Traveling restrictions-Returning home after already leaving the house, if one forgot something:
- Example: I left my house to go to work and realized I left something at home. May I return home to get it? What if I left my house in order to catch a flight, and realized I left something at home, may I go back to retrieve it?
There exists no true Halachic impediment against going back home to retrieve a forgotten item once one has left the door with intent to travel. There is no source for such a restriction in the Talmud and it is likewise not recorded in the Shulchan Aruch. However, in the testament of Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid, he lists amongst his warnings that one should not return home to retrieve a forgotten item once he has already left his house for travel. Now, while not all of the warnings of Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid are necessarily binding on all Jewry, practically, one is initially to take heed of this warning. We will thus discuss the details of this warning, and the cases that applies to, and how to circumvent it in a case that you really need to go back home to get something that you forgot, such as one’s wallet or cell phone or car keys, and the like.
B. The law:
Once one has already left his home for travel, he should not return to retrieve a forgotten item. Rather, he should stand outside his house and ask for someone to bring to him the forgotten item.
The reason: Some write that the reason behind the above warning is due to the words of the Zohar which states that one who travels away from his wife who remains home receives the divine presence during the journey, and it is improper to return home and show that one does not want the divine presence.
Cases of exception: The Mefarshim who deal with this adherence of Rav Yehuda Hachassid list various cases of exception in which this rule does not apply, and one may thus return home to retrieve a forgotten item. The following is a list of exceptions recorded:
- One is not traveling very far. [See Q&A]
- One is traveling from a temporary lodging. [See Q&A]
- One has not yet left the building. [See Q&A]
- One forgot to say goodbye to someone. [See Q&A]
- One is not married and has hence not left a wife behind at home.
- One left during daytime and returns home by nighttime, or vice versa. [See Q&A]
- One’s trip got delayed. [See Q&A]
- One forgot a mitzvah object which he wishes to retrieve. [See Q&A]
- One has no one available at home to bring him the item. [See Q&A]
If there is no one available at home to bring him the forgotten item to the outside, may he be lenient to enter the home to take it?
In a time of need, one may be lenient to go back in his house to take the forgotten item if there’s no one available to bring it to him.
How far a distance of travel is considered like traveling in the above regard?
It is only necessary to be careful in the above if one is traveling a far distance, such as to a different city, however when traveling within the same city he may return home to retrieve a forgotten item. [Thus, if on one’s way to work in the city one realized that he forgot something at home, he may return home to get it. The same applies regarding all errands that one is taking care of in the city, that one may return home to get a forgotten item after he has left home.]
Must one be careful in the above if he traveled from an area that is not his home, such as a hotel room or friend’s house and the like?
Some Poskim rule that the above adherence only applies to returning to one’s own home after having left it for travel purposes. However, if one left a temporary dwelling place, such as a hotel room or friend’s home, then he may return to retrieve a forgotten item. Other Poskim, however, rule that one should be stringent even in such a case.
If one left his room but did not yet leave the house or building, may he return to his room to get a forgotten item?
Yes. So long as he has not yet left the actual building or house, he may return to a specific room to get a forgotten item. [Thus, so long as one has yet to leave his apartment building, he may return back to his apartment to retrieve a forgotten item.]
If one forgot to say goodbye to somebody, may he return to do so?
Yes. Furthermore, in such a case, not only may he return to say goodbye to the person, but he may also return to retrieve a forgotten item.
If one changed his mind in the midst of travel to no longer travel, may he return home?
Yes. Furthermore, in such a case, he may even return home if he later decides to travel again.
If one left his house during daytime hours, may he return to retrieve the lost item at night?
Yes, as in this regard days and nights are considered different time periods.
If one’s trip got delayed, may he return home until the time of travel arrives?
If one forgot his Tefillin, or other mitzvah item at home, may he return to retrieve it?
May one return home for the sake of going to the bathroom, or shutting off the light, and the like?
Yes, the issue is specifically with going back to retrieve a forgotten item, however, to go back to use the bathroom or do some other errand, is permitted.
 See Shev Yaakov 23; Noda Beyehuda Tinyana E.H. 79; Brought in Igros Kodesh Rebbe Maharash p. 45
 As it is recorded in many Achronim, as brought in next footnote, and likewise so testifies the Shivim Temarim that we are careful in this.
 Tzavah of Rav Yehuda Hachassid letter 43, recorded in: Zivcheiy Tzedek 116:104; Chesed Lealafim 110:5; Kaf Hachaim O.C. 110:21; Y.D. 116:162; Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 116:64; Shemiras Hanefesh 57; Piskeiy Teshuvos 110:9; See Makor Chesed on Tzavah ibid that this is based on Bereishis Raba 77
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid in name of the son of Rav Zusha of Anipoli; Igara Deparka 10
 See Igros Kodesh Rebbe Maharash p. 47 that the Tzavah is not understood, and hence we only need to be careful in the exact case mentioned in the Tzavah
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid based on the reason recorded above which relate specifically to a married individual
 Ohalecha Beamasecha 4:56
 Kaf Hachaim Y.D. 116:162
 Initial stance of Shivim Temarim of Tzavah ibid in implication of Tzavah ibid and that so rules the Midrash Raba; Initial stance of Igara Diparka; Shemiras Hanefesh 57; Haskama of Rav Y.S. Nathanson; Likkutei Maharich Seder Tefilas Haderech in name of Shoel Umeishiv; Piskeiy Teshuvos 110:9; Based on story of Raba Bar Bar Channah in Brachos 53b; Rashi Bereishis 32:25 that Yaakov returned to get his Pachim Ketanim;
 Conclusion of Shivim Temarim ibid based on what he witnessed from a number of Gedolim, including Rav Hillel Paritcher, who were stringent in this even during a journey; Conclusion of Igara Deparka ibid
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid; Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 116:64; Piskeiy Teshuvos 110:9
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid
 Mili Dechassidusa on Tzavah ibid
 Sefer Shulchan Chaiy 46:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 110:9
 Sefer Segulos Yisrael Mareches Daled 38; Piskeiy Teshuvos 110:9
 Shulchan Chaiy 46:4