Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Postscript on the IET (Incendiary Explosive Tefillin)

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 8:03 am

New Voices interviews the Tefillin Bomber. Chabad sees it as a bonanza! I feel it is appropriate to review how one reconciles safety and davening when 40,000 feet in the air. Hat tip to Gil Student at Hirhurim

Guidance from Poskim Regarding Prayers During the Flight

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ob”m:

While praying on a flight it is preferable to sit.

A person praying on his own during a flight: if there is a chance that this will bother others, it is preferable to sit (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ob”m. Igros Moshe Orach Chaim, 4, 20.)Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ob”m:

Shemoneh Esrei should be recited in one’s seat.

In the sefer Halichos Shlomo, by Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ob”m, we found direct guidelines on the practical applications of prayers during the flight: “One praying on a flight should recite the Shemoneh Esrei while sitting in his seat and not standing in the aisles, where he can disturb those wishing to pass. In any case, the Rav was not supportive of conducting minyanim during a flight, because it disturbs the rest of the passengers around them” (Halichos Shlomo, p. 95)Response from Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, author of the Shevet Halevi:

One can pray Shemoneh Esrei while seated in his seat.

When the light goes on, one must sit down, even in the middle of his prayers I was asked regarding prayer arrangements in mid-flight. One should refrain from praying in large groups; it is preferable to pray in small groups in the seating area, as long as there is no problem of indecent exposure. The same is true for Shemoneh Esrei. If there is a possibility of standing beside one’s seat, not in the aisles. then that is preferable. If this is not possible, because the aisle is narrow or it bothers other passengers, the Shemoneh Esrei prayer can be recited while seated. In any case, if the “fasten seatbelts” sign goes on, one should immediately sit down in his place and continue Shemoneh Esrei while seated. If a group is praying when the seatbelts sign goes on, they should immediately obey with no delay, even if they are in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei. (From a response to El Al.)Guidance from Rabbi Yitzchak Silberstein, rav of Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak:

A. When the captain of the flight decides that passengers must sit and fasten their seatbelts because of a risk of danger, one must obey and sit down, even if he is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei.

B. If one refuses to obey these instructions, it seems that he does not fulfill the obligation of tefillah because it is considered a mitzvah haba b’aveirah (a mitzvah performed through a sin), about which Chazal teach that one does not fulfill his obligations. He also brings about derision of the Torah by others and effects a chillul Hashem.

C. There is no transgression in the act of sitting down. One must only refrain from talking, but he may sit down.

D. When one sits down, he should stop praying and wait several minutes until it is possible to return to where he was standing and continue praying. Even if the amount of time that passes exceeds toch kdei dibbur, there is no hefsek in the act of sitting, and after the break one can continue praying. (From a response to El Al; also published in the Kanfei Ruach booklet).

There you have it! Most Poskim argue that the comfort of others is more important than your Tefila experience when on an airplane.  It is always amazing to me when are the times when people can’t wait to invoke the Gedolim and when they don’t hesitate to ignore them. Not to mention how many women have to brush up against the minyanaires just to use the toilet.  The joys of confinement with the Klei Kodesh.


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