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Does One Recite Tefilat Ha’derech Before a Short Flight?

Hacham Ovadia Yosef was of the opinion (as discussed in Ma’ayan Omer) that if a person is traveling by air, and the trip is longer than 72 minutes, then he recites Tefilat Ha’derech (the wayfarer’s prayer), with the complete text, including the concluding Beracha.

Interestingly, however, when somebody once approached the Hacham before a 40-minute flight and asked whether he should recite Tefilat Ha’derech, Hacham Ovadia replied that he should. He explained that although the flight itself was only 40 minutes, the time needed to travel to the airport is included in the total travel time with respect to the Tefilat Ha’derech obligation. And so even if a flight is only 30 or 40 minutes long, the traveler would still be required to recite Tefilat Ha’derech if the entire trip, including the ride to the airport, is 72 minutes or longer. In most cases, then, one would, indeed, be required to recite Tefilat Ha’derech before a short flight, because the time needed to reach the airport is taken into account. (For example, driving to JFK Airport from Flatbush takes around 20 minutes, and to LaGuardia Airport, around 40 minutes.)

Summary: If a person is taking a short flight, but together with the time needed to drive to the airport the trip is at least 72 minutes, then he recites Tefilat Ha’derech.


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