1. While traveling a person should not totally neglect the study of Torah. Rather, he should be occupied with Torah study as it states (Devarim 6:7), “veshinantam...uvelechtacha vaderech” — “and you shall learn...when you are on your way.” However, he should not learn in-depth. Otherwise, he might get too absorbed in his learning and miss his stop, make a wrong turn and the like. If one is only a passenger, then he can learn in depth, but he should not have an in-depth discussion with the driver, since it may distract him1.

[We find (according to some interpretations) that when Yosef told his brothers “al tirgezu badorech” — “do not become agitated on the way” (Bereishis 45:24)  — he was telling them not to become too involved in halachic discussion, lest they lose their way home.]2

2. One should be careful not to eat too much during a trip in order to avoid intestinal problems3.

Overeating combined with the tribulations and inconvenience of traveling causes the intestinal system to overreact. Therefore [based on this reason] if one is traveling on a ship, wagon, etc. which do not involve hardships, there would not be any restrictions on food consumption.

Another reason for limiting one’s eating during traveling is to make sure that the food supply will not be depleted. Hence, [according to this reason] when one is traveling from town to town where there are establishments where he can purchase food, this concern does not apply4.

3. Needless to say, one should use the seat belts, keep within speed limits, not drive after having consumed alcohol, and respect all the other rules of the road5.

4. It is advisable to always have one’s talis and tefilin (and a sidur and other major necessities) as carry-on luggage and not store it in the luggage compartment, especially if one is traveling by airplane. There have been many instances where baggage has been diverted or planes delayed and people have been stuck without their talis and tefilin.

Sleeping with a talis katan

5. It is proper for one who will be sleeping in a hotel\motel or sleeping car of a train whose rooms do not have a mezuzah to sleep with his talis katan on, even though he usually does not do so while sleeping6.

Negel vasser — Washing the hands in the morning

6. One who was up all night (e.g. driving) should preferably first take care of his personal needs (i.e. use the lavatory) and then wash negel vasser properly and say the berachah “al netilas yada’im7.”

If he does not need to use the lavatory, however, he should still wash negel vasser properly, omitting the berachah8 .

According to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi 9  it is sufficient to wash each hand just once.

7. If there is not enough water to wash his hands properly three times up to the wrist, he may wash them up to his knuckles10.

8. If the only place available for hand-washing is the washroom, he is permitted to wash there, but he should delay drying his hands and reciting the berachah until he is outside the washroom.

9. If one has no choice and needs to wash his hands without a keli — utensil (e.g. washing directly from a faucet) — or without “ko’ach gavra (e.g. faucets that are turned on by an electric eye), the opinions vary. According to the Mishnah Berurah this would be satisfactory for the removal of the “evil spirits” and for davening purposes and one would be permitted to recite the berachah “al netilas yada’im” as well11.

According to the Shulchan Aruch HaRav one satisfies his obligation of washing his hands before davening, but he does not recite the berachah. If he is able to wash his hands properly later on (i.e. with a utensil and ko’ach gavra), he must do so. If this is taking place before davening, then he should also recite the berachah. If he has already davened, he does not say “al netilas yada’im12.”

10. If the only possibility of washing his hands is by immersing his hands three times in a pond of water containing 40 se’ah, in three different places, he may recite “al netilas yada’im13.”

Later on when he has proper water and a utensil, he should wash again 3 times on each hand in an alternating manner14.

11. If no water is available at all, he may rub his hands on sand, rocks, or any other material and say the berachah “al nekiyos yada’im15.

He still needs to wash his hands properly when water becomes available and say the berachah. There are other opinions that “al nekiyos yada’im” is not recited when rubbing one’s hands with sand or other material16.

Zeman Keri’as Shema

12. If one is in the midst of traveling and unable to don his tefilin on account of the weather or unable to get his tefilin within the proper time for saying the Shema since they are in the luggage compartment of the bus or airplane, he should say the Shema [without the tefilin]. When he will be able to wear the tefilin later on and daven Shacharis, he will again say the Shema17.

13. One who is doing the actual driving must stop the vehicle while saying the pesukim of Shema and “Baruch sheim” in order to concentrate properly18.

