Q. My father is hospitalized and I would like to bring Kapparot for him. We usually use a chicken and not money, since that is our minhag and I understand that it is better to use live things that cannot be a korban. Since I cannot bring to the hospital a chicken or a gold fish, can we use flowers or a plant in a pot instead?
A. Mishna Berura (605: 4) rules that if one does not have access to a chicken, then a goose or other living beings that are not fit for becoming korbonos on the mizbeach, including fish can be used.
Magen Avrohom (604: 3) quoting Rashi (Shabbos 81b) mentions that they would use a pot with a plant and circle it around the head.
As it seems from some significant Poskim there is a preference in the use of living things over money.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that money can equally be used.
However, if the father prefers living beings, he may use a goldfish that he may bring in a small closed bottle to the hospital.
The Rov recommends that the fish should be donated to a child in need, or its value redeemed for Tzedaka.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a