Halachos pertaining to the trip to Rebbe Nachman’s Tomb on Rosh Hashanah
By HaRav Shimon Anshin, Shlit”a – Rosh Hashana 5770
1. One may leave for Uman during the night as the injunction of departing on a journey ‘b’chi tov’ (day time) does not pertain to a journey which fulfills a Torah precept.
2. One may leave after day break for the same reason. When doing so however, it is best to recite the morning blessings first, and if leaving less than 50 minutes before sunrise, to recite Krias Shema.
1. One should make every effort to have someone accompany him at least 4 amot (~6 feet) from one’s door. Chazal says that one who is accompanied 4 amot at the beginning of his journey, is protected from injury on that journey. If those accompanying cannot leave the house, they can accompany him 4 amot towards the door.
2. The traveler should be wished to go TO peace and not IN peace.
3. One who has not yet davened, may only come to wish the traveler a safe journey if he intends to do the dvar mitzvah of accompaniment as well.
The Wayfarer’s Prayer:
1. If there is 4 kilometers of uninhabited area on the way to the airport, Tefilat Haderech should be recited on the way to the airport while having in mind that the recital is for the plane trip as well.
2. If there isn’t a 4 kilometer uninhabited area on the way to the airport, one should say Tefilat Haderech on the plane immediately before going down the takeoff runway. One who recited the prayer earlier fulfilled his obligation. If one did not say the tefillah before takeoff, one should say it as soon as possible.
3. One who recited the standard Tefilat Haderech, may recite the special prayer composed for air travel.
4. If travel lasts for more than one day and one sleeps in a bed at night, the prayer should be recited again when traveling the next day. If one slept, but not on a bed, the prayer should be said up to but not including the blessing at the end.
5. One should learn Torah on the way or at least recite Tehillim. As Chazal says, “One who travels and turns his heart to emptiness…
Tallit and Tefillin:
1. One should take his Tallit and Tefillin as carry-on luggage so that they are always available. One never knows what situations can arise when traveling.
2. If the bag holding the Tallit and Tefillin has the dimensions of a square tefach, it may be placed on the floor.
3. It is forbidden to sit on a suitcase that is holding Tefillin, unless one is doing so to prevent the theft of the Tefillin.
Sleeping on the way:
When sleeping in one’s clothes, care should be taken not to use one’s clothes as a pillow, as this causes forgetfulness. If there is something between one’s head and the clothes, then it is acceptable.
Washing hands upon waking:
1. One who inadvertently falls asleep on a chair at night, is not obligated to wash one’s hands, but it is preferable to do so. If he intentionally fell asleep, he must wash his hands. If there is no cup available, one may wash without one. One may wash in the airplane bathroom.
2. If one does not have water and would like to learn, he may wipe his hands on a towel – provided he wipes the entire hand – front, back and between the fingers until the wrist. B’dieved one may wipe only the fingers until the palm of one’s hand. This is just for cleanliness and does not remove the ‘bad spirit’ – but one should not refrain from Torah learning due to an inability to wash one’s hands.
3. One sleeping on the top of a bunk bed is not required to have the water brought to him. He can come down in order to wash his hands even though he is traversing 4 amot.
Eating prior to dawn:
1. It is forbidden to eat more than the size of an egg’s volume of food for half an hour prior to daybreak. The Zohar mentions that one should not eat from midnight as well. After daybreak it is forbidden to eat even less than an egg’s volume of food. One who was eating before the half an hour started, can continue to eat until daybreak.
2. Special care should be taken regarding this halachah since on an airplane one is not always aware when daybreak is approaching.
3. A weak person may eat. Everyone is allowed to drink.
4. On Tzom Gedalia, since one will not be eating the entire day, one may eat during the half an hour before the fast, but it is preferable to plan in advance to eat before the half an hour prior to daybreak.
Earliest Davening times:
1. Korbonos – preferably after daybreak but may be recited at night.
2. Parshas haKiyor and Terumas haDeshen – may be recited at night leChatchila.
3. The blessing on the Torah – If one slept in a bed at night he may recite these blessings as soon as he wakes up even if it is before midnight. If one only fell asleep in a haphazard way, i.e. on his chair – there is no need to recite the blessings on the Torah upon waking up in the middle of the night.
4. Elokay Neshomo, blessing for washing hands and blessing on using the bathroom – It is always best to wait until morning prayers to recite these blessings. If one did not sleep on a bed, one should not recite these blessings until he uses the bathroom.
5. Morning Blessings – From Midnight.
6. Pesukei d’Zimra – From daybreak.
7. Krias Shma and it’s blessings – 50 minutes prior to sunrise.
8. Shemona Esrei – Preferably after sunrise, but when one is under pressure they may be recited from daybreak.
9. The exact time of daybreak – this is not clear and changes from place to place. If one is in a pressured situation he may rely on the opinion of 72 minutes prior to sunrise.
