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Sleeping on planes

Question:

Al pi Kabbalah when one sleeps they should be careful not to sleep with there shoes on as this can cause one to forget their learning (if not mistaken). Based on that when one is sleeping on a plane, does he need to remove his shoes or is not really considered a “real” sleep?
Somewhat related to this shaila should one recite hamapil while traveling on a red eye flight overnight?
Thank you for the rovs time.

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

The main reason for not sleeping with shoes is because it is acting like a dead person r”l, as brought in Yoma 78b. A side reason is brought in Sefer Hazechira,(brought in Shemiras Haguf Vhanefesh Y:D 115-1) because it cause a person to forget.

Regarding saying hamapil, the sefer Oholecha Bamitecha (chap.12-1,2) that it depends on your situation, if you will be able to relax and get some undisturbed sleep, (which is usually the case on a long flight), then you should say hamapil. Although you don’t have a very comfortable place to sleep, but this is your sleep for the night, therefore if it is enough to say hamapil. However, if it is a short flight or by the time you get to relax the flight will soon end, then there is a good chance that you won’t actually sleep, so you won’t say hamapil. The same would be if a person is afraid to fall asleep because of fear that someone might steal his packages, he wouldn’t say hamapil.

Regarding taking your shoes off, we would not consider this, the type of sleep that you should remove your shoes. See sources.

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Sources:

As a side point, the question is asked, how is it that the gemora says that talmidei chachamim used to wear their shoes from Shabbos to Shabbos, how did they go to sleep with their shoes on during the week? They give a number of answers. 1. That the talmidei chachamim didn’t go to sleep, rather only slept in a temporary way, therefore it wasn’t a problem to sleep with shoes. 2.  This only applies when a person is going to sleep in a normal way, on a bed, where it is the norm to take off one’s shoes, however when sleeping in a shul, it isn’t the norm, so it isn’t a problem. 3. The talmidei chachamim didn’t sleep for half an hour straight, therefore it wasn’t an issue. 4. When sleeping in middle of learning it doesn’t apply. See Likutei Maharich 1- pg. 639, Peas Sodecha 1-37. Poskim

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