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Before the Journey

Before the Journey

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1. It is customary for the individual going on a trip to receive an aliyah the Shabbos preceding his departure. However, he does not take precedence over any other individual who is required to receive an aliyah, such as one who has yahrzeit, a groom the Shabbos before the wedding, and the like1.

2 Prior to leaving on a trip one should give tzedakah (charity). This is based on the verse in Tehilim 85:14: “Tzedek lefanav yehaleich veyaseim lederech pe’amav” — “Righteousness shall go before him, and he shall set out on his journey.” [The word “tzedek” — “righteousness” — in this verse has the same root as the word “tzedakah”], suggesting that he should give tzedakah before he sets out on his journey2.

3. Prior to one’s departure, he should take leave of and receive the blessing of the leading men and rabbis of his city for a safe and successful journey3.

4. Since the Sages inform us that a sheliach mitzvah — one on a mission for a mitzvah — is not harmed, one should seek to have others appoint him as a sheliach mitzvah by giving him some money to distribute for tzedakah when he arrives at his destination4.

Some also give the traveler an additional amount to put into tzedakah when he returns, so that he becomes a sheliach mitzvah both ways. It may be advisable to stipulate that the sheliach can exchange the money with other money or foreign currency as the need arises.

If a traveler does not have anyone to designate him as a sheliach mitzvah, then he can put aside an amount of money himself and say that when he will reach such and such a place [his destination] he will — bli neder (without undertaking a vow) — give this money to tzedakah. [He should say that he is giving the money in memory of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haneis5.

5. One should take along his tallis and tefilin, even on short distance trips in which he intends to return that same day, because something unexpected, G‑d forbid, could occur, leaving him without tallis and tefilin. The Mishnah Berurah also comments that “unfortunately, there are travelers who don’t even take along their tefilin with them, reasoning that they will be able to borrow the tefilin from others along the way. Their sin is severe, since through waiting to borrow tefilin they will miss saying Shema and Shemoneh Esrei in their proper times. Additionally, they will take whatever tefilin are available not attending to whether the head tefilin fits properly [i.e. if the knot is adjusted properly for his head]6.”

6. One should take tzitzis strings along as well, just in case his tzitzis tear and need replacing7.

One may wish to also take along extra retzu’os (leather straps) for the tefilin, especially if he will be staying for a lengthy time at a locale where there is no sofer. One should also bring an extra yarmulkah, in case the other one is misplaced or lost.

7. Since no one can be sure of what may occur along the way one should also take bread on the trip8, and a proper utensil for washing his hands before a meal [and in the morning when he wakes up]9. One should not rely on obtaining a disposable cup during the trip since many Halachic authorities do not recommend [or allow] using one for washing. Additionally, if one does not have a cup available, many more problems arise, such as having to wash in the washroom and the lack of ko’ach gavra (human power) when using water from a faucet.

8. In order to fulfill the mitzvah of reviewing the week’s parshah properly, one should make sure to bring a Chumash that contains Targum Onkelos10.

If an individual has only a chumash with him without the targum, so that he is unable to review the weekly parshah two times with the targum, he should still review the chumash text itself. He can make up learning the targum at a later date.PRIVATE

9. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson suggests [in a letter] that “as a protective segulah against accidents one should keep a sidur, Tehilim, Tanya and a tzedakah box in his car, and it is appropriate to publicize this11.”

Many Chabad Chassidim take along the above-mentioned items even when they are traveling by some other means.

10. (a) One should not polish his shoes on the day that he is planning to travel12.

(b) If, however, he did not know about the trip until after polishing the shoes, they may be worn.

(c) There is no restriction on repairing one’s shoes on the departure date of a journey.

(d) There is no objection to polishing the shoes while he is already traveling.

(e) According to some opinions, this restriction of polishing shoes on the day of a trip applies only to trips taken by foot, but if one is traveling by other means, it is permitted13.

