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Manchester, UK - Rabbi: Don't Pray With Minyan On a Plane

Published on: November 19, 2009 04:46 PM
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Manchester, UK - Flying can pose all sorts of challenges, none more so than for those who are meticulous about saying their prayers at the right time of day.

A Manchester rabbi reportedly told a meeting that it is better to pray in your seat rather than risk a disruption by standing in the aisle.

He was unavailable for comment ...because he was flying when the JC tried to contact him.

But a member of his audience said that he had been concerned about the impression made on potential passengers, especially if Jews simply got up and tried to pray in a minyan.

One rabbi who could be reached, Yitzchak Shochet, the chairman of the United Synagogue’s Rabbinical Council, believed it had become more difficult to pray in a group on board.

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“The airlines don’t like people congregating in the back of the plane any more,” he said. “People have become more sensitive about it since 9/11.”

But he added that recently: “My son was flying back from New York to London and he wanted to get a minyan for ma’ariv (the evening service). Initially, they were reluctant but he said ‘We’ll be quick’, and they let him go ahead.”

One senior rabbinic figure, Dayan Yitzchak Berger of the Manchester Beth Din, took the view that if you want to hold an on-board minyan, permission is needed, not only from the crew, but also from neighboring passengers.

“If anyone objects, then you sit and daven in your seat,” he said. “One has got to think not only of oneself and one’s religious observances, but one has got to think of others.”

A few weeks ago, Dayan Berger was waiting for a flight from Tel Aviv to the UK when a man wanted a minyan to say kaddish. The problem was that passengers to London would still have time for the morning service on arrival, but the requisite hour would have passed for those going on to Manchester.

The dayan’s solution was an abbreviated service at the departure gate.

EasyJet, which recently started flying to Israel, said that it would permit a minyan after the cabin crew’s in-flight service, “although this has not happened on our flights yet”, a spokeswoman said.


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Read Comments (57)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:04 PM Seriously? Says:

What a breath of fresh air this Rabbi is. I only wish the community I grew up in (and have since moved away from) had more Rabbis like him who care about fellow people and aren't just interested in how long a woman's skirt is or if someone has a tv in their house..... Kol HaKavod to the Rabbi.

2

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:11 PM Eli Says:

My Rosh Yeshiva and Mashgiach in my Yeshiva in Israel would daven by themselves in their seats on flights to/from America, rather than stand haphazard in the back, while the stewardesses try to squeeze their carts past or people try to go to the bathroom. Besides the issue of being considerate to others, I think their main reasoning was that it was practically impossible to daven with kavanah in such a setup, and therefore, better to daven b'yechidus than attempt a minyan on the plane.

3

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:04 PM Anonymous Says:

I used to fly to israel I never davened with minyan

4

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:32 PM knowitall Says:

The minyanim on a plane cause a chilul hashem. It inconveniences the crew and other passengers. Besides, I fail to see how it is possible to daven with any sembelance of Kavanah when 25 people are squeezed into an 8' x 4' area and always have to move when someone needs the bathroom or to access the food service station.

5

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Wat does one do when travelling in a car or on a bus? yes, they sit and pray even shemonei esrei. nowhere does it say to make a chillul Hashem and daven with a minyan especially when people need to pass to use bathroom or crew have hard time pushing their carts round. thank you rabbi for bringing this up.

6

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:33 PM Anonymous Says:

There is a security risk with davening with minyan. If a plane is high jacked, you want everyone to be sitting and only the terrorists running around. It makes the job for sky marshals much easier. Having groups of people blocking pathways creates confusion, delay for response in case of emeregency.

7

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:33 PM Anonymous Says:

I never fly and I don't davven with a Minyan.

8

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:28 PM Daven like a mensch Says:

" but he said ‘We’ll be quick’, and they let him go ahead.” "

What kind of davening is that? Speed-davening?

9

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:21 PM Anonymous Says:

the klausenberg rav zatzal and harav vosner paskened the same psak years ago

10

 Nov 19, 2009 at 06:26 PM according to halacha Says:

if you look in hilchos tefila in shulchan aruch, you will see that in many cases you are not even obligated to daven while traveling, never mind with a minyan....

11

 Nov 19, 2009 at 06:13 PM ann Says:

The Bobover Rebbe Zatzal Reb Shlome davened Shmone Esre sitting when flying, so he could concentrate what he was davening.

