- Question: [Tuesday, 28th Teves 5781]
Dear Rabbi, our Chuppah is already scheduled to begin and I cannot seem to find the wedding ring that I bought for the Kiddushin to give my Kallah under the Chuppah. We checked all our pockets as well as the clothing in my apartment and we cannot find it. I believe that all the jewelry stores are already closed and even if still open it would delay the wedding tremendously to find a new ring. What do you suggest that we do? The Misader Kiddushin is telling us that we must find the ring and is not sure what to do without it.
First, a practical suggestion, speak to the owner of the wedding hall and find out if he has a spare wedding ring available for these purposes. Believe it or not, you are not the first Chasan to not find the ring when it comes time for the chuppah and therefore many wedding hall owners or managers are accustomed to always have a spare ring available to sell to the Chasan as an emergency such as in the case like yours. On this note, we suggest for all wedding hall managers to equip themselves with an extra simple gold wedding ring for this purpose. It is a relatively cheap investment that will help save the day of your clients in a not so uncommon occurrence.
In the event that there is no extra ring available, and you are unable to purchase a new one at that moment, then the best option that I see that is left is for you to simply use a coin that is worth over a Peruta [i.e. a 25 cent coin, or 5 shekel coin etc] to marry her with.
One may not borrow someone else’s wedding ring from them, as the Chasan is required to actually own it, and nobody is truly willing and agreeable to give up their personal wedding ring to the Chasan for him to keep, and simply lending it to the Chasan is invalid. [However technically there is a way of facilitating this as a Matana Al Means Lehachzir, as explained in the explanation below, although in my opinion it is better to use a coin than to do this option, and so ruled Mori Verebbe Harav Yaakov Yosef z”l.]
In such a case that a coin will be used, the Kallah should be informed of the issue beforehand, and have her agree to accept the coin instead of the ring due to the circumstances. If she does not agree to accept anything but her wedding ring, then obviously the only choice left is to delay the wedding until you find the ring or buy a new one as she can’t be married against her will. In the event that she agrees to accept the coin then the Nussach that should be said is “Harei At Mekudeshes Li Bezu Haperuta Kedaas Moshe Veyisrael.” The coin must be owned by the Chassan, or given to him as a present for keeps by another individual.
Explanation on using coin: The custom today of the world is to always use a ring for the Kiddushin even though from the letter of the law one may use money or anything of monetary value. Thus, although initially the Chasan should do all in his power to find the ring in the event that it got lost, or acquire a replacement one that he will now own, if this is not possible then a coin may be used in such a time of need, assuming that the bride will agree to accept it. Now, although we find Poskim who rule that one may not use a coin for the Kiddushin, practically, even they agree that this is only to be initially avoided and is not invalid Bedieved. Furthermore, many Poskim argue on the above opinion and rule that coins may even initially be used, and that so was even initially done in cases that a ring is not found. Thus, I concluded that in the above case a coin may be used.
Explanation on using another’s wedding ring: Now, regarding using someone else’s wedding ring, technically, from the letter of the law this can be done if the person who owns the wedding ring gives it to the Chasan as a complete present, although being that most people are not willing to give up their wedding ring therefore it would be an impractical solution, as they would intend simply to lend it to the Chasan with intent to receive it back and not with intent to actually give it to him. Now, although for this there is also a solution, which is for the person to give their wedding ring to the Chasan as a Matana Al Means Lehachzir, and then after the Chuppah the Chasan will explain the situation to his Kallah and either buy it back from her or pay back its value to the person who gave it to him. Nonetheless, practically, since the woman donating the ring desires to receive back the actual ring and not its value, therefore seemingly a Matana Al Means Lehachzir would not work in this case, as it forces the Chasan to give it to the Kallah as a Matana Al Means Lehachzir, which is invalid! Thus, if one chose to use this option, he would be required to explain all this to the woman who is donating her ring and receive her consent to give it as a Matan Al Means Lehachzir for him to return either the ring or its value, which I don’t believe a woman would truly agree to. Therefore, it seems more simple in such a case to use a coin for the Kiddushin than to enter into this sticky situation of borrowing someone else’s ring as a Matana. Vetzaruch Iyun.
Sources: Poskim who negate using a coin: Mordechai Kiddushin 488 being that she may focus on the form of the coin; Beis Shmuel E.H. 27:1 “We don’t initially use a ring for Kiddushin”; Beis Shmuel 31:5 in name of Mordechai ibid “Rabbinically we are not Mikadeish”; Beir Heiytiv 27:2; 31:4; Hamakneh Kuntrus Achron 50:1 explains that today only a ring is valid being that the Peiros are all owned by the husband and hence only by a ring does she have true benefit as she is intending on the benefit of the wearing as jewelry; Tzafnas Paneiach Ishus 3:1 writes similarly; Poskim who rule one may use a coin even initially if ring not available: Implication of Michaber E.H. 28:5; Avnei Milium 27:2 based on Kiddushin 2a, 12b, 13a, 52b; Meiri Kiddushin 7b; Pischeiy Teshuvah 27:1; Seder Hakedushin Lemahrasham 5 p. 115; Aruch Hashulchan 27:3 “there is no reason behind this negation of using a coin ….as the main form of taking is with a coin… Besides it is proven from the Talmud and Poskim the nobody ever worried about the validation of using a coin… Furthermore, the logic behind the negation makes no sense and it’s already accustomed to use a coin for the Kiddushin when there is no ring and there is no one who questions this”; Viheishiv Moshe 68; Otzer Haposkim Vol. 11 31:1-13; Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar [Ratzabi] 206 p. 26 footnote 38; Regarding the value of a Peruta, see: Shiurei Torah 3/42 and that even according to the more stringent opinion it equals no more than the purchase value of 20 g of bread; Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the discussion in Poskim regarding the true value of coins today and as to whether it is viewed as a mere promissory note: See Chasam Sofer Y.D. 134; Teshuvah Meahava 2:404; Kitzur SHU”A 164:4; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso pp. 184-186; regarding the Chasan borrowing a ring from another, see: Michaber E.H. 28:1 regarding owning; 28:19 and 20 regarding a borrowed item and Matana Al Means Lehachzir; Chelkas Mechokeik 28:33 that it is an Anan Sahadi and valid as Matana Al Means Lehachzir, and he can buy it back from her, or pay for the ring; Chasam Sofer E.H. 1:86; Michaber E.H. 29:1 that for the Kallah Matana Al Means is invalid; Michaber O.C. 658:4 and M”B 658:14; Haeirusin Vehanesuin Vol. 2 Letter 15 of Rav Tzinner