7 Facts About the Traveler’s Prayer Every Jew Should Know – Prayer – Chabad.org

Posted By on October 16, 2020

1. Its Known as Tefilat Haderech

Known as Tefilat Haderech (Prayer for theWay), the travelers prayer is a single paragraph that we say when setting outon a journey. In it, we ask for a peaceful and successful trip.

While many versions of the prayer exist, theycan all be traced back to the Talmud, where it is recorded as follows:

May it be Your will, Lrd my Gd, to lead me to peace, direct my stepsto peace, and guide me to peace, and rescue me from the hands of any enemy orambush along the way, and send blessing to the work of my hands, and let mefind grace, kindness, and compassion in Your eyes and in the eyes of all whosee me. Blessed are You, Lrd, Who hears prayer.

Read the FullText of the Travelers Prayer

Although the text in the Talmud is written inthe singular first person (with words like me and my), the common textfound in prayer books today is in the plural (with words like us and our).This can be traced back to the Talmud, where the sage Abaya taught that it isbest to pray not just for oneself but for anyone else who may also be in need.

Interestingly, in many versions, there is onephrase which is still said in the singular: andlet me find grace, kindness, andcompassion in Your eyes.

Why is that? A mysterious work of Kabbalah,Sefer Hakanah, provides a mystical spin on the prayer. According to thisinterpretation, we use plural language to include the angels who accompany andassist us. However, the prayer for grace is said in the singular, since it isonly we humans who actually exert effort to serve and please Gd.

Read: What Are Angels?

The ideal time to say the prayer is after onehas left the city limits, defined not according to municipal boundaries butwhen the houses are far apart. In modern cityscapes this happens once one hasleft the suburbs and entered rural countryside.

When traveling by plane, it is proper to saythe prayer before or after takeoff.

If you forgot to say the prayer, say it whenyou remember, provided that you are not yet close to your destination city.

If you plan to return that same day, many(including Chabad) add and return us in peaceto the prayer, thus covering the return trip as well.

If you are taking a multi-leg trip, you shouldsay the prayer every morning as you set out.If you are staying at your destination for some time before returning, theChabad practice is to say the prayer every morning but without mentioning Gdsname.

Read: When to Say Tefilat Haderech?

The Talmud tells us that some sages wereparticular to stand in one place when saying this prayer, while others werenot. Thus, whileit would be ideal to stop ones vehicle to say the prayer at the start of aroad trip, one may do so while driving (in a safe manner)if stopping entails inconvenience. This isespecially so when traveling by air, when stopping the plane is impossible.

Read: How to Say Tefilat Haderech

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7 Facts About the Traveler's Prayer Every Jew Should Know - Prayer - Chabad.org

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