What is the status of a food item on Shabbos which a country declares as legal tender? For example, if a developing country designates chocolate as legal tender, may one consume, handle, or "exchange" it for favors/items on Shabbos?

  • 3
    Salt also was hence salary seasalt.com/history-of-salt Cant imagine shabbos without salt!
    – interested
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 14:50
  • It's hard to imagine a food so stable and valuable to be designated as currency, especially where people would actually still eat it.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 21:34
  • @interested salt was valuable but not a currency. You could never borrow salt with ribbis.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 21:36
  • @DoubleAA I was copying he site I quoted which it seems you never checked here is what is says The word "salary" was derived from the word "salt." Salt was highly valued and its production was legally restricted in ancient times, so it was historically used as a method of trade and currency.
    – interested
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


The category of muktzah that legal tender (money) would generally fall into is machmas gufo which includes items that have no intrinsic function such as stones, sticks and money (see intro of mishna Berura in the beginning of Siman 308). The case that you are describing is where the item certainly has other function such as food so would not fall into the category of muktza. The question of using it for “exchange” purposes is a different question as that becomes an issue with conducting a business transaction on shabbos.

  • I think there is a difference between shabbos and yom tov in this if food can become muktse. on yom tov it can if you dont intend to use it which I imagine currency would be.
    – interested
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 20:20
  • The word muktzah comes from the place behind the house where they would leave cut dates (ketzios) to dry until they were edible, so food can conceivably be muktzah. Not that sugar would fall into that category.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 22:21
  • @Mordechai The place was called that not the articles in it.
    – interested
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 9:25

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