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 Home > Baby > Pidyon Haben > Five Silver Shekels

Pidyon Haben - Redemption of First Born
With Five Silver Shekels

Nowadays, religious authorities believe that the Shekel HaKosdesh (the Holy Shekel) of the Temple was larger and of purer sliver content than the standard Shekel used for trade in ancient Israel.

Jewish law requires the Shekels to consist of  actual silver, and opinions vary regarding the amount.  Most believe it ought to be between 100 to 117 grams, for the redemption to be valid.

The Israeli Mint has minted special edition 23.4 gram silver commemorative coins for the purpose, five of which would come to exactly 117 grams of silver. Pre-1965 American silver dollars weigh 26.73 grams of 90% silver content and hence contain 24.06g of pure silver, although such coins have become increasingly rare (modern U.S. coins contain no silver). Four American Silver Eagle coins, specially minted coins sold to collectors and investors which contain 31.103 grams of 99.9% pure silver, or five of the above-mentioned specially minted silver coins of Israel are commonly used for Pidyon Ha-Ben in the United States.

The the Shekels are the payment to the Kohen for redeeming the first born, the coins are usually returned to the child's family for commemorative reasons in exchange for their money value.

Bank of Israel issued coins for the Ceremony of the Redemption of the First-Born Son. A set of 5 coins are guaranteed to contain 117 grams of Pure Silver in accordance with the biblical ordinance of the Redemption of the 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

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