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Money in a pocket on Shabbos

If someone find a small sum of money in his coat on Shabbos (and therefore not muktzeh machmat chisaron kiss),
Is he allowed to take it out normally since it’s muktzeh shemelachto leisur and he needs to wear the coat (letzorech mekomo)?


There are a number of misconceptions here.

Firstly, coins are not considered Muktzeh machmas chisaron kiss, whatever their value, but rather are Muktzeh Machmas Gufo (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 310:7 and Mishnah Berurah note 24). Banknotes, however are considered Muktzah machmas chissaron kiss. Both coins and notes, not being keli shemelachto le’issur, may not be moved letzorech gufo oh mekomo.

Furthermore, there is an additional potential problem here. The coat itself may become a Bassis ledovor ho’ossur – anything upon which or in which an item of muktzeh is placed before Shabbos and remains there when Shabbos comes in becomes a Bassis, and receives the same Halachos of muktzeh as the muktzeh item place on it. In theory, then the coat becomes a bassis and cannot be moved at all.

However, in practice the coat will not usually become a bassis for several reasons:

  1. If there is something else in the coat pockets which is more valuable than the money, the coat is a bassis ledavar hamuttar veossur, and may be moved on Shabbos.
  2. If the money is a small sum, such that it is insignificant in relation to the coat, it does not make the coat a bassis.
  3. If the pocket in which the money is found is formed by sewing a piece of cloth onto the garment with the material of the garment acting as part of the pocket (as is commonly done on shirts) then it is an integral part of the garment, and a muktzeh item in such a pocket makes the whole garment a bassis. If however, the pocket is formed by sewing a pocket onto a garment (as is commonly done with trouser pockets and jacket pockets) then it can be viewed as separate to the garment, and a muktzeh item in the pocket does not make the whole garment a bassis. In such a case, the garment may be shaken until the muktzeh falls out (although the pocket itself should not be shaken since the pocket itself is muktzeh).
  4. Something can only become a bassis if the muktzeh item was placed there before Shabbos with the intention that it remain there for at least the beginning of Shabbos. With money in a pocket, in most scenarios it was placed there before Shabbos with intention to remove it before Shabbos and was forgotten about, in which case the garment does not become a bassis.

If for any of the above reasons the coat is not a bassis, you may shake the coat until the money falls out and then use the coat. If it is difficult or embarrasssing to shake it out at the moment that you find it, you may continue wearing the coat with the money inside (assuming you are not in the street in a place where there is no Eruv) until you find a convenient place to shake it out.

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