Halacha for Wednesday 15 Adar 5779 February 20 2019

Beginning a Journey Before Shabbat

Question: Is one permitted to begin a journey before Shabbat when one knows that he will be forced to desecrate Shabbat due to a life-threatening circumstance?

Answer: In the previous Halacha, we have discussed the prohibition of setting sail on a ship (for a non-Mitzvah purpose) within three days of Shabbat. Our Sages forbade doing so because this will cause a lack of enjoyment of Shabbat, for it is well-known that during the first three days of a sea voyage, passengers usually feel nauseous and dizzy as a result of the salty water and movement of the ship which will thus impair their ability to adequately fulfill the Mitzvah of enjoying Shabbat. Our Sages therefore decreed that one may only set sail on a ship on the days not immediately preceding Shabbat.

Until now, we have explained the law when no Shabbat desecration is involved in setting sail and the only concern is a lack of enjoyment of Shabbat.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 248, Section 4) writes as follows: “Those who travel as part of a caravan into the desert and it is certain that they will be forced to desecrate Shabbat, for they cannot halt their journey and stay in the desert alone since this is quite dangerous, they may not begin their journey beginning from three days before Shabbat. However, they may begin their journey on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. If one is moving to Eretz Yisrael, however, even if one happens upon a caravan beginning their journey on Erev Shabbat, one may join them since this is for the purpose of a Mitzvah.”

This means that one may not place himself in a situation where one will be forced to desecrate Shabbat as a result of beginning one’s journey. For this reason, it is forbidden to begin one’s journey into a desert on the days preceding Shabbat. However, if one begins one’s journey in the beginning of the week, namely Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, this is permissible. Even if one is will be forced to later desecrate the Shabbat, one may do so and this does not constitute Shabbat desecration. One should preferably try and stipulate with the members of the caravan that they not desecrate Shabbat. If they do not uphold their commitment and later desecrate the Shabbat, one may continue along with them because of the danger involved (see Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Part 1, page 122).

In the following Halacha we shall discuss whether or not one may schedule a medical procedure or operation on the days preceding Shabbat.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles There is a Mitzvah to light Chanukah candles throughout all eight nights of Chanukah (beginning from next Sunday night). The Sephardic custom is to light one set of Chanukah candles per house. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is that every member of the househ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Boarders, Guests, Soldiers, and Yeshiva Students Regarding Chanukah Candles

Question: If one will be away from home as a guest during Chanukah, how should one act regarding lighting Chanukah candles? Similarly, what is the law regarding a soldier who will be at his military base during Chanukah? Answer: If one is away from home during the holiday of Chanukah and stays a......

Read Halacha

A Guest On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah

Question: If one is staying as a guest at one’s parents’ or in-laws’ home for Shabbat Chanukah, where should one light Chanukah candles on Motza’ei Shabbat? Answer: Regarding a married individual who is staying as a guest at his father’s home, according to the Sephar......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Married Children Staying with Their Parents and One Staying in a Hotel

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although one who has no one lighting on his behalf at home (for instance, because he has no family or because his family is with him) and is staying as a guest in a friend’s home on Chanukah should have been obligated to light candles in one&rsqu......

Read Halacha

“Al Ha’Nissim”

Starting from the Arvit prayer on the first night of Chanukah (this year, 5782, starting from tonight, Sunday night) “Al Ha’Nissim” is added in the Amida in the middle of the Blessing of Thanksgiving (“Modim Anachnu Lach etc.) as it is printed in all Siddurim. Even if mos......

Read Halacha

Hallel on Chanukah as it Pertains to Women

Question: Since women are obligated to light Chanukah candles, does this mean that they are likewise obligated to recite the Hallel every morning of Chanukah as well? Answer: Women are exempt from all positive, time-bound Mitzvot, such as eating in the Sukkah, taking the Lulav, and hearing the Sh......

Read Halacha

Havdala Without Besamim and a Candle

Question: One Motza’ei Shabbat when we were on vacation in the summer, we were not able to procure Besamim (a fragrant object) and a candle. Is it permissible to recite the order of Havdala without Besamim and a candle? Answer: This law is discussed by the Gemara (Berachot 53a): “Rav ......

Read Halacha