Forget the anxiety of leaving the kids and/or dog behind or packing for every possibility or whether to leave lights on for security. The biggest worry many of us have is whether we will get there safely. Fortunately, Judaism has us covered.

When you think the old country... is Brooklyn.

The Traveler's Prayer

Recite The Original Or Say It In Your Own Words

The Traveler’s Prayer or “Tefilat Ha’derekh” asks for safe travel. There are some sweet ideas in this prayer.

  • You can either read the original text, which is below, or you can say something in your own words. (The Rabbis of Old said that you could say it in your own words if you didn’t know it by heart.)
  • Say your blessing in the plural. It’s said that if a person prays on behalf of others as well, his prayers are more readily accepted. This  prayer is especially meant to be said in the plural as a mitzvah, as there are always others preparing to travel at the same time.
  • Even if we just listen to someone else saying a blessing and we say, “amen,” it counts.

If you want to recite the traditional Traveler’s Prayer, here it is:

May it be Your will, God, our God and the God of our fathers, that You should lead us in peace and direct our steps in peace, and guide us in peace, and support us in peace, and cause us to reach our destination in life, joy, and peace (If you intend to return immediately add this: and return us in peace). Save us from every enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts on the trip, and from all kinds of punishments that rage and come to the world. May You confer blessing upon the work of our hands and grant me grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us, and bestow upon us abundant kindness and hearken to the voice of our prayer, for You hear the prayers of all. Blessed are You God, who hearkens to prayer.

Here is a modern take on it:

So may it be that we arrive at our destination safely. May we be free from hurt and harm along the way. May our travels open our eyes, not only to new sights, but to new ideas. May we meet people who teach us and be given the chance to be teachers as well. May we remember that every part of a journey, even the ones that are not planned, are part of the experience. So when a flight is missed, a reservation is lost, a night goes by without any sleep, a credit card is stolen, the weather is not what we packed for, a language is misunderstood, a car doesn’t come, a museum is closed, food is not what you thought you ordered, an exchange rate is surprising, a stranger is rude, or a stranger is beautifully kind, it is all part of the journey. May we remember that when we travel our hearts can give us as much direction as our GPS. May we find it in our hearts to be open to the wonder of new places so that when we return home we are wiser. Amen.

For those who are more observant, there are many rules associated with Jewish prayer during travel, such as when to pray (there are even rules about whether land or ocean is below you if you are on a plane!), who to pray with, how to pray under all circumstances, whether the trip is kosher in the first place, etc.  

There's a prayer for leaving and returning. Like trip insurance but free.

From Summer Camp To Worldwide Travel

Travel Is Encouraged!

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, a spiritual leader in Germany in the 19th century, decided to make a trip to Switzerland by foot to see the Alps when he was quite old. He felt that God wanted people to see and enjoy the beautiful things life has to offer. But it was quite difficult for him to travel so his students were trying to talk him out of the dangerous journey. He explained that he was going because soon he would be arriving in heaven and wanted to be ready when God asked him, “So, Samson, what did you think of my Alps?”

First, summer camp in the mountains. Next, the world.

Shaliach Mitzvah

Making Travel A Mitzvah!

Shaliach Mitzvah is a beautiful Jewish custom passed down over many generations. The idea is to give money to someone who is about to travel. The traveler then takes the money with the intention of giving it to someone in need at the destination. According to the sages, someone who is en route to perform a mitzvah, in this case giving charity, gets extra protection.

Pre-Judaism, days off weren't a thing. You're welcome.

Travel Readings

Israel’s Place In History

-David Ben-Gurion

Yes, it can be a complicated place, but we think Israel is the most amazing country on the globe. There is not a street corner that is not rich with history! The people are fabulous, the food, without equal, the art, the scenery, it is bursting with passion. Enjoy!

First line: We have always been a small people numerically and we shall remain a small people, unable to compete with our rivals in population, territory, natural resources and strength of armed forces. Last line: And there are few countries which have played so central a role in world history as the Land of Israel…

A JewBelong Travel Prayer

-A JewBelong Original

First line: So may it be that we arrive at our destination safely. Last line: May we find it in our hearts to be open to the wonder of new places so that when we return home we are wiser. Amen…

See 2 Travel Readings

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