475. Traveling Erev Shabbos

68:10 Some travelers, if they eat at a non-Jewish residence, do not say gather to form a zimmun when they bentch, based on the idea that this is not a fixed locale for such a thing. However, if they ate together, it is improper to do away with the zimmun. (Our practice is to recite the zimmun – Mishnah Brurah 193:27.) In bentching, they recite, “May the Merciful One forever send us abundant blessings in the place of our journey and in the place where we sat.” If one of them provided food for all of them, they recite “May the Merciful One bless the master of this house” referring to the one who provided the food, otherwise they merely continue with “May the Merciful One bless us.”

According to the letter of the law, one should not travel more than three parsangs (about 7.5 miles) on Friday, whether he is heading home or to some other location. (One may travel greater distances than this when riding – Mishnah Brurah 249:1.) This is so that one should be able to prepare for Shabbos properly. (It is forbidden even if he would prefer to spend Shabbos at home – MB 249:3.) Nowadays, however, we are not concerned about this because most people prepare a great deal for Shabbos. Nevertheless, a person should be careful to arrive at his host’s home or hotel while it is still early because many Shabbos violations occur when a person arrives late. A person should not let his evil inclination tempt him by saying that there’s still plenty of time left.