be used even for hot foods. However, other types of dishes and cutlery may not be used for hot food unless koshered.


Dishwasher?


The hotel dishwasher is assumed to be non-kosher. Koshering the dishwasher would entail pouring boiling water throughout the dishwasher. Practically this would be difficult; therefore, if one needs the dishwasher, one may kosher the dishwasher by running an empty cycle with dishwasher soap.


Barbecue grill?


Since when cooking on a grill it is done by putting meat directly on the grates, the koshering is more intense. It should be done with a blow torch heating the grates until they are red hot. If that is not feasible then first thoroughly clean the grill and scrape down the grates, which if too difficult you can pour a detergent on it to render the residue food inedible. Then turn up the flames to the highest setting and keeping it closed for at least forty-five minutes.


What if we cooked our food using the non-kosher pots or utensils?


If done by a mistake the food may be eaten. If done knowingly, then the food is forbidden to the person who cooked it and for whom it was cooked.


What can I order at the bar?


Definitely non-mevushal wine is out, and as for a list of kosher alcohols and drink mixes it can be found at www.crcweb.org/listsandlinks.php or www.star-k.org/resources. Asking the bartender would not suffice! Drink responsibly!


 

Going on a Cruise

When can we sail?

If one knows from experience that he does not get sea sick at all when taking a cruise he may even leave on Friday if the boat departs before Shabbat. If one may become seasick or have difficulty adjusting to the cruise he should depart no later than Wednesday. If the ship is operated or maintained by Jews then one cannot travel on Shabbat.


Can I depart from the ship on Shabbat?


If one is aboard a ship sailing at sunset on Friday and it docks at a port on Shabbat one may get off the ship, but must stay within a half mile of the ship. One can leave the ship only if when he will return to the ship it will not depart from the dock on Shabbat, for it is permissible to board a docked ship on Shabbat, as long as it will be departing after Shabbat. A ticket or passport may not be carried off the ship if the city has no eruv, which is most likely the case. One may not wear his ID on a string hung around his neck like a necklace. One should plan accordingly because this presents a challenge to passengers when a world-renowned tourist attraction is right off the ship in a vacation spot that they may never again visit.


Can I walk through a metal detector?


Today, cruise ships, like airports, have metal detectors for boarding passengers. Although it may set off alarms or lights, it is nevertheless permitted.


Can I buy things on the ship and have them billed to my room?


If one does not mention anything about money, and just gives his name, that is permitted. If the bartender has to make a drink specifically for you that entails using a blender or anything that violates Shabbat, that drink may not be ordered. The Mishna states that most sea faring men are righteous, because they depend upon the hand of Hashem out at sea. Being on board a cruise ship often presents a challenge to keeping our level of holiness, which is just as important as all the laws of kosher. Therefore, one can stay fixated on the wonders of Hashem out at sea, thereby enhancing his righteousness.


 

Shabbat

When one is in the comfort of his home, there are so many added conveniences to the keeping of Shabbat. Being away can present challenges and therefore the answers are specifically for when one is away, and should not be applied to when one is home.


What should I remember to pack?


Candles; wine or grape juice for Kiddush and Havdalah; hallah for all the Shabbat meals; a pizmon book with Kiddush.


How should I light the Shabbat candles?


Ideally, one should bring small candles or tea lights and light in his room. Lighting in the dining area can be done with a beracha if you are the first to light in that area or table. If this presents a hazard or is not allowed by the hotel, one may use incandescent lights with a beracha.


How do I get in and out of my room?


Hotel keys that work electronically may not be used on Shabbat, and cannot be handled or carried as they are muktse. One can tape down the lock to keep the door always open, enabling one to enter or exit without using the electronic lock. If one is afraid of being robbed one can lock the door, and then have room service or any non-Jew open it. Some electronic doors have the option to be opened manually with a conventional key.


Can I use the elevator?


