Pidyon Haben

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 five silver coins.

The Pidyon Haben can take place in your home, the Rabbi's home or at synagogue, it takes place thirty days after the baby's birth.

It's a 5 min ceremony followed by a brunch in celebration.

Pidyon Haben

The principal participants of the pidyon haben ("redemption of the firstborn") ceremony are the father, his firstborn baby boy, and the kohen (priest). It is customary to invite family and friends to help celebrate this special mitzvah and enjoy a festive meal. Ideally, the meal includes wine and meat. It is also preferable to arrange for a minyan (quorum of ten adult males) to be present.

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.

After the assembled have washed their hands, recited the Hamotzie blessing and broken bread, the father brings the firstborn before the kohen, as well as five shekels of silver (or their equivalent).

Father: My Israelite wife has borne me this firstborn son.

Kohen: Which would you rather have—your firstborn son, or the five coins which you are obligated to give me for the redemption of this your firstborn son?

Father: I want this, my firstborn son, and here you have five coins which are required of me for the redemption.

Kohen: "Which would you rather have—your firstborn son, or the five coins which you are obligated to give me?"The father extends his hand with the redemption money and recites the following two blessings:

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.

He then gives the money to the kohen, who lifts a cup of wine and recites:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who created fruit of the vine.

The kohen then drinks from the wine.

The festive meal that follows is accompanied with joyous singing and inspiring words of Torah. It is customary to share food from the meal with others who were not able to participate. Some choose to distribute cloves of garlic and pieces of sugar since both are capable of imparting flavor to additional quantities of food, thereby enabling many others to participate in the mitzvah.

Grace After Meals is recited.