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In Israeli Dati social media circles there's been a little bit of a buzz recently1 over a segula apparently first introduced by Rabbi Grossman during the Second Lebanon War (see here from 0:52). The segula is having a soldier take a shekel or another amount of money with the promise of giving it to tzedakkah after the war, and to keep it on his person when he goes to battle. That makes him into a shliach mitzvah and "shluchei mitzvah aren't harmed".

The buzz comes from the alarm of people who wonder why going out to a milchemet mitzvah, protecting Klal Yisrael from their enemies, isn't "mitzvah enough".

I was therefore wondering two things:

  1. Is there a source for what Rabbi Grossman suggested? What I mean is that besides "shluchei mitzvah aren't harmed", is there some old custom to give someone tzedakkah money when he goes to war or to a dangerous place?

  2. What is the rationale for making someone a shliach mitzvah for one mitzvah as protection while he is already a shliach for another mitzvah?


1 For future reference, this was amidst the 2023 Israeli-Hamas War. I like the title "Mashiv Ha'ruach War" used by some.

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    Note there is no guarantee a soldier is protected by the mitsva of waging war even milchemet mitsva. R Kook has a maamar where he shows the people of Israel is guaranteed to survive a way, but not an individual soldier. In this context, adding a protection is not necessarily adding on top of another protecting mitsva
    – mbloch
    Nov 1, 2023 at 7:08
  • Scroll down to charity: mayimachronim.com/tag/rav-shimshon-of-ostropoli
    – Shmuel
    Nov 1, 2023 at 9:06
  • Seehere אכן כבר אמרו חז"ל במסכת פסחים (דף ח עמוד ב) שלוחי מצווה אינן ניזוקין, ומכל מקום אמרו שם שבמקום שמצוי היזק יכול להיות שגם שלוחי מצווה יינזקו. The protection for sheluchei mitzvo is only in a place where harm is not to be expected. Nov 1, 2023 at 12:26
  • I also saw that the half-shekel, which the Torah describes as an atonement for the soul, has something to do with this, but I don't remember the source.
    – Shmuel
    Nov 1, 2023 at 12:28

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Partial answer...

Possibly see the Kaf HaChaim on SA OC 110:27:

ישתדל ההולך שיעשהו שליח מצוה או יקח בעצמו איזה מטבע ויעשה בו

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