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Flight from US to Tel Aviv Delayed – Passengers Stuck in Airport for Shabbos

When it comes to accommodating Yidden arriving late on erev Shabbos, the rabbi of Ben-Gurion International Airport, who insists on not being mentioned by name, does what needs to be done without taking credit. US Air flight 796 that departed from Philadelphia airport after complications is set to touch down in Ben-Gurion at 17:00. Shekiyah is 17:27. The pilot managed to pick up some time as the scheduled landing time was listed as 17:10 up to the mid afternoon in Eretz Yisrael.

It appears the original aircraft designated for the flight was set to depart at 09:15 and land in Israel at 14:15 but due to a “bad smell” the passengers were instructed to disembark after an hour delay on board. The passengers were apparently told that they would be landing by 16:00, so most opted to take the flight. After they finally took off they learned the scheduled landing time was 17:10, just 17 minutes before shekiyah. As a result, some will be spending shabbos in nearby Petach Tikvah or Lod, and for others, possibly as many as 30-50 people, shabbos will be in the airport.

The rav, known for his ability to move mountains, made arrangements for mattresses and glatt food to ensure the families, some with small children and infants, can have a shabbos in the airport.

He did add that travelers must think to themselves just how wise it is to cut travel time so close to shabbos, adding in this case he is aware for many it was a matter of getting to Israel in time for yomtov, but nonetheless, it is a shabbos issue.

This is the information YWN-ISRAEL was able to obtain after speaking with the rabbi at the airport and some of the relatives in Eretz Yisrael of the passengers on the flight. More details will undoubtedly unfold after shabbos when the passengers can be interviewed.

What is critical for relatives to understand is that while shabbos may not be ideal, the needs of the frum passengers are being addressed and no one will be left to fend for themselves.

Zaka is involved in transporting supplies to the airport for the stranded passengers.

A number of Bnei Brak take home food stores have also announced they will send whatever is left at closing to the airport to assist the passengers enjoy shabbos as much as possible.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

18 Responses

  1. Baruch Hashem for Am Yisroel.
    No where else except in the HOLYLAND would and could these arrangements be made. Gdwilling, Shabbos should be gevalidik for these passengers.

  2. and why, exactly, were they flying with an ETA of 2:15 pm and it takes approx 1 hour from landing till you get out of the airport, leaving 2 hours to get to where you should go.

    no cushion time for anything to go wrong.

  3. First of all it is important never to travel on Friday after Chatzos. The flight was originally schedule to land after Chatzos. At least it will be at the airport with things they need for SHABBOS KODESH; however it certainly won’t be in the spirit of SHabbos of not having proper beds and such as a shower or bath before hand and a good mikvah. Even when I am in a big city I want to be in the neighborhood before 9 hour halachaic day. I remember one experience when I lived
    and drive to shul before mincha and than Motzei Shabbos, I had my car at the shul and drove home. It was a mile and half from my home. The acceleration cable broke and I literally craw to shul and just made it on time.

  4. It is the fault of the frum passengers for not arriving earlier or the day before. I have been delayed as much as twenty four hours due to snow.

  5. “Tchiloso B’Pshia V’Sofo B’oneis Chayov”!
    To schedule a flight that will so close to shabbos in the first place violates the first set of halocho in Shulchan Oruch about traveling so close to Shabbos.

    I am always amazed at the way people will travel so close to Shabbos.

  6. For passengers with infants or the elderly, I suspect there will be some heter provided to transport them to hotels or homes nearby for shabbos. For the others, its no big deal since most of us have at one time or another slept on an airport floor during blizzards or storms.

  7. can ‘frum’ yidden really travel so close to shabbos and still be considered ‘frum’? There is a clear halacha and many opinions that one should NOT embark on a journey that will possibly cause a chilled shabbos.

  8. Before anyone criticizes those on the flight for cutting it so close to Shabbos, keep in mind that in some cases, there were no options. I flew to E”Y on a different flight on Thursday for an emergency. B”H I got to Yerushalayim in time for Shabbos (and even for a quick shower). If not for this emergency, I would never have flown out on Thursday night.

  9. I am curious why people have to scramble and cater to irresponsible people. Noone in their right mind should take chances and risk landing 3 hours before shabbos. Halacha clearly dictates one should be extra careful and not travel long distances erev shabbos. People should be taught a lesson once and for all. Every time we cater to their stupidity it will continue to happen.

  10. Why do people take a plane for a flight from America to EY that is scheduled to land 3 hours before shabbos?

    I would not even want to do it if it were a 1-hour flight, but even more so, for a distance like this.

    These people owe it to themselves. They shouldn’t blame anyone for this but themselves.

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