It is always better to request the lower floor and not have to rely on leniencies. However, where that is not possible then if there is a Shabbat elevator, where the laser and weight sensors are deactivated, most opinions allow one to use. If there is no Shabbat elevator and it is too difficult to climb the stairs, one can enter the elevator along with a non-Jew and get off on the floor that the non-Jew gets off, and then walk the rest.


Can I walk through automatic doors?


If there is no manual door available, then one can walk behind a non-Jew who walks through. Asking a non-Jew to open the door for you or even if the non-Jew realizes on his own and opens the door for you, should not be done unless the non-Jew is walking through the door for himself. Be careful to move through quickly so as not to cause the door to stay open any longer by triggering the sensor. If one mistakenly stepped on the pad that automatically opens the door he may not enter.


May I enter a room with sensor-controlled lights or temperature?

Many hotel rooms have an electronic sensor that monitors movement. When the sensor detects an empty room, it turns off the heat or air- conditioning, and when someone enters the room, they switch on. More problematic is a sensor that turns on the lights when you enter. One should determine his hotel’s conditions ahead of time. One may call room service or any non-Jew and ask them to get something from inside your room and once they enter you may follow them in. As far as leaving the room there is no problem.

May I open balcony doors that trigger the heat/ac to turn on or off?


One may open the doors even though it triggers the heat or AC to turn off. However when closing the doors, if it triggers them to go on, then it is only to be done by a non-Jew.


Can I let the doorman buzz me in?


The doorman may buzz you in, as long as he is assumed to be a non-Jew.


Can I drink tea or coffee in the hotel lobby that was brewed on Shabbat?


If the majority of the guests in the hotel are Jews, one would not be allowed to drink the coffee. If the majority of the guests in the hotel are non-Jews, then one can rely on the lenient opinions if necessary. Be cautious that if the system is attached to an automatic water feeder that brings in cold water, then one may not take water. If a non-Jew is preparing coffee for individual guest request, one is forbidden from ordering.


Restroom facilities that are controlled by an electronic eye?


Better to avoid using them, but if caught in the situation where there is no other option, one may use these facilities.

What should I do on Shabbat afternoon?


Try to preserve the special sanctity of Shabbat by conducting a full seudat Shabbat with family and friends, and for the balance of the day resting and learning Torah.


What if I left the light on in the fridge?


Ask a non-Jew to open the fridge. You can also ask the him to remove the bulb from the fridge.


Can I rest in a hammock on Shabbat?


If the hammock is not attached to a tree on either side, one may rest on it on Shabbat. One may swing a swing back and forth even in an area where one may not carry.


May I carry within the premises of the hotel?


Carrying on hotel premises is permitted if the area is fenced in on four sides and does not have openings of more than fifteen feet wide. One may not carry from one hotel to another hotel property without eruv haserot even if both areas are gated and opened directly to each other.


May I schedule a wake-up call for Shabbat morning?

One may have the receptionist give a wake-up call Shabbat morning to ensure that you wake up in time for Shema, though remember not to pick up!


May I apply suntan lotion on Shabbat?


A spray should be used (or a very thin sunscreen which when rubbed in will become fully absorbed in the skin and not leave a layer of film or oil).


Do we recite the prayer Magen Avot on Friday night?


On Friday night, Magen Avot is not said when praying in a room which does not normally function as a shul, such as a temporary minyan in one’s home. In a hotel or on a ship, where a room is designated for praying but serves other purposes as well, Magen Avot would not be said. If a specific room is dedicated as a shul for the duration of the trip and a sefer Torah is kept in that room, then it is recited.



 

Thank you so much for your time and attention! Please consider supporting us to continue making content just like this!


Prepared By:

Rabbi Moshe Arking - Avenue O Synagogue

Rabbi Hayim Arking - Ohr Halacha

www.ohrhalacha.org


For the Refuah Shelemah of Ruth bat Gilsom & Lilui nishmat Raphael ben Rachel

HERE'S ONE WAY TO CONTACT US

LONG BRANCH NJ 07740
OFFICE@OHRHALACHA.ORG
732-359-3080

Thanks for contacting us! We appreciate your interest

© 2020 by Ohr Halacha, a 501c3 Organization