The Matzav Shmoooze: End the Mid-Flight Minyanim

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in flight minyanDear Editor,

I am not here to pass judgment. People do different things, usually based on their minhag or the p’sak of their rov.

But I’d like you to watch the following video taken on a flight to Eretz Yisroel this past week. Isn’t it time we stop with the minyanim on planes? Are we completely oblivious to the chillul Hashem that is inevitably caused, even when we are as sensitive as we can be? Daveners end up leaning on sitting passengers, getting in the way of the stewardesses, and creating a disturbance.

I have gone through the inyan thoroughly, from a practical and halachic standpoint, but I am not your posek, so I won’t tell you what to do. Speak to any prominent posek yourself. You may be surprised to hear that you should be davening in your seat, not clogging up the aisles of a plane.

We have been blessed that El Al, in particular, has been so accommodating to in-flight minyanim. But perhaps it would be better if they disallowed it, because what I myself have witnessed leads me to believe that the time has come to end it.

Watch the video below, taken this past week. I think you’ll agree. It’s time to end this.

A Reader

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  1. this flight was fully booked by skver and at the last minute they let on a handful of others who needed to go the whole shmone esrei is 5-10 minutes with minimal noise no one blasted music ..

  2. El Al has not been very accommodating about minyanim. I’ve found them to be one of the more difficult airlines in regards to minyanim, ironically. Israair was very good about it back in the day, and many of the European airlines have been very good about minyanim in my experience.
    I personally have never davened in the aisles, that’s just negligent. And when davening shachris on a plane I always daven vasikin, while most passengers are still asleep and the flight attendants are not serving meals. Even then I only use the back of the plane and only with explicit permission from the flight attendants.

  3. in answer to REDD #3…..for you to ask “what was so terrible about this” based on a 30 second video clip is, in my opinion, an unfair question. multiply that “30 second ” scenario by 60 and you will come up with 1/2 hour of inconveniencing other passengers who are not davening (ie. non jews). what if they need the restroom in that 1/2 hour? or even without the need of a restroom, the seats on a plane are crowded enough as it already is. why should other passengers have to tolerate someone hanging over them saying his prayers and make it even more crowded? it’s pushing the envelope very close (if not already) to a chillul Hashem.

  4. While you may have a point, anyone who travels to Israel knows that this is not the norm. This must have been on a special flight or something. Maybe going with a Rebbe. That just looks like a flying Shul. Not the norm.

  5. Looks ok to me, no passengers are complaining. My guess this is plane full of skver chasidim going to be with their rebbe in EY. I gererally daven in my seat, but an almost all male/chasidic flight, if theres any flight that should have a minyan, it’s this one.

  6. Why were these Chasidim flying on a regular flight to join their Rebbe’s visit to Eretz Yisroel?
    wEWRENT THERE chartered flights for their group only?

  7. If the plane is chartered its one thing. But if there are other people including non religious and gentile , then its an absolute chillul hashem

  8. In our experience, those who complain about “inconvenience” belong to one very specific sort of people. The rest of passengers barely notice a group of people doing something wierd, given that every airplane is filled with all sort of diverse people, all of them doing their own wierd things. Unless someone travels First Class (no longer available on most US and EU airlines) passengers are so tightly squeezed in those metal cans, that inevitably we all inconvenience each others, whatever we do or don’t do. With regards to staying in our seat on long flights, lest we should “clog the aisles” I urge A Reader to research DVT.


    Yes, there are poskim who say that you don’t need or that it’s even preferable to daven in your seat- and certainly if it will disturb another passenger…

    BUT, If all or most of the passengers agree (as it seems in the above video), then why not make a minyan????

    I was once on elal and people were gathering near the front seat, crowding a fellow’s seat who didn’t necessarily “look” like he was into the whole thing, and I asked him if he minds, he said mind??? I want to join!!!!

    Besides, elal is among the LEAST courteous and cooperative of all the airlines and they don’t give basic respect to the frum who are a major source of business, and they only begrudgingly let them make a minyan. You would think after all these years they would catch on that frum people want to make a minyan and not give a hard time. I was once on elal where all the passengers agreed to have a minyan AND the crew gave permission and STILL one of the stewardesses came pushing her way through the men who were in middle of shmoneh esre.

    BOTTOM LINE: Yes we need to be more considerate in public places and on flights, and yes maybe there are times it’s better to daven in the seat and ch”v we have no right to disturb or impose on other passengers-BUT if the crew allows and the passengers don’t mind and perhaps even want it- WHY NOT???

    PS. I can’t stand the people who can’t stand when the “inconsiderate, chillul hashem” make a minyan but they don’t mind when you have frei Israelis jumping around and barking in their uniquely annoying Israeli smokers voice the whole flight- thats ok. And it’s ok for a frei to turn over the whole plane so he can sit next to his girlfriend but if a frum politely asks not to sit next to a girl- chillul hashem!

    Yes perhaps frum should be held by a different standard, but not by a double standard!!

  10. my Rav Hagaon Rav Feivel Cohen shlita has many times stated publicly that one should NOT daven at these minyanim in the airplane because there will be no kavana AND the chillul Hashem caused by this.

  11. It seems that Matzav is determined to keep their “NY Times” style of articles and opinions” just to create “something controversial to talk about. First you stir up the pot with the Holocaust video. …now this!! Inviting Loshon Hora, etc…..,.Why DO YOU DO THIS? If you want to bring the issue up, have REAL LIVE Poskim Rule on IT. PERIOD! What does R’ Shteiman say? What does Rav Kanievsky say? What do the Poskim say? Why don’t you do that? I will tell you why – then there will be nothing to chatter about!! I am really through with a website that gratuitously puts in unnecessary articles

  12. Looks like everyone on airplane was davening. Seats looked all empty. That was awesome!!!! Only the flight attendant needed to pass. Everyone else was calm and just inspiring to see.

  13. Tefillah is about kavana and in such a situation that’s more important than standing up and joining together, bothering people, blocking the isles, etc, etc. The mitzvah involved is overweighed by any possible chilul HaShem

  14. I’II tell you a worse story. This past erev rosh hashana I was on an El Al flight to Eretz Yisroel. My section was only hamishe yidin. someone announced “mariv” Although I personally sit when Im on a plane this time I figured Im not bothering anyone so I stood up. Before shemone esrai the plane hit turbulence and the seat belt light went on. Maybe a handful sat down. During shmona esrai the stewardess came down the aisle yelling “ZE SAKANA ZE SAKANA” Ill let you guess how many sat down.

  15. I’m surprised not one commentator mentioned United Airlines. For your information it is COMPANY POLICY to give over the entire rear galley for minyanim, as long as it does not interfere with their scheduled service. I many times get them to announce davening on the loudspeaker. Compared to this, I must say that “No, Elal is not at all accomodating!!!
    (Speaking of Skver, I had the pleasure of flying with the rebbe on United when he came for his previous visit to Israel a few years ago.)

  16. To ‘ A Reader’
    1) a week be fore the nesia a manual was given to all yidden divrei mussar how to talk nice,’ please, excuse me, sorry’ etc etc not that they needed just ‘ain mezarzim ala lizrusin’
    2) the plane had 375 yidden and 25 friendly gentiles. so the yidden were over, over overwhelmingly majority . The non yidden were made aware and were asked politely of what will be done the following 15 min. I know because I had children that went .
    3) To Mr ‘A Reader’ You say put a stop to minyan in the air …your telling me what to do? It all depends on circumstances. . suppose its relatively empty plane and after clearing with stewardes passengers, why on earth shouldn’t we make a minyam?
    4) Chillel hashem?+What, your embaressed of your Judaism


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