10. Halachic times on an airplane – There is much debate on this topic. Here are some guidelines:
a. It is not considered night time until it is dark outside the plane. (If one prayed the evening prayers earlier, he has fulfilled his obligation since one may pray evening prayers prior to nighttime.)
b. For morning times one should wait until the times as they are listed on the ground, except for Shemoneh Esrei which may be recited as soon as there is light on the plane.
c. On the fast of Tzom Gedalia one should not eat from when there is light in the plane until it is dark on the plane.
When to pray when flying at night:
1. If one knows he will have a minyan to daven with properly within the time allotted for Shacharit on the plane – even if he will need to sit down while davening – one should wait until then.
2. If not, wait until 50 minutes before sunrise. In extenuating circumstances one may start at dawn. (It is preferable to use the calculation of 72 minutes before sunrise.)
3. It is better to pray Mincha Gedola under normal circumstances than Mincha Ketana at the airport.
4. One should try to arrange his flights in a way that disturbances to prayer are minimized as much as possible.
Davening on a plane:
1. One must sit down while davening on a plane or train. Legs should be placed together and one should not lean back on the seat, but sit upright supporting oneself.
2. The only exception is if there exists a quiet corner where one will be able to concentrate.
3. One must take care not to pray where there are women who are not dressed properly. If this is the case, he should turn to a different side as much as possible and shut his eyes tightly while praying.
4. Similarly, one must take care not to pray or learn Torah opposite a bathroom or a soiled area.
Sitting and walking near someone who is in the middle of prayer:
1. It is forbidden to sit within a 4 amah radius of someone who is praying, unless the one who is sitting is praying or learning himself. In front of someone praying one may not sit as far as the person praying can see. Even if the one sitting wishes to pray or learn, there are those who forbid sitting down in front of one who is praying.
2. One may not traverse in front of one who is praying. If there is a partition between the one praying and the one traversing and the one praying has his eyes closed, there is room to be lenient. Furthermore, you may traverse in front of one praying if you need to go to the bathroom. But upon return, you should wait until he finishes praying. To hear Shofar, one may traverse in front of someone who is in the middle of prayer. In a pressurized situation, the Eishel Avrohom permits traversing if the one praying has his eyes closed.
3. The Benches in the Kloiz would be considered partitions for our purposes since they are 10 tefachim high and are ‘permanent’. However, unfortunately there is an empty space of 3 tefochim at the bottom of the benches and thus they cannot be considered partitions. The Gabbaim of the Kloiz would do us a great favor if they were to put something in that space to diminish the 3 tefach area. Leisting or a well knotted string would suffice.
4. On a plane, one may continue to sit near one who started to pray since a plane is not a designated place of prayer. One may possibly even be able to sit down after his neighbor started praying, since the chairs are partitions. In either case, one may not pass in front of one praying, or push him.
1. Even though the rolls are often labeled ‘mezonos’, if one is eating the food in the tray, he needs to wash, make Hamotzi and recite Birkat Hamazon. (According to the Mishna Berura and most poskim, one needs to do this even if he is not eating the entire meal.)
2. The difficulty in washing on the plane is not a valid reason not to wash. ‘The Wise has eyes in his head’ and when he sees the crew getting ready to serve the food, he should wash when it is still easy to move around and afterwards, wait in his seat, taking care to keep his hands clean until the meal is served.
3. If it is still very difficult, there is an option to first eat whatever is in the tray, and make a ‘post blessing’ on that food, and only then to eat the roll. (According to most poskim, this too does not remove the requirement to wash.)
4. One must ensure that the hot food tray has 2 sealed coverings as the ovens in which the food is cooked is completely treif. Without 2 coverings, any food cooked in the oven becomes treif as well.
Lighting Candles on Shabbat and Yom Tov
1. There are two requirements with regards to candle lighting: a) the act of lighting (one fulfills this obligation through one’s wife’s lighting – provided she lights at their home and not at a neighbor, family, etc. ) b) eating and sleeping in a place that has light.
2. If one’s wife is definitely lighting in their home and the place where one is eating and sleeping has lights, one has no obligation to light candles. If there is no light where one is eating and sleeping, even when his wife lights at home, he must light with a blessing.
3. If his wife is not lighting at home then:
a. If he is eating and sleeping in one place he should light there with a blessing. If eating in a public area he should light where he is sleeping and make sure the candles can stay lit until he comes back to sleep.
b. If there is light in the room he is sleeping in, but he wants to fulfill the obligation with candles lit in the dining room – he should ask someone lighting there to give him a portion in the candles (he should preferably hear the blessings from the one who is lighting.) If candles were bought from monies given by the public for the food, there is no need to ask for a special portion in the candles. In any case, candles lit in a dining hall should be placed in a central place where they contribute to the honor and enjoyment of Yom Tov.