12

 Nov 19, 2009 at 06:52 PM Chaim Braun Says:

I'm sure there is a big heter to daven beyechidus!
However today airlines are treined to respect religious coustoms.
I just flew from Phily to TLV. The stuardes actually came to us if we want to pray now cause now the back cabin was empty!!!! Emagine that,

Why daven beyechidus anyway in a plane u got no plane to catch!! HA HA

13

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Dayan berger happens to be the av beis din of manchester, and is a great tsadik and posek and a wonderful person to know, I had the privilege of consulting on many issues and as a came away wowed by his knowledge and friendliness and most of his humilty

14

 Nov 19, 2009 at 06:09 PM Obamanation Says:

R' shloma Zalman also sead to davin in the seat.

15

 Nov 19, 2009 at 06:01 PM anon Says:

I once flew on delta to israel and was getting ready top daven at my seat when the steward approached me that there was a minyan starting in the kitchen in the rear of the plane.
It would seem that a boeing 777 is somewhat condusive to having a minyan (with permission, of course) and out of everyone's way. I see no way this can be accomplished on a 747.

16

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:55 PM Anonymous Says:

When IS something considered a Chillul Hashem? Davening with Tefillin beyechidus on a plan can also be a Chillul Hashem...no?

17

 Nov 19, 2009 at 05:53 PM dhcr Says:

I only daven with a minyan if there are 10 ppl ready to go b4 it gets busy and doesnt bother anyone. Otherwise I agree that the bathroomm use and the chilul hashem are not worth it. I hate watching ppl take over the place. On a lighter note I was flying once with a Birthright Group on board and got up early as I mentioned - there were many guys who did the same + one girl who also went to the back put on her tallis and teffilin and started to daven btzibur - what a sight it was - this was a first for many of the Chareidim standing there! Needless to say she was able to clear out that whole side of the plane until she was finished!
Wonder if any of those guys travel with Egged!

18

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:05 PM abe Says:

rabbi berger was a very close talmid of the klausenberg Rav

19

 Nov 19, 2009 at 08:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
anon Says:

I once flew on delta to israel and was getting ready top daven at my seat when the steward approached me that there was a minyan starting in the kitchen in the rear of the plane.
It would seem that a boeing 777 is somewhat condusive to having a minyan (with permission, of course) and out of everyone's way. I see no way this can be accomplished on a 747.

Many years ago, my uncle, who was an airline mechanic for El Al, was asked by the pilot to check why the plane was tilting to one side during the flight. He walked to the passenger cabin and saw that there was a large minyan in one aisle. He then said, "Rabbosai, one minyan there, another there, the third over there!"

20

 Nov 19, 2009 at 08:47 PM shmiel glassman Says:

a few points
1. common sense & a " mishkal hachasidus" not all flights ,& situations are equal & of course kovod habriyos is a preequisite.
2. most people davening w/ a minyan on the plane do it because tefila betzibur is very important to them . theres no other reason
3. i have not flown much but i must say that these minyanim are always an inspiration filled with yidden of all stripes who want to do ratzon hashem even if its uncomfortable
4. even if you feel that its better to daven in your seat be proud of your talis & tefillin if you need some inspiration LOOK OUT THE WINDOW "ureu mee boro aileh"
5. the comments mentioning the stewards accomodations are a result of the brave yiddin in years past that were "oz kanemer laasos retzon hashem" & the blessing of living in america

21

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:59 PM Anonymous Says:

The Minchas Yitzchok also Pasked to Daven alone on flight

22

 Nov 19, 2009 at 09:06 PM Anonymous Says:

As noted in many of the prior comments, virtually every competent posek and rav who has spoken on the matter says that there is NO chiyuv to daven with a minyan on an airplane and there is even a question of whether one can skip davening entirely until they arrive at their destination. Certainly, one is more than yotzeh any chiyuv by davening quietly while seated (including saying the shmoneh esreh).

23

 Nov 19, 2009 at 08:52 PM awacs Says:

Doesn't anyone find it a little bit peculiar that the article quotes "a Manchester Rabbi" without naming him?

24

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:39 PM not nogaya Says:

Common sense, besides Halacha dictates that it is better to daven w/o a minyan than with one if one will automaticaly come to touching the stewardesses as they squeeze by.

