Texting: We have a tradition in our family that when one of us is on an airplane, the last thing we do before taking off is texting the other members of the immediate family, saying. “Taking off, I love you.” Thus, because life has much randomness in it, we take comfort in always sharing words of love, when we depart each other’s company. It ensures that God forbid something happens, the memory will be of love. [Being part of a rabbi’s family, we learn quickly that “here today, gone tomorrow” can happen to anyone, anytime.]
Talking: Whenever we depart on a trip – by plane or by car – I recite Tefillat HaDerech, the traveler’s prayer. I keep a copy in my wallet. I believe prayer works on many levels: I believe that by connecting into the Oneness we call “God,” I ensure wholeness within myself, a heightened awareness, and a hopefulness. Some say the prayer focuses us on what is truly important; others say it beseeches the Holy One to act on our behalf. Sometimes I just like to hedge my bets. [Download the prayer.]
Tzedakah: What else might one do as a Jew or Jewish family when someone you know is traveling? Give a dollar to the traveler and tell him that by accepting this dollar, he becomes your shaliach mitzvah (your representative/agent on a mission of tzedakah or charitable giving). According to the rabbinic sages, someone who is en route to perform a mitzvah is given extra protection.