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Mitzvah Delay

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Topic: Pidyon Haben, Later Than 30 Days

Miriam Rozin from Portland, Oregon wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

My firstborn, a son, was my first pregnancy and delivered naturally in Israel. He had his brit milah as required. However, we never had a "pidyon haben." I know we were supposed to do it at 30 days but my question is: Can we still do it now - he is 2 1/2 years old? Are there any other factors to consider?

Dear Miriam Rozin,

The mitzvah of pidyon haben, redemption of the first-born son, should ideally be performed on the 31st day from the baby's birth. If it wasn't done then, the obligation remains, and it should be performed as soon as possible. If the father doesn't perform pidyon haben, then the boy must do so himself when he grows up.

There are other factors to consider. For example, if either the father or the mother is a kohen or a levi, then the child is exempt from pidyon haben. To perform the mitzvah, the father gives a specific amount of silver or item of value to a kohen and says two blessings. To make sure that everything is done properly, the entire procedure should be supervised by an Orthodox rabbi.


  • Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 305:1,11,15,18

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