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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Shevet HaKehosi - Dollar Bills In the Bathroom?

It is not permissible to brings something with Hashem's name into a bathroom unless it is inside a double wrapped enclosure. What about a US dollar bill which says, "In G-d We Trust"? Must you leave your money outside or double bag it?

The Shevet HaKehosi (3:271) brings the Shach (YD 179:11) who says that you may erase Hashem's name if it is written in another language, such as the word G-d. The Gilyon Maharshas adds that this is not the case if it is written in Ksav Ashuris. The Sdei Chemed says it is a machlokes whether we can erase Hashem's name written in foreign letters.

Even those who hold that erasing Hashem's name written in foreign letters is assur, it is only if it spells Hashem's name in Lashon HaKodesh and not the foreign word for it. If it is a foreign term in foreign letters than according to most poskim it is muttar to erase. The exception is Rav Yaakov Emden who forbids even this. However the source for Rav Yaakov Emden's issur is unclear and the Keses Sofer says that he may have meant only unnecessarily.

Furthermore says the Shevet HaKehosi the dollar bills are not written by anyone with any kavana for Shem Hashem, it is merely printed by a machine. Therefore he concludes that it has no Kedusha and may be taken into a bathroom, but if someone wants to be machmir, Tavo Alav Bracha.

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha. We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation. Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

RELATED ARTICLES:bathroom  halacha  Shem Hashem  Shevet HeKehosi

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Visitor Comments: 3

MB, Passaic, NJ, chu, 2011-02-01 06:42:55
Who said that the "God" in "In God We Trust" necessarily refers to the Creator, the notion of Deity that Yahadus teaches?

To most people making and handling the bills, it refers to a trinitarian deity, something so different from what we believe in that it's not just slightly different beliefs about the same G-d. Even according to Tosafos's famous heter, it's their notion of the Father who is an imperfect understanding of Hashem. "God" refers to all three persons of the trinity.

And according to the obverse side of the Great Seal of the United States, printed about an inch away, the God in question is a Grand Architect (shown by the lines and numbers involved in the pyramid) who is above the world and passively watches it (the eye floating above). There is a picture represtenting a Deistic concept of deity on the same bill.

Would, a parallel to the Sheivet haKehasi's answer would work in reverse to permit idolatrous references that were produced by machine?
sr, y-m, 2011-02-01 06:58:29
I heard that the Rambam wrote somewhere that when Moshiach comes the yishmaeilim and notzrim will have an easier time because they already understand the concept of monotheism.

when they say G-d they mean the ruler do the world. It is not close enough and need not be the same exact idea as ours? There is even a question about Shituf and if it assur to them, so it seems to me that the G-d in question is the same.
MB, Passaic, NJ, chu, 2011-02-02 03:08:01
SR: The question is whether they cross the line and are actually describing someone else. I mentioned Tosafos's position about shituf. Tosafos suggest that when Xians speak of "the Father" they mean the true G-d, and therefore the other two persons of the trinity comprise a shituf. But that means the word "God" on the bill doesn't refer to HQBH, it refers to Him plus two others working together. If we were to follow the Sheivet haKehasi's logic with Tosafos's opinion, the question would only arise if the bill said "In the Father we trust."

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