- Question: [Monday 26th MarCheshvan 5782]
I recently received a coin of the Rebbe in honor of my Bas Mitzvah and would like to know if I can turn it into a necklace and wear it when I enter the bathroom?
In my opinion, it is highly improper to enter an item that a person received from the Rebbe into a place of impurity such as a bathroom. This is aside for the absolute Halachic prohibition of doing so if the name of G-d is written on the coin, as is common of all American currency. Accordingly, in my opinion, it is best not to make a necklace of a coin of the Rebbe which one will wear on a constant basis, due to that he may not always be careful to remove it prior to entering a bathroom. In the event that this was already done, then at the very least one should make a double cover for the coin, such as a plastic pocket which the coin fits into, which is then covered by a fold of leather and the like.
Explanation regarding the sanctity of an item received from ones Rebbe: Chassidim are accustomed to treat a picture of the Rebbe as well as items that they received from their Rebbe with absolute sanctity, such as not to throw in the garbage G-d forbid, and not to enter it into a bathroom. Hence, those who wear necklaces or bracelets with a coin of the Rebbe should be careful to take it off before they enter the bathroom, or at least place it into two coverings. To note, that we do find records in Sefarim of a Hassidic custom of turning a coin from the Rebbe into a necklace and wearing it for protection wherever one goes. The parents would wear one on the neck and likewise make one for their sons and daughters to wear on their neck. It is unclear what they would do regarding entering the bathroom, and if this at all was an accepted custom amongst Chabad Chassidim.
Explanation regarding the name of G-d: The name that is used for G-d in foreign languages contains an element of holiness, and although is not as severe as the Hebrew names and is thus permitted to be erased, nevertheless it may not be belittled. It is for this reason that the Poskim rule, and the Jewish custom is to be careful, not to publish the word “G-d” in full without a dash in the middle. The reason for this is because the paper which contains the name can end up in a filthy area, such as the garbage. The Poskim record that lack of being careful in this matter brings poverty to the Jewish people r”l. Accordingly, it is clear that one may not enter the name of G-d into the bathroom, unless it is doubly covered. For this reason, one must be careful not to enter American currency bills or coins into a bathroom being that they state on them “in G-d we trust,” unless they are doubly covered as we explained above.
Sources: See regarding the sanctity that one must treat an item of a tzaddik: Likkutei Sichos 16:129 and Igros Kodesh 23:88 regarding not selling and not to disowning Shirayim of the Rebbe to the Gentile for Passover being that is contrary to the honor of his rebbe to give it or sell it to a Gentile or to disown it; See regarding the old custom of Chassidim of making a necklace from a coin of the tzaddik: Minchas Shabbos 86:29 discusses Rebbe coins worn as necklace in area without Eiruv; See regarding the status of holiness of G-d’s name in English and that it is forbidden to said in a bathroom: Admur 85:3; Bach 84; Olas Tamid 85:6; Ateres Zikeinim 84:3; Shach 179:11. [Kuntrus Achron 85:1] So rules also Kitzur SH”A 5:10; Chesed Lealafim 85:2; And that using it in a blessing is considered a blessing in vain: Admur ibid; Seder Birchas Hanehnin 13:4; And that it may not be belittled: Admur ibid; Rama 179:8; Shach Y.D. 179:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 154:17 and 19 that even according to the lenient opinions, Rabbinically one may not treat the names with belittlement, and they require Geniza; Igros Kodesh 23:36 that according to the Shach ibid this is initially required, while according to others it is required even Bedieved; And that it may not be written [in full] in documents: Nesivos Hamishpat Choshen Mishpat 27:2; Smeh; Kitzur SHU”A 6:3; Aruch Hashulchan Choshen Mishpat 27:3 in name of many Gedolei Yisrael; Ketzos Hashulchan 5:41; Sdei Chemed Mareches mem Klal 13 in name of Pesach Dvir and Leket Hakemach; Igros Kodesh 7:26; 9:62; 23:36 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:217] Igros Kodesh 7:26 “The custom is to write G-d with the omission of a letter”; 9:62 “In all areas that you wrote G-d’s name in Yiddish or English, it should be written with a dash, and not in full.” ; 23:36 “I always wondered why people are not careful to write and print G-d with a dash and not in full” [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:217]; In 85:3 Admur wrote the names of G-d in German and Russian with quotation marks within the word. [Gu”t; Bug”a]. The Rebbe in all his English letters writes “By the grace of G-d”, and so is written in all Jewish orthodox literature in English.; See Achiezer 3:32; See regarding entering a dollar bill into a bathroom: See Piskeiy Teshuvos 154:18 which rules G-d’s name in English requires two coverings to enter a bathroom. See Halichos Shlomo 20 footnote 33; Piskeiy Teshuvos 154 footnote 99 that allows entering dollar bills into the bathroom based on Shach 179:11 that regarding names in foreign languages “when it is not possible to avoid one may be lenient”. Vetzaruch Iyun as it is for this reason that we are particular to write G-d with a dash in order so it not end up in filthy places hence how can one be lenient here if the item is not doubly covered.