25

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:36 PM Anonymous Says:

There's another psak no one here has mentioned so far: that davening with a minyan adds additional danger, because one might be in the middle of something important (say, the amidah) when the plane hits turbulance. At that point, you have to return to your seat, but if you're davening with a minyan, you might be tempted not to, which would be assur.

26

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
dhcr Says:

I only daven with a minyan if there are 10 ppl ready to go b4 it gets busy and doesnt bother anyone. Otherwise I agree that the bathroomm use and the chilul hashem are not worth it. I hate watching ppl take over the place. On a lighter note I was flying once with a Birthright Group on board and got up early as I mentioned - there were many guys who did the same + one girl who also went to the back put on her tallis and teffilin and started to daven btzibur - what a sight it was - this was a first for many of the Chareidim standing there! Needless to say she was able to clear out that whole side of the plane until she was finished!
Wonder if any of those guys travel with Egged!

I agree,
It's creates such a Chillul Hashem for yiden to get up and take ove the plane without consideration to fellow passengers. The Mishna in Brachot clearly states that if you're traveling you may say a short prayer or that you can daven sitting on a tree, etc.

27

 Nov 19, 2009 at 07:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Seriously? Says:

What a breath of fresh air this Rabbi is. I only wish the community I grew up in (and have since moved away from) had more Rabbis like him who care about fellow people and aren't just interested in how long a woman's skirt is or if someone has a tv in their house..... Kol HaKavod to the Rabbi.

Here they go again - I am amazed how people always use their fargrebte "daas Bal habayis" (non daas Torah) and think yiddishkeit is based on their way of thinking. What does the issue of davening on planes got to do with the length of women's dresses? I also agree that we should behave in a way that always causes a kidush hashem, and of course not ch"v a chilul hashem (based on halacha and not on the modern orthodox agenda of being mainstream..) But, are you saying that tznius is not important? If aJewish woman looks like a magazine model - that is not a chilul hashem? "Toras hashem Temimmu" - the Torah given by G-d is whole, meaning you can't pick in choose. So to sum it up; if you live your life according to G-d's Torah, then you better behave like a mentch wherever you happen to be, and make sure you are dressed like one of the chosen people. If you are female that includes wearing a dress that covers your knees. If you don't like it, choose a diferrent relegion, but don't tell our rabbis what's important and what's not/

28

 Nov 19, 2009 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

I think this is the first VIN article on a matter of halacha in years, where just about every comment agrees with the psak of the rav whose views are discussed in the article. Maybe moishiach is coming after all.

29

 Nov 19, 2009 at 09:21 PM Aron Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

I never fly and I don't davven with a Minyan.

We should get together.
I daven with a minyan but only when I'm flying.

30

 Nov 19, 2009 at 09:33 PM Chelmite Says:

Of Course we should show consideration for other passengers
but if our "COUSINS" needed to have a Minyon no one would
dare make the smallest complaint

31

 Nov 19, 2009 at 11:12 PM TRAVELER Says:

WELL if you are LAZY ................i can say that davening beminyan is a big zechus.

32

 Nov 20, 2009 at 08:04 AM Anonymous Says:

"One has got to think not only of oneself" this is a concept of the past. all anyone thinks about is themselves. thank g there are those that dont but the majority does not

33

 Nov 20, 2009 at 07:35 AM Stamford Hilly Billy Says:

Living in the UK is a lot better than living in the USA because it is closer to Eretz Yisroel and it's kedusha.

My point is that when flying to Israel I always try to get the night flight at about 10.30pm. This way I can daven mariv before getting to the airport or at the gate BEFORE boarding the plane, so that I can daven in a minyan and with kavana. When I arrive in Israel in the early hours of the morning I have enough to time to reach my destenation and daven in a shul there.

When flying home I always go for the flight at about 5.30pm this way I can daven mincha before leaving or with a minyan in the shul at the airport. I then arrive back in London with enough time to reach a local shul to daven mariv.

My message is that you should try to plan your life around what is important to you like davening in a minyan and properly i.e not a plane. Whilst it isn`t always possible to choose your flights most of the time it is. Some times the flights of choice may cost a few extra £££$$$ but so what? isn`t that price worth paying for the sachar of a proper tefilla b'tzibbur? It isn`t always possible on a longer flight e.g to the USA but you can try and minimise any davening problems.

34

 Nov 20, 2009 at 07:19 AM cynic Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

I think this is the first VIN article on a matter of halacha in years, where just about every comment agrees with the psak of the rav whose views are discussed in the article. Maybe moishiach is coming after all.

