If a person will have to prepare for Shabbos
after reaching his destination, the poskim disagree whether he may leave for
another city if he will arrive after one third of the day has passed. But the
Bach holds that a person can depart for another city even after chatzosif he estimates that he will arrive at his destination well before
the Shabbos and have ample time to prepare for Shabbos, and this is the opinion
of the later poskim. If all preparations for Shabbos have already been made so
that he will not have to prepare the Shabbos meals after he arrives, a person is
permitted to set out for another city on erev Shabbos even after chatzos.
Even when it is permitted to depart later in the
day, a person has to be careful not to leave so late that he risks violating the
Shabbos. Even when the trip is expected to go smoothly, it is common for
travelers to meet unexpected delays, especially when traveling by air, and this
should be taken into consideration when scheduling travel on erev Shabbos. Even
when the trip is made for the sake of a mitzvah, a person should make every
effort to arrive at his destination well before Shabbos. A person who makes a
long trip on erev Shabbos aware that he risks violating the Shabbos shows
disrespect for the Shabbos, even if he is fortunate and arrives on time.
After the time for lighting the Shabbos candles, it
is unfitting to travel in a motor vehicle even within the city limits unless it
is absolutely necessary. Many people have already accepted the Shabbos, so, even
though a person who has not yet accepted the Shabbos is still permitted to do
work at home that is forbidden on Shabbos, it is disrespectful of the Shabbos to
drive in public before people for whom the Shabbos has already begun. Moreover,
most people assume that Shabbos begins when the candles are lit, so when they
see a Jew driving after licht benschen,
they assume that he is violating the Shabbos, and that is a chilul
Hashem. And a person who takes a cab driven by a Jew after licht
benschen may, in addition, actually cause chillul
Shabbos if the cabby will have no time to drive back before the Shabbos actually
starts. Besides that, when traveling just before Shabbos, the cabby is likely to
drive too fast, endangering the lives of the passengers, his own life and the
lives of pedestrians and other drivers on the road.
The story is told of a talmid
chochom in the time of the Chazon Ish who once set out for another
city on erev Shabbos after chatzos and had a serious accident. After his
recovery (he was in the hospital for a month) he went to the Chazon Ish and told
him that he thought that the accident happened because of his averos.
The Chazon Ish told him that ordinarily his learning protected him, but in this
case, because he set out on erev Shabbos after chatzos, in violation of the halachah, his learning did not protect him.
Happy is the man who completes his journey and has
everything prepared for the Shabbos well before Shabbos comes in, so that he
accepts the Shabbos early and waits for the Shabbos as a person would wait to
receive a king. Doing that, he extends the boundaries of kedushah. G-d will
reciprocate by relieving him of oppression—extending his boundaries—in times
of trouble. Nothing has he power to sanctify the Jewish People like the Shabbos.
That is why the Jewish People were commanded to keep the Shabbos at Mara.
G‑d wanted to sanctify their souls and prepare them to receive the Torah
on Mount Sinai.