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Israel - Rabbi: On Planes 'Shemoneh Esra' Prayer Can Be Said Sitting Down

Published on: July 30, 2010 11:36 AM
By:  Ynet
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Photo illustrationIsrael - Rabbi Yehuda Leib Steinman, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community ruled recently that during flights one is best advised to pray the Amidah prayer (The Standing Prayer) sitting down, restfully, rather than standing up.

This was his answer to haredi yeshiva students currently in the midst of the “Bein Hazmanim” holiday period - a break between Tisha B’Av and the beginning of Elul. Busy planning overseas vacations, the students were concerned about difficulties in saying all the customary prayers on board planes.

A local haredi newspaper in Jerusalem recently published various answers given by senior rabbis to queries pertaining to the break period. Rabbi Steinman’s ruling is particularly noteworthy as the Amidah is one of the most core prayers and is noted in the Torah. It usually requires the worshiper to stand up.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky was asked whether bathing in the sea is considered an overseas trip, which some would argue is prohibited according to the Halacha. The rabbi answered that bathing in shallow water or at a reasonable distance from the shore was permitted, but that swimming to a greater distance not reached by the average swimmer, was problematic.

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Spiritual dangers

Leaders of the Lithuanian-haredi sector rabbis Yosef Elyashiv and Aharon Leib Shteinman warned yeshiva students last year of trips involving “spiritual dangers” such as exposure to internet, television, and modesty issues. They called on ultra-Orthodox parents to prevent their children from embarking on such trips on their own.

“Regarding the terrible loophole, we have learned there are boys from good families who rent hotel rooms in Tiberias and the northern district and gain access to impure devices and other unimaginable things and have stumbled upon dreadful obstacles, may G-d save us,” they wrote.

“Parents must be aware and foresee dangers and not allow their sons to go on trips, unless, if it cannot be helped, they go on organized tours under the appropriate supervision which prevent spiritual and earthly dangers.”



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Read Comments (34)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 30, 2010 at 11:52 AM Anonymous Says:

I disagree. I went to yeshiva for a # of years and learned halacha. One should stand even if it annoys those fry elal employees.

2

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM Anonymous Says:

this is not a new shyla nor is the teshuva a new one. apparently yeshiva bochurim are asleep at the wheel because this shyla was discussed decades ago

3

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM Secular Says:

"Rabbi Steinman’s ruling is particularly noteworthy as the Amidah is one of the most core prayers and is noted in the Torah."

What??? Where in the Torah??

Where in the Torah is the Amida (Shmone Esrei) mentioned??

People have been traveling on planes for over 40 years, and have been Davening Shmonei Esrei sitting and standing according to conditions on the plane. why is it that suddenly the "chareidi" establishment woke up and decided to ask these 'serious' questions. One wonders about the wisdom of our brothers in Eretz Israel, where these 'new' questions arise. Questions that have been adressed decades ago by competent Rabbonim: Rav Moshe etc. davening on a plane, in vitro fertilization, bugs in the water etc

The problem is that chareidi society in eretz Israel has become so insulated, they are not even aware of halachic advancements and scholarship outside their 4 amos.

4

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM Anonymous Says:

I disagree with #1. It is not just the El Al employees. There have been a number of incidents on American commercial airline carriers, where poor judgment was shown by frum people. In one case, they refused to get out of the way, since they were blocking the aisle. They were removed from the flight. In other instances, other frum yidden were removed from flights, because they were of concern to passengers, after davening too loudly. We can't expect the goyim to be familiar with all of our customs. On a commercial aircraft, the Captain, and his subordinates are the law. One cannot thumb their nose at them, (especially in the post 9/11 climate) or they will be promptly escorted off the flight. One most always use common sense and good judgment. This means davening quietly, not blocking aisles, and staying seated, when requested to do so. Also, if one wants to put on Tephillen on a commercial flight, they had better explain to the crew in advance, exactly what they intend to do. Many goyim have never met Jews, and have no way of knowing what Tephillen are.

