1. It’s Known as Tefilat Haderech

Known as Tefilat Haderech (“Prayer for the Way”), the traveler’s prayer is a single paragraph that we say when setting out on a journey. In it, we ask for a peaceful and successful trip.

2. It’s Recorded in the Talmud

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

May it be Your will, L‑rd my G‑d, to lead me to peace, direct my steps to peace, and guide me to peace, and rescue me from the hands of any enemy or ambush along the way, and send blessing to the work of my hands, and let me find grace, kindness, and compassion in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see me. Blessed are You, L‑rd, Who hears prayer.1

Read the Full Text of the Travelers Prayer

3. It’s (Almost All) in Plural

Although the text in the Talmud is written in the singular first person (with words like “me” and “my”), the common text found 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 is best to pray not just for oneself but for anyone else who may also be in need.2

Interestingly, in many versions, there is one phrase which is still said in the singular: and let me find grace, kindness, and compassion in Your eyes.

Why is that? A mysterious work of Kabbalah, Sefer Hakanah, provides a mystical spin on the prayer. According to this interpretation, we use plural language to include the angels who accompany and assist us. However, the prayer for grace is said in the singular, since it is only we humans who actually exert effort to serve and please G‑d.3

Read: What Are Angels?

4. The Prayer Should Be Said After Leaving the City Limits

The ideal time to say the prayer is after one has left the city limits, defined not according to municipal boundaries but when the houses are far apart. In modern cityscapes this happens once one has left the suburbs and entered rural countryside.4

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

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

5. It’s Modified if Returning the Same Day

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

6. It Should Be Said Every Morning of a Long Trip

If you are taking a multi-leg trip, you should say the prayer every morning as you set out.5 If you are staying at your destination for some time before returning, the Chabad practice is to say the prayer every morning but without mentioning G‑d’s name.6

Read: When to Say Tefilat Haderech?

7. It’s Ideal (But not Necessary) to Stop

The Talmud tells us that some sages were particular to stand in one place when saying this prayer, while others were not.7 Thus, while it would be ideal to stop one’s vehicle to say the prayer at the start of a road trip, one may do so while driving (in a safe manner)8 if stopping entails inconvenience.9 This is especially so when traveling by air, when stopping the plane is impossible.

Read: How to Say Tefilat Haderech