Relevant Laws

11) It is a positive mitzvah for each Israelite to redeem his son who is firstborn to his Israelite mother after the thirtieth day [from his birth], i.e., on the thirty-first day, with five sela’im. If he redeemed him before, he is not redeemed. If after, he has transgressed a positive mitzvah.2 Five sela’im is equivalent to the weight of eight lot of pure silver in the royal weight of our country.3 This amount may be given to the Kohen in silver or the equivalent thereof in anything except land, servants or a promissory note [of debt owed to the father]. If he redeemed with any of these, he is not redeemed.

Procedure at a Pidyon HaBen

2) The father brings the firstborn before the Kohen, and five sela’im of silver or its equivalent, and informs him that the child is a firstborn, the first issue of the womb of his Israelite mother, and says to him:

My Israelite4 wife5 has borne me this6 firstborn son.

The Kohen asks him:7

Which would you rather have your firstborn son or the five sela’im 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 sela’im which is required of me for the Redemption.

3) 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.

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.

4) Some observe the custom of preparing a meal in honor of the redemption of the firstborn. If there is wine, the Redemption ceremony is performed during the meal after the blessing over bread. The Kohen recites a blessing over wine immediately after the Redemption. If there is no wine, the Redemption is performed before the meal, and the Kohen recites a blessing over another beverage. This meal is considered a seudas mitzvah.8