5

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Finally some common sense.

6

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

The Bobover Rebbe z"l (Maharas"h) always davened shemoine esra sitting and beyechedos!

7

 Jul 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM Anonymous Says:

I have a chareidi rabbi that ruled like Rabbi Shteinman 20 yrs ago & I have been following that custom all these yrs even if the plane has a minyan I would not participate.

8

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:04 PM Anonymous Says:

With all respect to rav Shteinmen, shlita, there are much bigger issues for these bochurim to be worrying about than sitting or standing during the amidah. Obviously, he was responding to a shaylah posed to him but why wouldn't he also provide some musar regarding the need to obey all the directions of the flight attendants and not create the kinds of chillul hashem one sees almost on every flight where there are chareidi passengers who insist on holding minyanim in the aisiles(which is totally assur because it blocks other passengers and near the flight cabin (which is a safety risk for terrorist concerns). Perhaps the rav and other gadolim could speak out on these more important saftey issues and not focus narrowly on such minor issues as sitting or standing during the amidah.

9

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

the " torah" includes torah shebeal pe, shmoneh esrei is the main prayer.

10

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:20 PM FactsofLife Says:

Reply to #3  
Secular Says:

"Rabbi Steinman’s ruling is particularly noteworthy as the Amidah is one of the most core prayers and is noted in the Torah."

What??? Where in the Torah??

Where in the Torah is the Amida (Shmone Esrei) mentioned??

People have been traveling on planes for over 40 years, and have been Davening Shmonei Esrei sitting and standing according to conditions on the plane. why is it that suddenly the "chareidi" establishment woke up and decided to ask these 'serious' questions. One wonders about the wisdom of our brothers in Eretz Israel, where these 'new' questions arise. Questions that have been adressed decades ago by competent Rabbonim: Rav Moshe etc. davening on a plane, in vitro fertilization, bugs in the water etc

The problem is that chareidi society in eretz Israel has become so insulated, they are not even aware of halachic advancements and scholarship outside their 4 amos.

Secular,

Shmone esrei falls under lo sosur by which the Torah authorizes chazal to dictate how we fulfill leovdo bechol levavichem which is an obligation from the Torah to do tefillah every day according to the Rambam.

"People have been traveling on planes for over 40 years, and have been Davening Shmonei Esrei sitting and standing according to conditions on the plane. "

This is an old shaala but many people don't know the proper hanhaga. Davening sitting is a kiddush Hashem while standing and disrupting is a chilul Hashem and a bitul of ones tefila.

"The problem is that chareidi society in eretz Israel has become so insulated, they are not even aware of halachic advancements and scholarship outside their 4 amos."

Our Torah has not changed. Most so called advances are really regressions.

11

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Says:

The Bobover Rebbe z"l (Maharas"h) always davened shemoine esra sitting and beyechedos!

Even tough he traveled ussualy first class in the 747 & he had no problem davening bamidah.

12

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:39 PM Secular Says:

However what needs to be addressed is the statement "Rabbi Steinman’s ruling is particularly noteworthy as the Amidah is one of the most core prayers and is noted in the Torah."

Where in the Torah?

Shemone Esrei is a Rabbinic institution as is the requirement to stand?

'Tefilah Keneged Korbanos'

I find it hard to believe that HaGaon Rav Shteinman would utter such a thing. It is 'Shema' that is in the Torah, and even that does not require one to stand.

I also find the tone of the article troubling, as if this is a Chareidi innovation (when it's been common practice for decades), and as if Chareidim are 'comming around' to a more 'reasoned' and 'enlightened' approach.

13

 Jul 30, 2010 at 01:43 PM 5TResident Says:

I wasn't aware that Lithuania had an ultra-Orthodox community.

I'm glad that the Rav ok'd sitting down for Shemona Esrei on planes. I've been doing that for a long time, as my Rav in Kew Gardens Hills (now deceased) allowed it quite some time ago.