It's early days yet...give some of our regulars a chance to surface & you'll get all the nastiness & arguments spewing forth.

35

 Nov 20, 2009 at 08:15 AM Anonymous Says:

This Rabbi has common sense. Yidden need to be more concerned with those around them. Our yeshivas are NOT teaching menchlichkeit to our kinderlucht. Try driving through Borough Park or Flatbush, or going shopping in a kosher supermarket and you will see the selfishness of our people.

36

 Nov 20, 2009 at 09:30 AM Richard Nixon Says:

Reply to #35  
Anonymous Says:

This Rabbi has common sense. Yidden need to be more concerned with those around them. Our yeshivas are NOT teaching menchlichkeit to our kinderlucht. Try driving through Borough Park or Flatbush, or going shopping in a kosher supermarket and you will see the selfishness of our people.

Perhaps YOUR kids' yeshiva isn't teaching mentchlichkeit but here in Outoftownland my kids' rabbeim and moros in yeshiva and bais yaakov are walking examples of midos and mentchlichkiet. The problem might be the types of people in the neiborhoods you mentioned and what they are willing to accept.

37

 Nov 20, 2009 at 09:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

I think this is the first VIN article on a matter of halacha in years, where just about every comment agrees with the psak of the rav whose views are discussed in the article. Maybe moishiach is coming after all.

because this seems to be based on halacha and common sense

38

 Nov 20, 2009 at 09:21 AM Richard Nixon Says:

Reply to #30  
Chelmite Says:

Of Course we should show consideration for other passengers
but if our "COUSINS" needed to have a Minyon no one would
dare make the smallest complaint

So what? We should start running our lives by thier 'halachah'??

39

 Nov 20, 2009 at 09:24 AM Richard Nixon Says:

Reply to #31  
TRAVELER Says:

WELL if you are LAZY ................i can say that davening beminyan is a big zechus.

What a wasted opportunity to keep your stupid opinions and nasty comments to yourself!

40

 Nov 20, 2009 at 09:46 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
according to halacha Says:

if you look in hilchos tefila in shulchan aruch, you will see that in many cases you are not even obligated to daven while traveling, never mind with a minyan....

Nice try. next you will bring some revisionist view that only dark suits are appropriate clothing, and you don't have to check vegetables with an el;ectron microscope.

Why do people like you always try and undermine what hashem really wants?

41

 Nov 20, 2009 at 04:30 AM machengelt Says:

The Chofetz Chaim also never davened with a minyan whenever he flew !!!

42

 Nov 20, 2009 at 12:36 AM Anonymous Says:

i think one can make a discintion where he is. if hes on a plane going from jfk to heathrow than daven in your seat. however to tel aviv especailly elyal theirs no reason not to make a minyan thier is no chilul hashem if its almost standard procedure and slmost every plane ride has minnyanim especailly that its going to eretz yisreal. certain times most of the plane is frum jews . anyone who travels on that plane even not frum or goyim know already the 1 or 2 that dont know or mind it tough on them.

43

 Nov 20, 2009 at 12:21 AM TheTruth Says:

This is how it starts. Not davening with a minyan. Its called freedom of expression. Why is it any different than people standing in the aisle while waiting to go to the bathroom?

44

 Nov 19, 2009 at 10:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Wat does one do when travelling in a car or on a bus? yes, they sit and pray even shemonei esrei. nowhere does it say to make a chillul Hashem and daven with a minyan especially when people need to pass to use bathroom or crew have hard time pushing their carts round. thank you rabbi for bringing this up.

You have obviously never travelled on the famous Monsey bus. Everyone stands in the aisle. There's a Sefer Torah, makeshift bema & mechitza. The only thing missing are candles (that'll be next!).

45

 Nov 19, 2009 at 10:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

I think this is the first VIN article on a matter of halacha in years, where just about every comment agrees with the psak of the rav whose views are discussed in the article. Maybe moishiach is coming after all.

Well then let me be the first. ;)
Is Davening in public a Chilul Hashem (people get annoyed by your strange Tefillin etc.)?
Do you know that someone tried telling me that since frumme Yidden do not use foul language it is a Chillul Hashem - it shows were weird since all other people do. If your davening Tefillah Betzibur and its a mitzvah (if you hold it is on a plane etc) then not necessarily by doing a mitzvah that you are commanded to do by Hashem are you creating a Chilul Hashem. Its kind of a paradox.

