n modern times, most people move around everyday from one place to another in a number of ways; by car, bus, taxi, ship or airplane. Whenever we leave our home in Jerusalem and the distance to the next place is more than four kilometers, we recite the traveler’s prayer – t’filat haderech – תפילת הדרך.
The origin of this prayer can be found in the Babylonian Talmud:
“אמר רב חסדא כל היוצא לדרך צריך להתפלל תפלת הדרך”
“Rabbi Hisdah said: all who goes to the road must pray (for it) the traveler’s prayer”(Bavli, Berachot 29:2)
This prayer is said every day when you leave your city or when you feel you are in danger far away from someone that can help. You may say this prayer only on “regular” days – not Shabbat or festivals. If you are sailing by ship or flying on an airplane the prayer is adjusted slightly. Let’s look at the beginning of this prayer:
” יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ וֵא-לֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶתּוֹלִיכֵנוּ לְשָלוֹם וְתַצְעִידֵנוּ לְשָלוֹם. וְתִסְמְכֵנוּ לְשָלוֹם. וְתַדְרִיכֵנוּ לְשָלוֹם. וְתַגִיעֵנוּ לִמְחוֹז חֶפְצֵנוּ לְחַיִּים וּלְשִֹמְחָה וּלְשָלוֹם…”
“May it be Your will, LORD, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace…”
The prayer is written in plural form and the central word of it is peace – Shalom-שָלוֹם.
May you all have peace in your life, on your way to or from your home, and also in your home as well.
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