The laws of Tefillat HaDerech – which we say when travelling out of town – can be found in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Haim, 110:4-7. We will examine the question of why it doesn't begin, as all blessings do, with "Baruch Ata Hashem".
The Rishonim discuss this issue (see Tur and Beit Yosef, ibid), and bring three different approaches. Firstly – perhaps this isn’t a blessing at all. Perhaps it's a tefillah (a prayer), which would mean it doesn’t require the standard format of a bracha. This view is found in Tosafot (Pesachim 104b), where he calls this a praise and prayer as opposed to a bracha, such as we say on food, or before doing mitzvot.
Secondly – perhaps this is a blessing, but it doesn't start with the words "Baruch Ata…" because it should be said directly after another bracha and relies on the "Baruch Ata …" of the initial blessing. This concept is called "Bracha HaSmucha LeChaverta", a blessing which is juxtaposed to another blessing, and as such does not have to have the standard complete formulation itself. [For example the second bracha before Shema in the morning starts with "Ahava Rabba…" and not with "Baruch Ata" because it follows immediately the first bracha of "Baruch Ata Hashem … Yotzer Or…"]. This reasoning was used by Rav Meir of Rothenberg (1200's) who would always make sure to say Tefillat HaDerech immediately after finishing another bracha, so as to connect it to the words "Baruch Ata".
Thirdly – Rabbeinu Yona explains that this is in fact a blessing, but nonetheless it does not need the opening "Baruch Ata". The reasoning for this is the following: Tefillat HaDerech ends with "Shomaya Tefillah" and is based on the 'Shomaya Tefillah' blessing from the Amida, which also does not start with "Baruch Ata". It is connected to all the earlier brachot which rely on the "Baruch Ata" wording of the first bracha of the Amida. Even though our Tefillat HaDerech blessing is said by itself, and does not have the preceding brachot of the Amida to rely upon for its "Baruch Ata", it retains the structure of the original source of the blessing – and thus starts as it does without the usual introductory words.
So, if one was travelling and could not recite a blessing (such as an after bracha on food or drink) immediately before Tefillat HaDerech, it could still be said according to reasons one and three. On the other hand, the Shulchan Aruch (ibid) quotes the practice of Rav Meir of Rothenberg (reason number two), indicating that one should make sure it is said juxtaposed to another blessing.
The practice today (according to the Mishna Brura and others) is to recite Tefillat HaDerech even if it is not possible to connect it to another blessing.שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: ברכות
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