46

 Nov 19, 2009 at 10:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Chelmite Says:

Of Course we should show consideration for other passengers
but if our "COUSINS" needed to have a Minyon no one would
dare make the smallest complaint

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a group of Muslims imans WERE escorted off a plane for doing just that.

47

 Nov 20, 2009 at 10:48 AM Anonymous Says:

Since there are usually many women who are not dressed betsnius on a plane, is it even allowed to pray in front of a "erve"? just asking.

48

 Nov 20, 2009 at 10:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #41  
machengelt Says:

The Chofetz Chaim also never davened with a minyan whenever he flew !!!

was there airplanes in the chofetz chaim's times?

49

 Nov 20, 2009 at 10:11 AM Yehuda Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

I never fly and I don't davven with a Minyan.

I trust you aren't to proud of that. Davenning with a minyan is a very important part of a Jewish man's life. Missing occassionally happens to everyone but to say you never daven with a minya is a bit of a stretc, What about Shabbos, yom tov, Yom Kippur, etc.

50

 Nov 20, 2009 at 01:33 PM Anonymous Says:

This rabbi apparently forgot a chazal that states one has to daven with minyan at all costs, davar shebaminyan eino batal, meaning a minyan shall never be batel (nullified)

51

 Nov 21, 2009 at 07:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #41  
machengelt Says:

The Chofetz Chaim also never davened with a minyan whenever he flew !!!

1 ?, : WHEN DE HE FLY?!..... HE LIVED IN RADEN AND DIED IN 1933! (AND JUST FOR THE RECORD....WHEN HE CAME 2 AMERICA FOR A VISIT HE CAME ON A BOAT!)

52

 Nov 21, 2009 at 09:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #50  
Anonymous Says:

This rabbi apparently forgot a chazal that states one has to daven with minyan at all costs, davar shebaminyan eino batal, meaning a minyan shall never be batel (nullified)

At all costs? Where is this Chazal. I think it only in your mind.

53

 Nov 21, 2009 at 08:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Anonymous Says:

This Rabbi has common sense. Yidden need to be more concerned with those around them. Our yeshivas are NOT teaching menchlichkeit to our kinderlucht. Try driving through Borough Park or Flatbush, or going shopping in a kosher supermarket and you will see the selfishness of our people.

I shop and drive in Boro Park and Flatbush, but I do not see the slefiishness of "our people." I see thousands of our people who give of their time and money to help others without a thought for themselves. I guess you are not involved in Chesed activities, so you wouldn't see it.
Some people see only bad. You should see a therapist and maybe you will find out why you think that way.

54

 Nov 21, 2009 at 09:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #50  
Anonymous Says:

This rabbi apparently forgot a chazal that states one has to daven with minyan at all costs, davar shebaminyan eino batal, meaning a minyan shall never be batel (nullified)

Where is this Chazal?

55

 Nov 21, 2009 at 10:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Old news!
If you learn Tz’ena Ur’ena, the end of parshas Va’eira, he brings from the Sh’lo Hakodosh that it is better to daven while sitting on the donkey, traveling through the jungle, than waiting until you arrive at the guesthouse. Because, at the guest house you will have less kavanah, it will be mixed, etc…..it is the exact scenario between the diference of davening in your seat, of in the back of an airplane.
Check it our rabosai!

56

 Nov 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM Richard Nixon Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

1 ?, : WHEN DE HE FLY?!..... HE LIVED IN RADEN AND DIED IN 1933! (AND JUST FOR THE RECORD....WHEN HE CAME 2 AMERICA FOR A VISIT HE CAME ON A BOAT!)

The Chofetz Chaim VISITED AMERICA???????

57

 Nov 21, 2009 at 10:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #55  
Anonymous Says:

Old news!
If you learn Tz’ena Ur’ena, the end of parshas Va’eira, he brings from the Sh’lo Hakodosh that it is better to daven while sitting on the donkey, traveling through the jungle, than waiting until you arrive at the guesthouse. Because, at the guest house you will have less kavanah, it will be mixed, etc…..it is the exact scenario between the diference of davening in your seat, of in the back of an airplane.
Check it our rabosai!

I don't think El Al will let me bring a donkey on the plane. Can I just daven in a regular seat instead?

58

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