Israeli Currency With Pesukim: Can You Take It Into A Bathroom?


shekelIn 1970, when a new Israeli paper currency was issued with pesukim from Tanach on it, Rav Menashe Klein was asked if it can be taken into the bathroom. He answers (Mishneh Halachos 5:157) that if it is not readable to most people without a magnifying glass, it is permissible to take it into a bathroom and has no kedushah at all. The same would hold true, he says, for a miniature Tanach printed so small that you cannot read it without the benefit of a magnifying instrument. His opinion differs with the opinion of the Maharsham (3:359) who says that it is worthwhile to be machmir.

How can one be machmir? Should you empty your pockets and leave all your money outside the public bathroom?

The required covering for bringing kisvei hakodesh into the bathroom is a double cover: a bag within a bag. The Radvaz (3:513) says that there are different levels of kedusha for kisvei hakodesh, with tefillin being on the highest level. For seforim not written in Ksav Ashuris, the halacha is more lenient. Therefore, the Radvaz says that it is enough to just keep it in your pocket. This is certainly so in this case, where the pesukim are not readable and it is not even written but rather printed.

If some words were readable, then the Mishneh Halachos does agree that it is enough to keep it in your pocket like the opinion of the Radvaz.

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  1. Really, the only shaila is if you are allowed to take Israeli currency OUT of the bathroom. The “pesukim” it quotes are as worthwhile as the “pesukim” quoted in the Christian Bible.