(f) Even another person should not polish the shoes of one who is planning to leave that day14.

(g) One should also avoid wearing brand new shoes, if at all possible, on the first day of his trip15.

11. A person should try to have someone escort him as he leaves16, 17

12. (a) Once the traveler has set out on his journey, he should not go back into the house even if he has forgotten something. Instead, he should wait outside and have someone from the inside bring it out to him18.

(b) If he is already on the journey and has forgotten something in the hotel or at his host’s house, there are differences of opinion as to whether he can re-enter the house, and it is preferable to be strict about this.

(c) If he is returning on account of a mitzvah, he is permitted to re-enter the house19.

(d) If what he forgot is crucial for his trip, such as a passport, airline ticket, and the like, there are opinions that permit him to re-enter the house20.

(e) If there is no one home to bring out the item that he forgot, it is permitted under all circumstances to return inside21.

Additional Segulos

13. On the Motza’ei Shabbos prior to one’s departure many say from the beginning of Parshas Vayishlach until verse 32:20 inclusive22.

This is followed by Tehilim, chapter 121. This should be done before partaking of the Melaveh Malkah23.

14. Before leaving on a journey, one should say Tehillim 86:17 eleven times with great concentration while standing next to the mezuzah. The verse reads “aseih imi os letovah veyiru sonai veyeivoshu, ki Atah Ado‑nai azartani venichamtani24 ” — “Display for me a sign for good, so that my enemies will see it and be ashamed, for You, G-d, have helped me and comforted me 25 .”

15. It is advisable for an individual to say a verse whose first letter starts with the same letter and concludes with the same letter that his name does during the trip. For those who do not say this verse at the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei, can find the appropriate verse in many sidurim right after the morning shemoneh esrei26.

16. Some are accustomed to say upon leaving the city Yeshayah 2:5 and Michah 4:5: “Bais Ya’akov lechu veneilcha be’or Ado-nai. Ki kol ha’amim yeilchu ish besheim Elohav va’anachnu neilech besheim Ado‑nai Eloheinu le’olam va’ed בֵּית יַעֲקֹב לְכוּ וְנֵלְכָה בְּאוֹר אֲדֹנָי. כִּי כָּל הָעַמִים יֵלְכוּ אִיש בְּשֵׁם אֱלֹהָיו וַאֲנַחְנוּ נֵלֵךְ בְּשֵׁם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד ”  — “House of Jacob, come let us walk in the light of G-d. For all the nations, each of them walk in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of G-d our G‑d forever and ever27.”

17.Some have the custom of assembling three friends and while standing next to the mezuzah, the traveler places his hands on the mezuzah and says:

(a) the first portion of Shema followed by the Tehillim 121:1-2. His friends then say from verse 3 until the end of the chapter. This recitation is repeated 2 more times.

(b) Then the traveler says Tehillim 90:17 (“Vihi no’am”) and 91: 1-2 (“Yosheiv beseiser elyon” and “Omar ladonoi”) and his friends say from verse 3 through verse 8 inclusive (“Ki Hu yatzilcha...,” “Be’evraso...,” “Lo sira...,” “Midever ba’ofel...,” “Yipol mitzidecha...,” “Rak be’einecha...”). He then says verse 9 (“Ki Atah”) and his friends say from verse 10 (“Lo Se’unah”) until the end of the chapter, and all this is also repeated two more times.

(c) Afterwards the traveler says the first two verses of the Birkas Kohanim (Priestly Blessing)  — from “Vayedaber” until emor lahem” — followed by his friends concluding the blessing — until “va’avarcheim.” This is also repeated two more times, and they then conclude with the verse “hinei anochi sholei’ach malach lefanecha lishmarcha badarech velahavi’acha el hamakom asher hachinosi (Shemos 23:20) 28” — “Behold, I am sending before you an angel to protect you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared for you 29.”

