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Who is Peter Chamor?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Miscellaneous » Animals/Pets | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A. Nobody. He doesn’t exist. It’s PEH-ter chah-MORE, Hebrew for “initiation of the donkey”—a Mitzvah, not a person.

B. Peter Chamor is to first-born donkeys what Pidyon Haben is to first-born Jews. If the owner disowns ‘em, they go to the Temple. If he wants ‘em, he gives the Temple a sheep or goat instead. Positive Mitzvah #81.

C. Before “holy cow!” there was “holy donkey!” This mitzvah distinguishes donkeys to pay tribute to their critical pack-animal role in the Egyptian Exodus.

How do I redeem my donkey?

1. Qualifying Criteria

Donkey must be the first born to Mr. and Mrs. Donkey. He must be male. He must be born naturally. He must belong to the Democratic Party. Just kidding. Owner must be an Israelite—Kohanim and Levites are exempt.

2. Hand it Over

Today, the kohen serves as donkey collector in the Temple’s stead. Give him a sheep or goat (as long as it’s not dead, slaughtered or Caesarian-born), and Donkey’s yours to keep.

3. Make a Statement

A special blessing is recited when the exchange animal is designated, even if it hasn’t yet been given to the kohen.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Jewish Identity » Kohains and Levites » The Holy Tribe

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Kohanim
Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
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.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.