Question:

Thank you in advance, I fly for work as a Pilot, and typically find myself in places were I don’t have the opportunity to daven while standing up as to not be obvious as well as not able to wear a kippa while praying. I try to either pray in the airplane after passengers disembark and or try and hide out somewhere and daven. My question is I usually hold a napkin in my hand covering my head and am sitting down while praying Amidah, (Lots more to this than explaining but take it as it is for now) IS THIS ALLOWED?

Answer:

As you write, there is a alot more to your situation then what you wrote, therefore it is hard to answer you correctly, but only very generally. When you daven your head must be covered. You might consider wearing a cap at different times so that people get used to seeing you wearing a cap, and they won’t suspect you of davening. (This is assuming that you can not let people know that you are Jewish and davening, otherwise we should not be embarrassed that we are Jewish…) Regarding davening while sitting down, it is very b’dieved to do this. When we daven we are standing in front of H-shem, and talking directly to Him, and we should be standing. Additionally when we daven it is as if we are bringing a korban, which has to be brought while standing. In situation where a person absolutely can not stand, for health reasons, or because the person will not be able to concentrate properly while standing, then it is permitted to daven while sitting. Here are some of the Halachos of davening while sitting.

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  1. Davening while sitting The position for davening Shemona esrei is standing and it is very בדיעבד to daven sitting. It is even better to daven shacharis[1] extra early at a בדיעבד time, (before נץ החמה) and without a minyan, and then he won’t[2] be able to be מסמיך גאולה לתפלה, then to daven sitting. Therefore it is preferred not to travel in a way that he will have to daven sitting[3]. It goes without saying, that women that can daven before traveling should do so and not wait for the bus or car ride to daven.
  2. A person that thinks that he will arrive at his destination before the end on the zman to daven should wait[4] to daven until he arrives so he can stand and daven.
  3. According to some Poskim if a person davened while sitting and he has the opportunity to daven standing afterwards he should daven again, however the halacha is that he doesn’t have to daven again[5].
  4. A person traveling in a car, bus etc. and it is possible to stop the car in order to daven, he should do so, however if by stopping it will disturb his concentration, (or the bus won’t wait for him) he may daven while sitting[6].
  5. While it is possible to daven while traveling, it is not[7] permitted to daven or bentch while actually driving a car, because that needs concentration, besides that it is also dangerous.
  6. When flying in a plane, it is not permitted[8] to stand and daven shemona esrei in the aisles or other places that people have to walk past because the people will ruin his concentration when they walk past.
  7. A sick or old person that doesn’t have strength to stand, may daven sitting and if need be even laying down[9]. If he can stand for the bowing, he should do so[10].
  8. A person in a dangerous situation, and he is afraid that if he stands he will not be able to concentrate by standing, should daven sitting[11], and he should stand up to take the 3 steps.
  9. Position while sitting- When davening while sitting, we should not[12] lean on the back of the chair, nor on the armrests, our feet should not be extended, or one on the other, rather together, and our head bowed.

 

 

Sources:

O:CH 98-4,

[1] ס’ פ”ט ס”ק ל”ט ומ’, וע’ אשי ישראל פכ”ג הערה נ”ג מר’ ח. קנייבסקי שליט”א שה”ה שמוטב להתפלל מעריב מפלג המנחה מלהתפלל בנסיעה בישיבה. אם התפלל בישיבה והגיע למחוז חפצו לפני הזמן א”צ להתפלל עוד פעם

[2] וע’ מ”ב ס’ פ”ט ס”ק מ”ב, שהעולם אין נזהרין בזה ואולי משום שסוברים שעדיף להסמיך גאולה לתפילה מלהתפלל העומד, אבל עכ”פ רואים מכל זה שלהתפלל בישיבה הוא בדיעבד גדול.

[3] אשי ישראל פכ”ג סע’ י”א.

[4] אשי ישראל פכ”ג סע’ י’ ממ”ב ס’ פ”ט ס”ק מ”ב, וגר”ז ס’ צ”ד סע’ ה’. ע’ הליכות שלמה פ”ח אות ד’ הנוסע במכונית סמוך לחצות וקשה לו לירד מפני ביטול זמן או ממון יתפלל בישיבה ולא ימתין למנין אחר חצות.

[5] מ”ב ס’ צ”ד ס”ק כ”ז דלא כמו שכ’ בשו”ע שם ס’ צ”ד סע’ ט’.

[6] מ”ב ס’ צ”ד ס”ק י”ג, גר”ז שם סע’ ה’.

[7] ע’ הליכות שלמה פ”ח אות ד’ שאסור להתפלל או לברך ברכת המזון בעת נהיגה ואינו דומה לרוכב על חמור שהחמור הולך מעצמו משא,כ מכונית הוא צריך לנהוג וגם יש בזה סכנת נפשות. וע’ אבני ישפה תפלה פי”ד סע’ י”ב.

[8] ע’ הליכות שלמה פ”ח אות ד’ שהמתפלל במטוס בשעת הטיסה יתפלל שמו”ע בישיבה (כשא”א בענין אחר) ולא יעמוד במעברים כיון שיופרע שם ע”י עוברים ושבים. וכ’ שם בהערה ד’ שמותר להתפלל במנין אע”פ שאין שם מחיצה כיון ששם אינו מקום תפילה קבוע. ובהערה 12 שם  שלא היה דעתו נוחה מעשיית מנין בשעת הטיסה כיון שזה מפריע לשאר האנשים הנמצאים שם.

[9] ס’ צ”ד סע’ ו’.

[10] מ”ב ס’ צ”ד ס”ק כ’.

[11] ס’ צ”ד סע’ ז’.

[12] כ”ז במ”ב ס’ צ”ה סק”ב.

 

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