Davening in the Field

14. While under normal circumstances it is forbidden to daven in an open area such as a field19, while traveling however, one may daven in a field provided he davens a distance from the road so that he will not be distracted by other travelers, and provided he checks that there is no filth and the like in the area where he will be davening20. Neither should there be any foul odors.

15. If possible, he should position himself between trees while davening so that he can be a little more closed in. This serves to increase the subdued feelings that are necessary for davening21.

16. If a group of people traveling together want to form a minyan for davening in an open area, they have to be close enough to hear the chazan and also be able to see each other in order to be counted as a minyan.

If there is a path in the field for people to walk through, then it is necessary for the complete minyan to be on one side of the path. If a few are on one side of the path and a few on the other side, even if the other two above-mentioned conditions exist, it is not considered a minyan22.

Shortened davening

17. One who is traveling and unable to recite the complete davening may not start from yishtabach. He must precede it with “Baruch She’amar” and some paragraphs which are in between “Baruch She’amar” and “Yishtabach23.

Shemoneh Esrei

18. When traveling by airplane, bus or other means of transportation where standing during Shemoneh Esrei would make it difficult to concentrate on his tefilah, one may recite the Shemoneh Esrei while sitting. He should however stand up at the places he needs to bow, and bow accordingly. After bowing, he may sit down again. He should also stand up to take the three steps forward at the beginning and the three steps back at the end of Shemoneh Esrei. He does not need to repeat the Shemoneh Esrei in a standing position when he arrives at his destination24.

19. When davening Shemoneh Esrei in a sitting position it is still necessary to keep one’s feet together25 and not lean back or be in a relaxed or reclining position26.

20. Those who regularly say the words “vesaveinu mituvah” in the ninth berachah of Shemoneh Esrei (“Bareich aleinu”) should change it to “mituvecha27”.

21. When one is traveling through dangerous areas where it is not possible to daven Shemoneh Esrei due to his tense emotional state, he should say the following short tefilah, omitting even the first and last three berachos of Shemoneh Esrei. Then upon reaching a place where he is in a relaxed emotional state he should say the Shemoneh Esrei in its full version. The tefilah is as follows: “Tzarchei amcha merubim veda’atam ketzarah, yehi ratzon milfanecha Ado‑nai Elo‑heinu shetitein lechol echad ve’echad kefi parnasasam ulechol gvi’ah ugvi’ah dai machsorah vehatov be’einecha aseih. Baruch Atah Ado‑nai shomei’ah tefilah28” — “The needs of Your people are many and their knowledge is scant, May it be Your Will, G‑d, our G‑d that You should give to each one according to his livelihood and to each person enough to fill what is lacking and You should do what seems fitting to You. Blessed are You, G‑d, who listens to prayer29”.


22. One may lean downward and cover his face with his arm (nefilas apa’im — “falling on one’s face”) while saying the tachanun during one’s travels, even if there is no Sefer Torah or sefarim30.

According to certain opinions this may be done only for shacharis when one is wearing tefilin, but not during minchah31.

Washing for bread

23. As mentioned elsewhere, one should take a washing cup along on his journey in order to wash his hands properly. This is necessary particularly on a trip, since cups are not always available at a rest stop, etc. Washing the hands from a faucet is not considered washing with a keli and is not acceptable since the water comes through pipes.

If necessary, one may even use a paper cup in order to wash his hands for bread32 .

24. When one is traveling and wants to eat bread, he must locate water in order to wash. However, if he knows that there is no water available ahead within the time that it takes to walk a “parsah” (72 minutes) or if he were to turn back, there would be no water in a distance that it would take to walk a “mil” (18 minutes) and he is very hungry, then he may wrap both of his hands with a cloth or put on gloves and eat. The wrapping must reach up to the wrists33.

25. Even if he merely has a doubt whether he will find water within the above-mentioned distances, he may also rely on the above solutions if he is very hungry34.

26. If he doesn’t have a cloth or glove to wrap his hands and he is very hungry, he would be permitted to eat the bread with his bare hands35. However, some question this, saying that it would really be very unusual for a person not to have a single extra cloth or garment with which to wrap his hands36.

One is also permitted to eat the bread with a fork37.

