Pidyon Haben

The Torah states, “Sanctify to me every firstborn, the first, the first issue of every womb among the Children of Israel, of man and beast, is mine (Exodus 13:2).” This teaches us that any first born child belongs to G‑d. In other words, they would have to serve in the Holy Temple. That was the plan until the sin of the Golden Calf. After the sin the primogenitures lost their privilege of serving in the Holy Temple and it was given to the Levites, who had abstained from the sin. 

Having lost the privilege of working in the Holy Temple, their sanctity, however, was not lost. The Torah states, “...You shall surely redeem the firstborn of man…from one month shall you redeem according to the valuation, five silver shekels by the sacred shekel; it is twenty gera (Numbers 18:15-16).” The redemption of their sanctity occurs in a special ceremony called Pidyon Haben. 

The Pidyon Haben ceremony is celebrated at the child’s 31st day in this world. The ceremony is not to be delayed for any reason except if the 31st day is a Shabbat or Yom Tov. Even then the ceremony should be done that night. It is only done if the child’s parents are neither Kohanim nor Levites. If the child had a natural childbirth (not via C-section) and his mother did not previously have a miscarriage after more than 40 days of pregnancy. 

For more on Pidyon Haben please click here.