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Pidyon Haben: We are commanded to “redeem” firstborn sons after they reach 30 days of age. What is the significance of this rite, and how is it done?

Pidyon Haben

Pidyon Haben

Redeeming the Firstborn Son

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A pidyon haben, or "redemption of the firstborn son," is a ceremony wherein the father of a firstborn male redeems his son by giving a kohen (a priestly descendent of Aaron) five silver coins, thirty days after the baby's birth.




Originally, the Jewish firstborn were the priestly class. When they forfeited their status, the priesthood was transferred to the children of Aaron. Ever since, male Israelite firstborn are “redeemed” from a kohen.
A baby boy needs to be redeemed by his father if he is the firstborn and he was born to Israelite parents. Let's look at what each of these means in detail...
The pidyon haben should be held on the thirty-first day after the boy's birth. If, for whatever reason, the 31st day has passed and the pidyon haben did not take place, the baby's father should do it at the earliest possible opportunity...
The parents dress themselves and their son in holiday finery in honor of the mitzvah. To show our love for the mitzvah, it is customary to bedeck the baby with jewelry and place him on a silver tray...