QUESTION: When driving long distance and stopping along the way in
motel, does one repeat Tefillas ha-derech upon resuming the trip in the
DISCUSSION: Yes. When a trip takes longer than twenty-four hours,
ha-derech is repeated every day of the trip, but only if the traveler
breaks up the trip by lodging in a hotel, camping at a campsite, staying
over in another person's home, etc., along the way. But if the traveler
did not lodge anywhere overnight but either drove through the night or
napped in the car, he does not repeat Tefillas ha-derech in the morning.
He should, however, add the basic Tefillas ha-derech text [without
concluding: Boruch ata Hashem shomea tefillah] when he recites Shema
Koleinu during the morning Shemoneh Esrei.(1)
The same halachah applies to overnight airplane travel: Tefillas
ha-derech is recited when the flight begins but is not repeated the next
morning - even if the passenger fell asleep for an extended period of time
in his seat. As mentioned earlier, the text of Tefillas ha-derech should
be incorporated into the Shemoneh Esrei when reciting Shema Koleinu.
QUESTION: When is the correct time to recite Tefillas ha-derech -
the trip begins or once the trip is underway?
DISCUSSION: It depends on the exact case: On the first day of a
Tefillas ha-derech should be recited only once the trip is underway - soon
after leaving the city limits; i.e., when one begins to travel in an area
where there are no more houses. [When travelling by plane, Tefillas ha-
derech is said while the plane is taxiing down the runway at high speed,
right before it is about to take off.(2)] B'diavad, though, Tefillas ha-
derech could be recited at any time during the trip, so long as the
traveler is at least 2.5 miles from his destination.(3)
But on subsequent days of the trip, if the traveler sleeps over in
a motel, etc., and must repeat Tefillas ha-derech the next morning when
resuming the trip, Tefillas ha-derech may be recited right before leaving
the hotel; there is no requirement to actually be on the road in order to
QUESTION: Why did the Rabbis restrict clapping and dancing on
DISCUSSION: The Talmud(5) records that the Rabbis prohibited
musical instruments on Shabbos and Yom Tov because musical instruments
often need to be tuned, a potential violation of the Shabbos Labor of
Makeh b'patish.6 Not only did they prohibit all different types of musical
instruments, but they also included all other noise-making objects, such
as bells, whistles or rattles.(7)
The Rabbis of the Talmud(8) went even further. They decreed that
certain actions which could lead to the playing of musical instruments
should also be restricted, even if at the moment there are no musical
instruments present or even available. Apparently, they were concerned
that such an atmosphere could lead a creative individual to forget that it
is Shabbos, and fashion a makeshift musical instrument on the spot.(9)
Thus they banned clapping and dancing as well, since these are activities
which generate an atmosphere in which music is played.
QUESTION: Nowadays, does the Rabbinical injunction against clapping
dancing on Shabbos and Yom Tov still apply?
DISCUSSION: While all authorities agree that the original edict
playing any kind of instrument remains in effect nowadays,(10) there are
conflicting opinions whether or not the additional decree against dancing
and clapping is also in effect. Some argue that nowadays we no longer have
the ability or talent to fashion a musical instrument on the spot, so we
should not prohibit activities that could lead to the fashioning of
musical instruments.(11) Others hold that the original Rabbinical decree
applied only to dance movements which required musical accompaniment, not
to the unstructured and informal circle dancing popular today.(12) For
whatever reason, the fact remains that it became customary for people to
dance and clap on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and the poskim did not strenuously
object to their behavior.(13) While it behooves a ba'al nefesh (a person
who is especially meticulous in his mitzvah observance) to refrain from
dancing and clapping(14) on Shabbos and Yom Tov [except on Simchas Torah
(15)], especially for non-mitzvah purposes,(16) and many people are
careful about it,(17) the basic halachah follows the opinion of the poskim
who hold that nowadays, the Rabbinical decree against dancing and clapping
is no longer applicable.(18)
QUESTION: When the Rabbis restricted clapping, was applauding also
DISCUSSION: No, it was not. The original injunction against
included clapping to a specific rhythm or beat, since that type of
clapping may lead to the fashioning of musical instruments. Applause,
clapping to wake someone from his sleep, or any other type of clapping not
done to a specific rhythm, is permitted.(19)
The same halachah applies to banging on a table-top with one's
fist or fingers. If it is done in order to silence a crowd or catch
someone's attention, it is permitted, since it is not a rhythmic beat.
Beating on the table-top to a specific beat, however, is included in the
Rabbinical injunction against dancing and clapping, and should be avoided
by those who do not dance and clap on Shabbos even nowadays.
Tapping a bottle or a glass with a spoon or a fork to a specific
rhythm or beat should be avoided by everyone, since this is similar to
using non-musical instruments to produce a musical sound (like a rattle),
and may have been included in the original injunction against playing
musical instruments which applies nowadays as well.(20)
1 Mishnah Berurah 110:24 and Halichos Shelomo 1:21-2.
2 Emes L'yaakov O.C. 110, note 139; Halichos Shelomo 1:21-4; Harav C.P.
Scheinberg (oral ruling).
3 O.C. 110:7 and Mishnah Berurah 29.
4 Mishnah Berurah 110:29.
5 Eiruvin 104a.
6 As explained by Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 23:4.
7 Rama O.C. 338:1.
8 Beitzah 30a.
9 As explained by Sha'ar Efrayim O.C. 36, quoted in Minchas Elazer 1:29.
10 Beiur Halachah 339:3 s.v. lehakel.
11 Tosfos, Beitzah 30a.
12 Aruch ha-Shulchan 339:9.
13 Rama O.C. 338:2; 339:3.
14 Clapping with a shinui is permitted according to all opinions; O.C.
339:3; Mishnha Berurah 338:1.
15 Mishnah Berurah 339:8.
16 Mishnah Berurah 339:10.
17 Kaf ha-Chayim 339:13-14.
18 Minchas Elazer 1:29; Igros Moshe O.C. 2:100. Even those who do not
dance on Shabbos are permitted to do so during bein ha-shemashos; Eishel
Avraham, Tanina, O.C. 299:10.
19 Mishnah Berurah 338:1; 339:9; Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 28:36.
20 Based on Beiur Halachah 339:3, s.v. lehakel.
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Rabbi Neustadt is Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights. He may be reached at 216-321-4635 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.