The discussion in this question seems to indicate that my own tzedakah money is fungible; I can collect coins in a tzedakah box and exchange them for other currency when it's time to make the donation. Is this also true when a third party is involved?

Specifically, suppose some people have given me cash to distribute as tzedakah on an upcoming trip to Israel. Do I pass those specific bills along (which are US currency), because the givers said "this is for tzedakah"? Do I make sure I give at least that much in tzedakah but not worry about the currency involved (maybe I converted to shekels)?

If I do not need to use the specific bills that were given to me, do they have any special status? For example, do I need to set them aside for my own (US-based) tzedakah, or, having fulfilled the mission with different money, can I just put them in my wallet and spend them normally?

  • 2
    If this situation affects you personally, I recommend that you consult with your Rabbi before implementing any answers you get here.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 17:48
  • possible dupe? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2952/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 5:43
  • @DoubleAA, that's the question I linked to in my question. The discussion there implies that your own tzedakah money is fungible, discusses special characteristics of kaparot, and doesn't seem to cover agency. Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 13:02
  • @MonicaCellio Oops didn't see that you linked to it. Sorry! As IsaacMoses points out in the comments there, it seems Kapparot would have the most reasons to be non-fungible as not only are they specific coins, but they're being used for a more ritual-y purpose. So I imagine the answer here would be no more strict than there. But let's see if anyone can find a source.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


If people gave you the money to disperse in Israel as "Shliach Mitzvah Money" it is possible you shouldn't exchange it, but give that specific coin.

See the Kaf HaChayim (110:27) and Kemach Solet (pg 121) brought in this answer. They say that one should mark the coin and give it to the travel to give to charity. The Kemach Solet (one of the sources for the Kaf Hachayim) spells out what the person should say to make the traveler his emissary and thereby protect him from harm and it seems to be predicated on the specific coin.

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