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Why do some give a coin to a traveler?

Why do some give a coin to a traveler?

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Question:

Why is it that Jews give a coin to someone who is traveling? Is the traveler supposed to return the coin when they return?

Answer:

Our sages tell us "An emissary to do a mitzvah isn't harmed."1

Traveling is always fraught with danger—though to a considerably lesser extent today than in times past. When we know of a friend or relative who is traveling, we traditionally give them a coin or bill and appoint them as a messenger to give the money to charity in the place that they are going to. In this way, they become an emissary to do a mitzvah (in Hebrew: a "shaliach mitzvah"), and they merit this extra level of G‑d's protection.

Rochel Chein for Chabad.org

Footnotes
1.

The exception to this rule is if the emissary in the course of his/her travels ventures into a dangerous area, or engages in an inherently risky activity.

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the chabad.org Ask the Rabbi team.
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jf Chutz October 2, 2015

Further "Our sages tell us "An emissary to do a mitzvah isn't harmed."1"

1. "The exception to this rule is if the emissary in the course of his/her travels ventures into a dangerous area, or engages in an inherently risky activity.

Can you elaborate on this beyond the obvious (that if you foolishly enter a dangerous area, , .i.e. Trust in Hashem but tie up your camel)? What if everywhere is dangerous for a Jew (i.e., almost now)? What if one enters an area one has been assured is safe and it becomes unsafe? Reply

Rochel Chein, author September 19, 2011

Re: A question The custom of "shliach mitzvah gelt", as it is known, is based on the Talmud and is a general Jewish custom, not specifically a Chabad one. Reply

Anonymous Sydney September 7, 2011

a question.. My American Jewish husband believes this is rarely practiced in the US. But this is a common thing where I am from in Australia. I was however deeply involved in the Chabad community there. Is Shaliach Mitzvah just a Chabad minhag? Is this why this pratice is pretty much alien to him? you need to sort out a dispute for us ;) Reply

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