14

 Jul 30, 2010 at 02:08 PM BarryLS1 Says:

#1 Time to go back to Yeshiva. What chutpah to think your few years "learning halacha" makes you qualified to disagree with Gedolei Hador.

15

 Jul 30, 2010 at 02:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12

Why are you so troubled by the fact that Rav Shteinman is finally coming around to a more reasoned and enlighted approach to balancing the needs of contemporary air travel by litvashe yidden and the requirments of halacha. Even when the Chareidim get somthing right you will criticize them. This is the correct holding and the rav should be commended for getting it right.

16

 Jul 30, 2010 at 02:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I disagree. I went to yeshiva for a # of years and learned halacha. One should stand even if it annoys those fry elal employees.

Chillul Hashem is priority # 1 am I'm sad to see in all your "years in yeshiva" you haven't been tought that!!

17

 Jul 30, 2010 at 03:01 PM Anonymous Says:

#11 is correct!

18

 Jul 30, 2010 at 03:04 PM Secular Says:

To number 10

Shmonei esrei does NOT fall under Lo Sossur, if anything, it falls under 'Asher Yomru Lecha ta'aseh' and even then it is still D'rabanan, because chazal are not allowed to add Mitzvos because of ba'al tossif (RambaM hilchos Mamrim perek 2).

My question was aimed at the statement that the 18 berachos are in the Torah.

Your statement about regressions shows you misunderstood my point. My point was and is that halachic Psak has already been given regarding many (commonplace) questions like: davening on a plane, bugs in the water and IVF. I was pointing to the fact that in the insulated chareidi Israeli society halachic innovations have been largely overlooked.

To number 15

Litvishe yidden have also been flying for decades and many of them have been Davening on planes sitting or standing. I don't see the big Chiddush of sitting on a plane during S"E, any traveling bar-Mitzva boy knows it. The fact that you attribute this 'new' psak to Rav Shteinman belittles him.

What makes you think I critize Chareidim, if you read my post I am critical of the article's tone.

19

 Jul 30, 2010 at 03:23 PM Anonymous Says:

This meanse daas tora

20

 Jul 30, 2010 at 03:41 PM Shmuel Says:

#4: "... if one wants to put on Tephillen on a commercial flight, they had better explain to the crew in advance, exactly what they intend to do. Many goyim have never met Jews, and have no way of knowing what Tephillen are."

Response to #4: This is such nonsense! I’ve dovened with tfillin on planes and in airports dozens if not hundreds of times, in two dozen countries on four continents, and never did I explain to anybody what tfillin are, and never was there any problem. Few curious looks, perhaps, but nothing more. I think you have a need to engage goyim and explain things Jewish to them, but the problem is you, not goyim being apprehensive of tfillin, tallis and dovening.

21

 Jul 30, 2010 at 03:53 PM Heshy Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

I have a chareidi rabbi that ruled like Rabbi Shteinman 20 yrs ago & I have been following that custom all these yrs even if the plane has a minyan I would not participate.

Just because b'shas hadchak u can daven shmoineh esreh sitting down doesn't allow u to do so if there is an area designated & a minyan on an El Al plane.

22

 Jul 30, 2010 at 04:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Rav stainman is a reral tzadik

23

 Jul 30, 2010 at 05:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Says:

The Bobover Rebbe z"l (Maharas"h) always davened shemoine esra sitting and beyechedos!

That is 100% true ! I Merited to "Gezaigen Zich" (wish farewell) in 1996 with the Holy Bobover Rebbe R' Shlomo Z"tzl, and I personally asked him that I had heard quoting in his name this peak din, and he answered "Definitely, it is a lot more difficult Halachically to Daven standing up, than sitting down" and he added "Especially on flights to Eretz Yisroel where regardless of the Airline, many if not most of the women on board are Yidden and their hair is uncovered, so by sitting down there are many less Shailos."
He himself would sit for the entire davening when he was in that situation.