27. Another solution for emergency situations where one will not have water later on to wash his hands for bread: He should wash his hands properly in the morning without reciting the berachah. He stipulates that this washing should be valid for the whole day. He then puts his hands into gloves to protect his hands from touching places that would require a re-washing. The only drawback is that he must constantly be on the alert and not divert his attention from keeping his hands “ritually clean.” Otherwise, he has to wash again.

Even then, if he locates water later, he must wash again without a berachah38.

28. Some authorities permit the dipping of one’s hands into a pile of snow as long as the one pile contains an amount equal to 40 “se’ah” and the hands are completely covered with the snow39.

29. Even though one should not use soda water for washing one’s hands, if he has nothing else to wash with on his trip, one may be lenient and do so40.

As a matter of fact, he may wash with any type of liquid other than wine, but he does not say the berachah. If during the meal he learns that water is available, he must wash again properly41.

30. If one was not able to obtain water and therefore wrapped his hands in cloth or gloves to eat, and further on while eating he learns that water is available, he must interrupt his eating in order to wash properly with a berachah before continuing his meal42.

31. While one should definitely avoid washing his hands in a bathroom, if it is necessary, he should say the berachah and dry his hands outside the bathroom43.

Eating and bentching

32. One must sit while reciting the Birkas Hamazon. However, if due to time constraints, delays or danger he eats his meal while walking, he need not sit for Birkas Hamazon44.

33. When saying the Birkas Hamazon in any type of vehicle including a ship, or in a park, etc. one should omit the words “babayis hazeh ve’al shulchan zeh” — “in this house and on this table” and instead say “Harachaman...berachah merubah bema’aseh yadeinu bechol iskeinu” — “The Merciful One... abundant blessing in the work of our hands in all our occupations45.”

Minhag Chabad does not make any changes.

34. If one does not have a printed text of the Birkas Hamazon, he should say by heart whichever berachos he knows, even if it is not the complete text. If several people are traveling together and among the various people they know all the berachos, then the person who knows the first berachah by heart should say it aloud intending to include the others, and the others should listen attentively and answer amen. The same procedure should be followed with the other berachos46.

35. If there are non-Jews around when he is bentching, he should add the words “b’nei bris47  after the word “yevoreich osanu48  in the Harachaman section49.

Keri’as Shema before retiring for the night

36. See Chapter 9, Halochos 6 and 7.


37. One is permitted to drink coffee when the hot water was boiled by a non-Jew and the Jew mixed the coffee together with the water. Similarly one may drink coffee from a vending machine [that does not dispense any non-kosher drinks, such as hot soups, and the like]50.

38. One may even drink black coffee which is made by the non-Jew, as is available at many stopover gas bars, on an occasional basis. The kashrus of any additional ingredients, such as creamer or milk, needs to be verified51.

39. One may drink water, soda, or other liquids which contain no kashrus problems at coffee shops, luncheonette counters, and the like, even if the drinking utensils were not immersed in a mikveh52.

However, there can still be a problem with using their coffee mugs, etc. since they are generally washed together with the other utensils which are used for non-kosher food. One may, if necessary, be lenient with glass utensils, since glass does not absorb. Ideally, one should use disposable cups when drinking at a place that serves non-kosher foods.

40. One who is generally careful to eat only baked goods produced with a Jew involved in the baking process (pas Yisrael) should avoid eating other breads (i.e. kosher bread that was baked by a non-Jew) while traveling if he knows that pas Yisrael is available within the next “parsah53.

As we discussed earlier (#24) concerning the waiting time for washing hands with water, here too, the “parsah” refers to the time that it would take to walk this distance (i.e. 72 minutes).

41. If the only baked goods that are available are those that are baked by a non-Jew for personal use (pas akum) and there are no kashrus problems, these breads may be consumed while traveling54.

42. One should not take for granted any kashrus label, especially when visiting cities that have local supervisions. One should inquire about any unfamiliar kashrus certification: the identity of the authorizing rabbi, his background and standards and so on. One should be especially careful when it comes to purchasing meat products and not rely on the say-so of the vendor, chef, or butcher55.

Maris Ayin

43. One does not have to be concerned with maris ayin while traveling in regard to stopping at non-kosher restaurants to use their washroom facilities, buy coffee or soda, use the telephone, and the like.