Is the Pidyon haben done to exempt the firstborn from his original duties to the Beit Hamikdash?

I heard that, since Hashem saved the Jewish firstborns from the Makat Bechorot, when they also should have died, they created a debt with Him that would be paid with their work at the Beit Hamikdash. But, as we know, they lost this privilege, which was transferred to the Levyim, when they sinned with the golden calf. So, as they can't pay their debt by working anymore, they have to perform the Pidyon haben to be exempt from this duty.

Is this correct? If so, is it written somewhere?


2 Answers 2


Its symbolically like that, but the money isn't due to the bait hamikdash. It is due to any Cohen but it isn't a debt.

So designated money isn't hekdesh and the obligation doesn't go away with shemita.

  • Not all debts go away with shmitta. Not sure why you say it isn't a debt.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 12:40
  • 1
    Its not a debt because it's not to any particular person and nobody can forgive it. What debts are not cancelled by shemita, that are not koshered by prozbul? Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 15:50

The Mitzvah of redeeming the first born was given - in order to commemorate the miracle of the firstborns - even before the priesthood was taken away from them (Exudes 13), but were only commanded to give the redemption to the Kohen afterwards (Numbers 3:46-51

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