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When is the Pidyon Haben ceremony done?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Life Cycle » Pidyon Haben | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A child is not considered fully "established" until he is has survived his first month. Therefore, a Pidyon Haben should take place on the thirty-first day of the child's life. If it was done before that time, he is not "redeemed." One should not wait beyond the thirty-first day. If the father waits beyond that time, he has transgressed a positive Mitzvah.1 If the thirty-first day after the birth has passed, the Pidyon should be made as soon as possible.

Sephardic custom is to schedule the Pidyon Haben for the first possible opportunity -- this is the night preceding the 31st day
Sephardic custom is to schedule the Pidyon Haben for the first possible opportunity -- this is the night preceding the 31st day.2 In most Ashkenazi communities, the Pidyon is done in the afternoon of the 31st day.3

One does not redeem his son on Shabbat or Yom Tov. If the 31st day falls on Shabbat or Yom Tov, the Pidyon is celebrated on the following night or day. The Pidyon can take place during Chanukah, Purim or Chol Hamoed.

Footnotes

  • 1. Some go so far as to say that he transgresses a positive commendment for every day he postpones the redemption.
  • 2. The Jewish calendar date begins with the night beforehand.
  • 3. Perhaps this is to satisfy the (minority) opinion of halachic authorities which maintains that one must wait a complete lunar cycle before redeeming the firstborn. A lunar cycle is approximately 29.5 days. If the baby was born late in the afternoon, and the Pidyon is celebrated early in the 31st day, and certainly if it is scheduled for the night beforehand, it is quite possible that a complete lunar cycle has not yet elapsed. Waiting until afternoon ensures that all opinions are satisfied.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Pidyon Haben

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Chol Hamoed
(lit. "mundane [days] of the festival"), the intermediate days of the Festivals of Passover and Sukkot. On these days many of the holiday work restrictions are lifted.
Sephardic
(adj.) A Jew whose ancestors stem from Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, North Africa or the Arabian countries.
Yom Tov
Jewish Holiday.
Pidyon Haben
Literally: "Redemption of the Son." Firstborn sons born to an Israelite father and mother must be redeemed on the 31st day after birth. At this ceremony, the father gives the equivalent if five silver shekels to a Priest.