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What is the procedure of a Pidyon Haben?

by Rabbi Pinny Lew

  

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The Pidyon Haben is normally held in a synagogue, small hall, or at home -- if it can accommodate the small crowd. Close family and friends are invited -- but by no means is it as lavish an affair as a bar Mitzvah, or even a Brit. The rabbi should also be invited to ensure that the proceedings proceed smoothly. A light meal is traditionally served to the guests in attendance.


The Redemption ceremony is performed during the meal after the blessing over bread. The father brings the firstborn before the Kohen and the five selaim of silver or its equivalent1 and informs him that the child is a firstborn, the first issue of the womb of his Israelite mother and says to him: "My Israelite wife has borne me this firstborn son."


The Kohen asks him: "Which would you rather have -- your firstborn son or the five selaim which you are obligated to give me for the redemption of this your firstborn son?"
The Kohen asks him: "Which would you rather have -- your firstborn son or the five selaim which you are obligated to give me for the redemption of this your firstborn son?"


The father replies: "I want this, my firstborn son and here you have five selaim which are required of me for the Redemption." As the father gives the Kohen the redemption money, the father says: "Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the redemption of a son."


And then he says: "Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion."


The Kohen then recites a blessing over a cup of wine. [If there is no wine, the Redemption is performed before the meal and the Kohen recites a blessing over another beverage.]


Reprinted with permission from www.mikvah.org.

Footnotes

  • 1. See "How much money is used to redeem the firstborn in a Pidyon Haben ceremony?" (http://www.askmoses.com/2068462).

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » 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.
Brit
[Lit. Covenant] Circumcision. The act of removing ones foreskin 8 days after birth, perpetuating a covenant with G-d originally established by the Patriarch Abraham.
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.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.