18. When taking a trip by ship one should enter the ship with his right foot first and say the following verse nine times: “Ki sa’avor bamayim itcha ani, uvaneharos lo yishtefucha, ki seileich bemo eish lo sikaveh, velehavah lo sivar bach כִּי תַעֲבוֹר בַּמַיִם אִתְּךָ אֲנִי וּבַנְהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּךָ כִּי תֵלֵךְ בְּמוֹ אֵשׁ לֹא תִכָוֶה וְלֶהָבָה לֹא תִבְעַר בָּךְ.” — “When you pass through water, I am with you, and in rivers, they shall not overthrow you; when you go amidst fire, you shall not be burnt, neither shall a flame burn amongst you30.” (Yeshayah 43:2)

Even though the Kaf Hachayim only mentions that one should enter a ship with the right foot, it seems that the same should apply upon entering an airplane, train, etc.

19. He should also take a kazayis of afikomen along with him31.

20. If he is leaving on a trip any time between the 3rd (or 7th) and the 15th day of the Hebrew month, he should recite Kiddush Levanah prior to his departure. This offers protection from all dangers throughout the month32.

The Temimei Derech conveys a powerful message regarding those people who travel and only take their tefilin with them but find it too cumbersome to also take the talis.PRIVATE

The talis, left alone at home, is very upset and cries about the fact that the owner chose the tefilin over him. To this the tefilin replies, “Don’t cry; there will come a time when I will remain at home, and he will only take you with him.”

[Editor’s note: When a person dies, he is buried with his talis.>

FOOTNOTES
1. שערי אפרים שער ב' סעיף י"ג
2. קצוש"ע סימן ס"ח סע' ו'
3. באר היטב סימן ק"י סק"י
4. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק ז"ך
5. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק ז"ך
6. משנה ברורה סימן ק"י ס"ק כ'
7. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק כ"ג
8. משנה ברורה סימן ק"י ס"ק כ'
9. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד' אות מ"ג
10. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד' אות ה'
11. יגדיל תורה תשובות ובאורים בשלחן ערוך אות ל"ח
12. צוואת רבי יהודה החסיד. It is related in the name of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi that to understand the depth of this particular matter would require a sefer as lengthy as the Shalah Hakodosh.
13. לקוטי הלכות מהרב שבתי וויגדער צוואה ל"ט
14. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד הערה ע"ח
15. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד הערה מ"ח
16. See chapter 7 for more details.
17. שערי תשובה או"ח סימן ק"י סק"א
18. צוואת רבי יהודה החסיד
19. לקוטי הלכות מהרב שבתי וויגדער צוואה ל"ח
20. שלחן השלם פרק פ"ח סע' י"ב
21. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד אות נ"ו
22. באר היטב או"ח סימן רצ"ט סקי"ד
23. אהלך באמיתך פרק ד אות א
24.  עֲשֵׂה עִמִי אוֹת לְטוֹבָה וְיִרְאוּ שֹנְאַי וְיֵבֹשׁוּ כִּי אַתָּה יְהֹוָה עֲזַרְתַּנִי וְנִחַמְתָּנִי
25. אהלך באמיתך פרק ו אות ו
26. טעמי המנהגים אות צ' בקונטרס אחרון
27. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק כ"ו
28. הִנֵה אָנֹכִי שֹׁלֵחַ מַלְאָךְ לְפָנֶיךָ לִשְׁמָרְךָ בַּדָרֶךְ וְלַהֲבִיאֲךָ אֶל הַמָקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הֲכִינֹתִי.
29. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק כ"ה
30. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק ל"ב
31. כף החיים סימן ק"י ס"ק כ"ג
32. הובא בתמימי דרך דף כ"ד ע"ב
Rabbi Eliezer Wenger taught at the Beth Rivkah High School in Montreal, Canada, was rabbi at Congregation Oneg Shabbos in Montreal and the author of over a dozen works on Jewish law.
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