4. An unmarried person has the status of someone who does not have his wife lighting for him, even if his father is with him.
5. In a room with many people – one should light and designate a portion of the candles for each person there.
6. The time to light is no earlier than ‘plag minchah’ (1 ½ seasonal hours before sunset). If one lights before candle lighting time – one must accept the onset of Shabbat then. If lighting at the designated time, there is no need to accept Shabbat then.
7. If one does not have access to a candle, he can use electrical lights. If they are already on, he should turn them off and then on again having the honor of Shabbat or Yom Tov in mind.
1. Make sure that all muktzeh items are removed from your luggage before Shabbat or Yom Tov, otherwise one needs to ask a Rov how to proceed with moving the luggage.
2. Passports, tickets etc. are muktzeh.
3. Food cards are not muktzeh and are not considered ‘business documents’.
Requesting work by a non-Jew:
One should ask a Rov in all cases how and when it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to work on Shabbat or Yom Tov.
Preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next:
It is prohibited to prepare from one day of Yom Tov to the next until nightfall. At nightfall even before Kiddush, one can say “Boruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh” and prepare that which needs to be prepared for the second day.
Using a goy’s vessels:
Ideally one should not use anything that belongs to a goy. However since the tables, countertops, fridge and gas range must be used if one is renting a goy’s flat, the following guidelines apply:
a. On the table, kitchen counters and fridge – some nylon or aluminum foil should be spread to completely cover the area being used.
b. Gas ranges – these must be covered completely and the grid must be covered a few times over as well. Kashering the range is NOT an option.
c. Be sure to cut as much aluminum foil as you will need – BEFORE YOM TOV.
Meat left unsupervised:
If a Jew is ‘coming and going’ (i.e. has access and makes use of that access regularly) into and out of the place where the meat was left unsupervised, we do not suspect that the goy who came in switched the meat.
1. If a goy touches wine with his hand or a utensil, or tastes the wine, or picks up and shakes an open bottle of wine – the wine becomes forbidden as Yayin Nesech. If he only moved the bottle, there is room for leniency where we are speaking about a large monetary loss.
2. A closed bottle has no Yayin Nesech issues.
3. If an open bottle was left open where goyim are about – if the goy has reason to believe that the Jew can come in at any moment, there is no yayin nesech issue.
4. ‘Cooked wine’ does not have yayin nesech issues. Pasteurized grape juice is NOT considered cooked, although there are lenient poskim.
5. One should not consume anything produced locally based on rumor and hearsay that such and such is kosher. A thorough investigation needs to be made into each item, especially since we are in the 10 days of Teshuva where even some things that are permitted by the strict letter of the law, are refrained from.
Placing food under the bed:
1. Ideally no food should be placed under a bed, even if it is sealed and no one is sleeping there. If food was placed under a bed – one who eats that food has one to rely on. Food which was sealed is easier to permit if it was left under a bed and even more so if left under a bed that was not being slept on.
2. There are poskim who permit food to be placed under the upper bed of a bunk bed. Some poskim maintain that if someone other than the owner of the food placed the food under the bed, there is no bad spirit.
Theft of a non-Jew:
Unquestionably forbidden. Some opinions maintain that this is a biblical prohibition.
Theft of sleep:
One must take extra care to avoid this; especially on the Yemei haDin.
1. Items which are shatnez prone – MUST be checked before wearing. All Ukrainian clothes are Shatnez prone.
2. Mattresses are not shatnez prone. If the mattress is hard and does not bend at all – one may place linen on the mattress even in the case where it is uncertain as to whether or not shatnez exists in the mattress. (Some poskim permit such a mattress even when it is certainly shatnez)
3. Blankets – need to be checked for shatnez.
THERE WILL BE A SHATNEZ LABORATORY NEAR THE TZIYUN.
The Blessing of Magen Avot (said Friday night)
This blessing should only be said in a place designated for davening that has a Sefer Torah as well. Therefore, those davening on Friday night in an apartment should not say Magen Avot. However, if the apartment is used year in and year out for davening on Rosh Hashanah – and if there is a Sefer Torah – the blessing should be said. Even without a Sefer Torah, some poskim maintain that Magen Avot should be recited in such a place.
If one is not sure if the apartment is used year in and year out – the blessing should not be recited.
As this is a translation of the original Hebrew, if you unclear on any of the Laws outlined herein in any way whatsoever, please consult with a Posek (Halachic Authority).