Halacha for Sunday 19 Adar 5782 February 20 2022

Standing While Praying on an Airplane or Train

Question: Must one join one’s feet together during the Amida prayer? Similarly, if one prays while sitting, has he fulfilled his obligation?

Answer: Before one begins the Amida prayer, one must join both feet together as if they were one foot in order to compare ourselves to the angels about whom the verse (Yechezkel 1, 7) states, “And their feet are a straight foot,” meaning that their feet appear like one foot.

One’s feet must be joined together completely, both at the heels and at the front of the feet where the toes are. Nevertheless, some Acharonim write that it is sufficient if the feet are joined together at the heels and there is no prohibition for the front of the feet where the toes are not to be touching. The Poskim therefore rule that one who does not join one’s feet at the front of the foot has on whom to rely. There are indeed certain Torah scholars who follow this custom. Nevertheless, it is preferable to join one’s feet throughout the entire length of the foot in order to completely resemble the angels whose feet look like only one foot.

One must recite the Amida prayer while standing. If one prayed while sitting, according to most Poskim, one must repeat the Amida while standing. The same applies to one who has prayed while sitting because he had no other choice, such as if one was quite ill and his situation later improved to the extent where he is capable of standing up and praying again (for instance, a diabetic who was feeling weak and a short time later feels much better), that according to most Poskim, this individual is obligated to stand up and pray again in order to fulfill his obligation.

Nevertheless, since there are Poskim who rule that one need not repeat the Amida while standing once one has already prayed while seated, for one has already fulfilled his obligation even while seated, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules (in Yalkut Yosef, Volume 1) that one who has prayed while seated, such as an ill individual who now feels better, should stand up and pray again but only as a “conditional, donated prayer.” This means that before one begins to pray, one should say verbally, “I am hereby standing and reciting the Amida prayer once again in order to fulfill my obligation according to the Poskim who rule that I am obligated to do so. If the Halacha does not follow these Poskim, I hereby intend for this prayer to be a donated prayer (an optional prayer one can “donate” to Hashem).”

In this way, one fulfills his obligation according to all opinions, for if one is obligated to stand up and pray again, one is doing so and if not, one is praying an optional, donated prayer, which is also permissible.

Similarly, if one is travelling on a train and realizes that the time for prayer will soon pass and he cannot pray while standing so he prayed while seated and later got off the train and realizes that the time for prayer has not yet passed, one must likewise repeat the Amida prayer while standing albeit as a “conditional, donated prayer” as we have delineated above.

Regarding prayer on an airplane, on long flights, there are sometimes those who arrange a Minyan for prayer. When Maran zt”l would fly from Israel to New York, some people suggested that they organize a Minyan on the plane, but Maran zt”l told them that it is better for every individual to pray alone at his own seat as opposed to organizing a Minyan in the back of the plane and interfering with the flight crew and their work. (Note: Nevertheless, regarding the Amida prayer regarding which we have written that according to most Poskim, one must recite it standing in order to fulfill one’s obligation, there is sometimes not enough room at one’s own seat to remain standing for too long. There are possibilities for one to pray alone on an airplane while standing in places where it does not bother any crew members or passengers, such as at emergency exits and the like. One should, nevertheless, always exercise good judgment before doing so by taking one’s surroundings into consideration.)

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha


Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

Frying Fish in a Meat Pot, Baking Fish and Meat in the Same Oven, and Maran zt”l’s Custom

There is a well-known prohibition of eating fish and meat together, as discussed by the Gemara and Poskim. Cooking Fish in a Meat Pot Although it is prohibited to cook a dairy dish in a meat pot as we have discussed in a previous Halacha, nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writ......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha