Volcanic Ash Alerts Prayers for Safe Travelling on a Plane

 plane.jpgThe Torah commands us to keep connected with it at all times, "…and in your walking along the way." When traveling on an airplane one must not only keep the Mitzvah of studying Torah, but one must also bless and pray to G‑d for a successful and safe journey. Upon safe arrival, one must bless again. Even if everything seems perfectly safe, still these are the laws that must be followed.

Many ask if there is any danger on an airplane. Is there a real need to ask G‑d to protect us there? Everything seems safe enough. The planes are built according to the strictest requirements today. Engineers check everything again and again. Pre-flight tests are administered etc.


Airport Security 

Security checks, upon boarding, have become so strict, that the average person may feel like they're being accused of being a terrorist (G‑d forbid) if security happens to find a pin in their pocket! The current events – as with others – clearly point us towards reminding us of these important laws of the Torah. The Torah is true for every single situation of today – no matter how awesome modern technology is.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe of sainted memory, answers a letter addressed to him: The person asking is interested to know if we really do need to say any special blessing while traveling on a plane today. They also want to know if we need to study Torah on the plane (is it really included in the Mitzvah of learning Torah "…and in your walking along the way" – after all you're not actually walking!) And they want to know if one still needs to bless G‑d after a safe arrival, after all, the Talmud doesn't speak about planes… but only ships!

The Rebbe replies:

"You ask whether an air passenger should say the blessing of HaGomel. It seems to me that the answer depends on which stand one takes in the question as to whether or not the Sages meant to be exclusive and specific when they listed the four categories of people who are obliged to express their gratitude through reciting this blessing. In Seder Birkas HaNehenin 13:7, the Shulchan HaRav ruled that people in circumstances similar to those listed are also obliged to say the blessing. And this is the rule that applies here.

"And now to a related question. Should one recite Tefillas HaDerech [lit., 'the prayer for the road,' i.e., the Prayer for Travelers; ] when in an aircraft or on the drive on the way to the airport?  Since this drive is about to be followed by a further journey by any means whatever, the Prayer for Travelers should be recited.