24

 Jul 30, 2010 at 05:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I disagree. I went to yeshiva for a # of years and learned halacha. One should stand even if it annoys those fry elal employees.

dude u learnt in yeshiva for a number of years and u consider yourself qualified to disagree with the gadol hador rav elyashiv also paskened like this

25

 Jul 30, 2010 at 05:36 PM Anonymous Says:

To: Schmuel-#20- The point that I was trying to make, was that recently a teenager was on a U.S. Air Flight from LaGuardia to Louisville, and was putting on Tephillen. The passengers were alarmed, and the plane made an emergency landing, where the boy was taken off the plane, and detained for hours, while he attempted to explain what he was doing. That incident could have been avoided if he would have explained to the flight attendant(s), what he was doing, in advance. Incidentally, I don't have a problem with tephillen, talis, or davening. In fact, one time after I had my tephillen on, I drove my car to another minyan, as we didn't have 10 men that morning, and I was saying Kaddush. I took our Chazzan along, and he said that it was ok to drive with the Tephillen on.

26

 Jul 30, 2010 at 05:38 PM JLan1 Says:

"Just because b'shas hadchak u can daven shmoineh esreh sitting down doesn't allow u to do so if there is an area designated & a minyan on an El Al plane"

Heshy-

In fact, there are rabbeim who rule that one should sit while davening and not join a minyan on the plane, because one should not have any temptation to delay taking one's seat if the plane encounters dangerous conditions.

27

 Jul 30, 2010 at 06:02 PM cbdds Says:

I understood the issue to be one of safety. put simply, I understand that sitting with a seatbelt is safer than standing at any time the plane is flying or even moving. Turbulence happens.

28

 Jul 31, 2010 at 06:46 AM Anonymous Says:

I once saw a teshuva from Harav Wosner saying the same thing as Harav Steinman re sitting

29

 Jul 31, 2010 at 03:33 PM Anonymous Says:

each person must ask his own personl shaiela and cant rely on the psak someoneelse recieved. unless the rav explictly says thisis the general halacha. still, even thougj Rav Moshe F, paskened long ago, these bocuhrim obviouslydont follow himand must ask their Rav. too manu people stumble because they rely on psak that someoneelse recieved. last week in Mishpacha Rav Steinman was quoted that he gets the same sheila asked repeatedly. that is how it should be.

30

 Jul 31, 2010 at 09:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Unless you are on a 12 hour flight to EY or somthing like that, simply daven before you leave for the airport or arrive at your destination. The ebeshter will understand if you are a few hours early or late and will be just as receptive to your tfilot as if you were trying to daven with kavanah while kids are screaming around you, the sterwardess is serving drinks, the untzinusdik lady sitting next to you is doing strange things and a movie with stuff you would never want to watch at home is displayed over your head.

31

 Aug 01, 2010 at 11:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Just out of curiosity, does a well know rav like Sheteinman paskin for himself or does even the biggest rav have another ("local" or "personal") rav to paskin his own shalyos?

32

 Aug 01, 2010 at 02:35 PM chezy Says:

#1...who are you to disagree with one of the preeminent rabbanim of the generation. It's very nice that you feel that way, but a psak is a psak. Just because you don't like it, or think that it doesn't make sense, doesn't make you right. Additionally, how do you know that the rav is addressing annoying the employees of airplanes?! There are so many factors that he had to have considered and you are barely scratching the surface!

33

 Aug 02, 2010 at 07:05 PM Shmuel Says:

To # 25:

1. Where was this incident described in a reliable publication. I have strong reason to doubt it.
2. I never implied that you have 'problems' with tfiliin. My reading is that you have some NEED to engage goyim so that you can explain things Jewish to them.

34

 Aug 02, 2010 at 07:09 PM Shmuel Says:

To #30:

12 hours? What about the very common 7 hour flight departing east cost at 9-something pm, arriving in London at 9:30am next morning, by the time you arrive at your destination will be well after 11am? It's easy to give advises if you don't deal with real life situations.

35

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