In the Rama on SA OC Siman 605, we find the custom of "Kaparos" that many do Erev Yom Kippur. Of those who perform this custom a chicken is used. However many also use money (i.e. instead of waving a chicken over their head they wave money and then give this money to Tzedeka. The wording of the prayer that is said is changed appropriately.)

What is the earliest source for the custom to use money instead of a chicken? The earliest I found so far is the Chai Adam in Klal 144 Sif 4. Although I want to know if there is a source earlier then this.

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    Well, considering that the S"'A itself condemns the practice, I'd guess that the Minhag started as a sort of Pesharah to take a step back from the practice as recorded by the RaM"A while maintaining a formal act of giving to Tzedakah to be Ma'Avir the Roa' HaGezerah. But that's just a guess, not an answer.
    – Seth J
    Oct 24, 2012 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


The Nitei Gavriel Yom Kippur 10 footnote 24 says that the source of using money is the Chaye Adam and that it is not found in any of the Rishonim.


The Chai Adam that you referred to in your question gives the source from the Magen Avraham in the name of Rashi (Shabbat 81b sv Hai) as an ancient custom of swinging around even seeds.

  • mocdeg - Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Hopefully you stay around and add to the questions and answers. However the question asked, is regarding the source for using money. Oct 24, 2012 at 19:21
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    @GershonGold The Chayei Adam explains the source for the custom that he saw around him of using money instead of birds based on the tradition back to Rashi that people would swing seeds around them before the Yemei HaDin, implying that other objects besides chickens are acceptable. Why does this not answer the question?
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2012 at 19:30
  • @DoubleAA However there is no previous source for using money as it is. Oct 24, 2012 at 19:31
  • @GershonGold That could be, but the argument for using money is more involved than just "no rishonim said the word money" and this answer is very relevant.
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2012 at 19:36
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    @GershonGold, perhaps the seeds were a currency. Perhaps not. Perhaps they represented currency. Perhaps not. Isn't the point that the Chaye Adam is saying that the Minhag is to take these seeds instead of chickens and wave them over your head and give them to Tzedakah (because seeds can produce food, after all)? I don't know that this is the source, but since the Chaye Adam actually says, "use coins like the ancient custom of using seeds", I think it's fair for mocdeg to draw the same conclusion.
    – Seth J
    Oct 24, 2012 at 20:24

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