Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It is customary on Taanis Esther to give a coin (or three coins each) valued at half the local currency's standard unit to tzedakah in commemoration of the mitzvah of Machatzis Hashekel (Rema 694:1).

In America, there are a number of different half-dollars. Most common in circulation are silver half-dollars and copper-clad nickel half-dollars. Ideally, should one give the silver half-dollar?

share|improve this question
Related. – yoel Feb 14 '13 at 17:20
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Rama says "the coin that is established in that place, in that time" המטבע הקבוע באותו מקום ובאותו זמן . The current half dollar which is not silver would suffice.

Kaf HaChaim 694:20 indicates that it is preferable to use real silver.

share|improve this answer
Which is more established? They're all legal tender for all debts public and private. – Double AA Feb 14 '13 at 18:33
@Double AA: I would bet that most people use the copper-clad nickel half-dollar as a half dollar, as the silver ones by far exceeds its value. – Gershon Gold Feb 14 '13 at 18:35
@GershonGold fine that it would suffice - no question there - but would the silver one be a hiddur? – yoel Feb 14 '13 at 18:48
dailyhalacha.com/… – Efraim Jan 19 '14 at 2:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.