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Pidyon Haben -Redeeming of First Born Male Child
The Ritual Ceremony

The traditional ceremony of Pidyon Haben occurs on the on the 31st day of a first born Jewish male infant. The father brings the child to the Kohen and recites a formula, or responds to ritual questions.  The ceremony traditionally takes place amidst a minyan, a quorum of 10 men.  The child is often presented on a silver try, surrounded by jewelry lent for the occasion by female guests.

The father states that he prefers the child to the money, then he recites a blessing and hands over five silver coins (or an equivalent amount of total silver). The Kohen holds the coins over the child and declares that the redemption price is received and acceptable to him, and then blesses the baby boy and returns him to the custody of his family.

This is my first born son; he is the first issue of his mother's womb and the Holy One, Blessed is He, has commanded to redeem him, as it said: 'And those who must be redeemed, from the age of a month are you to redeem, according to your estimate, five silver shekels in the shekel of the Sanctuary, which is twenty gerah.' And it is said: 'Sanctify for me every firstborn, the first issue of every womb among the Children of Israel, both of man and of beast, is Mine.

The Kohen asks the baby's father:


Which do you prefer: To give away your firstborn son, who is the first issue of his mother's womb, or do you prefer to redeem him for five shekels as you are required to do by the Torah?

The father replies:

I wish to redeem my son.  I present you with the cost of his redemption as I am required to do by the Torah.

With the redemption money in hand, the father recites the following blessings:


Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us regarding the redemption of a son.

Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this time.

The kohen accepts the money, and swinging the coins in a circular movement above the infant's head, he says:


This is instead of that; this is in exchange for that; this is pardoned because of that.  May this son enter into life, into Torah and into awe of Hashem.  May it be Your will that just as he has entered into this redemption, so may he enter into Torah, the marriage canopy, and good deeds.  Amen.

The kohen places his right hand on the infants head and blesses him:


May God make you like Ephraim and like Menashe.  May Hashem bless you and safeguard you. May Hashem illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you.  May Hashem turn His countenance to you and establish peace for you.  For lengthy days, and years of life, and peace shall He increase for you.  Hashem will protect you from every evil; He will guard your soul.

The kohen gives the infant boy to his father, and takes a cup of wine and recites:


May God make you like Ephraim and like Menashe.  May Hashem bless you and safeguard you. May Hashem illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious

And now enjoy the festive meal in celebration of this mitzvah of Pidyon Haben, the redemption of the first born son,


More about the Pidyon Haben:
Pidyon Haben: Redeeming of Firstborn Male Child, an overview
Pidyon Haben: Biblical References
Pidyon Haben: The Ceremony, the Blessings and Recitations
Pidyon Haben: Five Silver Coins
Pidyon Haben: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Perspectives

Jewish Baby Names from A to Z





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