web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Pidyon Haben: Debt Or Mitzvah?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

In this week’s parshah the Torah tells us that Hashem told Aharon to redeem every firstborn child. This is known as pidyon haben. The Rema, in Yoreh De’ah 305:10, rules in the name of the Rivash that one may not appoint a shaliach to perform pidyon haben. Many Acharonim argue with this ruling and posit that one can appoint a shaliach to perform pidyon haben.

The Vilna Gaon, in Yoreh De’ah there, states on the opinion of the Rema that not only should one be allowed to appoint a shaliach to perform pidyon haben, but one should also be able to perform pidyon haben for another person even if he wasn’t appointed. Pidyon haben should not be different than ma’aser sheini, about which the Rambam says in the fourth perek of Hilchos Ma’aser Sheini that one can redeem ma’aser sheni from another without even having been appointed to do so. The Ritva, in Pesachim 7b, says that the berachah we recite on pidyon haben is “al pidyon haben” – not “lifdos haben.” This is because others can perform it – even without the father’s knowledge.

The Vilna Gaon then says that there is even more reason by pidyon haben as to why one should be able to appoint a shaliach. This is because the mitzvah of pidyon haben is essentially repaying a debt. The Gemara, in Bechoros 48, says that a kohen may collect the money of pidyon haben from the father’s property. After all, one is surely allowed to repay another person’s debt. The Vilna Gaon concludes that the only reason why one should not use a shaliach is because it is always better for one to perform his own mitzvah than to have someone else perform it.

The Machaneh Efraim (Hilchos Zechia 7) agrees that pidyon haben is only repaying a debt. Therefore, he rules that it may be performed without the father’s knowledge.

Another proof that pidyon haben is a debt that is owed to a kohen is from Tosfos in Bechoros 49a. It says there that after the firstborn son is 30 days old the money is owed to the kohen. Even if the boy dies, rachmanah litzlan, after that but before he was redeemed, the father still owes the money. Question: if the money of pidyon haben was only a mitzvah, then what mitzvah applies when the child is no longer alive? Answer: he is being redeemed. We see from here that the mitzvah of pidyon haben creates a debt to the kohen.

The Minchas Chinuch asks the following: if pidyon haben is a debt, why can’t a kohen forgive the money? The Minchas Chinuch concludes from this that indeed there is a mitzvah to give – similar to that of terumah – which cannot be forgiven.

One could ask this: to which kohen is there a debt, that his forgiveness should obliterate the debt? Rav Elchonon Wasserman (Kovetz Shiurim 187) says that perhaps the case could be one of makerai kahunah. Makerai kahunah is when a person consistently gives all of his matanos kahunah to one kohen. This concept, which the Gemara says creates some sort of priority to that kohen, applies when we are unsure to whom the owner gave the present. The Tosfos HaRush, in Baba Metzia 49b, says that when one has a kohen to whom he always gives his matanos kahunah, and if he is planning to give him the next gift, it is considered as if the kohen already owns it. Perhaps in this situation a kohen who has makerai kahunah would be able to forgive the debt of pidyon haben. But the Minchas Chinuch says that we don’t find that any kohen can forgive a debt of pidyon haben.

The Maharsha, in Kesubos, does in fact put forward that a kohen could forgive the debt of pidyon haben. This would be in line with those who believe that pidyon haben is only a monetary debt, not a mitzvah to give the money. We can assume that the scenario to which the Maharsha is referring, that a kohen can forgive the debt of pidyon haben, is one of makerai kahunah.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Pidyon Haben: Debt Or Mitzvah?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
05_04_51---Candle_web
5 IDF Dead in Infiltration, Hamas Tries to Steal Dead Bodies
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

How can we be certain that any animal can be counted toward ma’asar beheimah when perhaps it is a treifah?

This separation between Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisraelim obligates us to honor kohanim.

The pasuk says that since the halacha concerning a Mechallel Shabbos was uncertain, the mekoshesh was placed in custody until the halacha was clarified.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/pidyon-haben-debt-or-mitzvah/2013/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: