If a Bas Levi has a son with a gentile, the son does not need a pidyon haben. In the case of a daughter born between a Bas Levi and a gentile, is the daughter of that union a Bas Levi or an Yisrael? If she were to have a first born son, would he need a pidyon haben?

  • Chana, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your question here! The first sentence of your question asserts a halachic fact, which the rest of the question is based on. Could you please edit in some information about where you got that fact from (ideally, but not necessarily, a citation)? That would make the question stronger and could also help people get a head start on finding answers.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 7, 2021 at 15:31
  • 2
    @IsaacMoses bechorot 47a
    – Double AA
    Apr 7, 2021 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


You're asking about a grandson of a bas levi? This only works one generation; it's not an "any drop of blood" thing.

Miss Levi marries Mister Israel; their firstborn son doesn't need a pidyon haben because he was born to a Levite, and the Torah uses language of "first out of the womb" -- and the womb, in this case, is Levite. However, their child, Baby Israel, is 100% a plain-old Israelite, as tribal identity is patrilineal. The exemption is not because Baby Israel is part-Levite, but because he was born to a Levite mother. Same thing if Miss Levi and Mister Israel have a girl -- let's call her Sarah Levi-Israel; when that girl grows up, her children, assuming she married an Israelite, need pidyon haben because Sarah's father is an Israelite.

(This is, by the way, a common mistake; I know a fellow whose bas-kohen maternal grandmother, remembering her own son, insisted that the 100% Israelite grandson didn't need a pidyon haben -- mistakenly. The fellow realized this years later and had to do his own pidyon haben.)

None of this really changes if the father wasn't Jewish -- the child halachically has a Levite mother, and halacha recognizes no particular father -- the child is basically an Israelite with subprime pedigree for those snobbish about such things. There's no "Levite blood" that halachically would affect a future generation.

(Before arriving at the follow-the-womb logic, the Gemara Bechoros 47a entertained a possibility that the product of a Levite mother and non-Jewish father was more um, Levitic than if the father was an Israelite ... but once the Gemara reaches the follow-the-womb explanation -- and we follow it, per Tosfos s.v. mar berei pointing to Chulin 132a -- it appears we reject that as practical halacha.)

  • Rashi says not like you דשדינן ליה בתר עובד כוכבים אפ"ה פטור דלוי פסול מיקרי הואיל ואית ליה שמא דלוי פטור (at least in one tzad of Rav Papa). Do you have a source that a child whose only recognized ancestor is a Levitess is suddenly an Israelite with no Israelite blood?
    – Double AA
    Apr 7, 2021 at 16:34
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    @DoubleAA thank you for pointing me to the sugya! I would imagine l'halacha l'maysa we move past all of that ... no?
    – Shalom
    Apr 7, 2021 at 18:24
  • hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=110346&rid=7360 Probably, from the silence of early authorities, but it's not 100% pashut why that should be so. Consider as a corralary also if a bat levi who had a son with a gentile can still receive maaser rishon? Or if that son is kodem a ger in a horyot sense (after all where would he have camped in the desert?)? Or why this klal doesn't hold hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?rid=4352
    – Double AA
    Apr 8, 2021 at 20:17

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