Pidyon HaBen

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Pidyon HaBen, (Hebrew: פדיון הבן‎; trans. Redemption of the Son), is a Mitzvah in Judaism whereby a firstborn son is redeemed from priestly obligations from a Kohen (a member of the priestly family of Ahron).

Contents


Biblical references

In the Torah the laws concerning the redemption of the first-born male are referred to in Exodus, Numbers and Leviticus.

Principles

The Shulkhan Arukh states that when a Jewish woman gives birth by natural means[1], to her firstborn, if it is a son, then the child must be "redeemed".[2] The father[3] of the child must "redeem" the child from a known Kohen[4] representing the original Temple priesthood, for the sum of five silver Shekels,[2] or equivalent in country's currency (if it has silver currency of the correct weight). The procedure does not apply when the father is a Kohen or Levite, and does not normally apply when the mother is the daughter of one.[5]

This redemption ceremony is performed when at least 30 days have passed since the child's birth. If the 31st day falls on Shabbat or a festival, the redemption is delayed, because any sort of business transaction is not allowed on those days.[6] These days are counted from sunset to sunset, and the day of birth counts as the first day. While the redemption could be performed immediately after dark on the 31st night, it is usually done the next day; but if the 31st day is a Ta'anit, it is done the previous night, so that it can be accompanied by a festive meal.[7] It is also possible to hold the ceremony on the 30th day itself, if it will be impossible to perform it the next day, so long as at least one Synodic month (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds) has passed since the moment of birth.[8]

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