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I had heard that many people perform a Pidyon Haben on the 31st day after the child's birth.

In viewing the verse that refers to the timing of the Pidyon I see Bemidbar 18:16 which says that one should redeem the first born when he is one month old (בן חודש). This leads to several definitions of what a חודש means, here. Which of these methods should we use to count?

  1. According to the fixed calendar that we have now, a month may be either 29 days long or 30 days long. Should we make the pidyon on the same Hebrew date of the following month?
  2. Do we follow the molad definition of a חודש, meaning 29 days, 12 hours and 793 chalakim?
  3. Do we use שעות זמניות ("seasonal hours") to count each "day"? If so, what if the baby travelled from Israel on the chodesh day and he was eligible for the Pidyon but when he arrives, it is still not yet the chodesh day? OR ...
  4. Do we use a fixed 24-hour day with each hour being a fixed 60 minutes?
  5. Some other method

In surmising - is the reason that people wait 31 days a way of "compromising" the doubt caused by the above vagueness?

  • I don't understand option 3. A day is 24 hours long no matter how long the sun is up for. – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 15:55
  • @DoubleAA Assuming a standard 60-minute hour. Should I edit that in? Compare with #4. – DanF Jan 9 '18 at 15:56
  • I can't recommend an edit I don't understand. – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 15:58
  • 1
    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/29066/759 – Double AA Jan 9 '18 at 15:58
  • @DoubleAA Good info in that question. Perhaps some items from there should be copied, here? – DanF Jan 9 '18 at 16:02
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Not less than 30, but as soon as possible from the 31st. Shulchan Aruch YD 305:11 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 164:3 affirm this.

אֵין פּוֹדִין אֶת הַבְּכוֹר, עַד שֶׁיַעַבְרו עָלָיו שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וּבְיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וְאֶחָד יִפְדֵּהוּ מִיָּד, שֶׁלֹּא לְהַשְׁהוֹת אֶת הַמִּצְוָה. וְאֵין פּוֹדִין בְּשַׁבָּת וּבְיוֹם טוֹב. אֲבָל בְּחֹל הַמּוֹעֵד פּוֹדִין. נוֹהֲגִין לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת הַפִּדְיוֹן בַּיּוֹם. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אִם עָבַר יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וְאֶחָד וְלֹא פָדָה, אוֹ שֶׁחָל בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב אוֹ בְּתַעֲנִית, יֵשׁ לִפְדּוֹתוֹ תֵּכֶף בַּלַיְלָה שֶׁלְּאַחֲרָיו, וְלֹא יַמְתִּינוּ עַד לְמָחָר לְהַשְׁהוֹת הַמִּצְוָה יוֹתֵר.

Of course, if Shabbat or a Yom Tov occur then it is necessary to perform the mitzvah after the 31st, but as soon as possible. Yoreh Deah 187 and Otzar Pidyon HaBen 17:2. Yalkut Yosef YD 305:68, however, writes that Sephardic minhag is to perform a pidyon haben at night.

Concerning the hours, am not sure what you mean, but he Ramvam clearly states in his commentary to the Mishna in Berachot 1:3 (1:5 in R' Yosef Kaffih's edition), that an hour in halachic terms is one twelfth of the daylight hours, he does not offer an alternative. This would affirm that we use the שעות זמניות in this instance. However, in terms of counting a day, then the 30-31 days time frame would address this issue.

Moving between timezones is difficult. One would assume that you would use the 31 days to be safe. Of course, checking with a Beth Din in the place you are relocating to would ensure you comply with that jurisdictions rulings on this issue. Of course it is common practise for the mother to perform a hefsek taharah, count shivah neki'im then go to the mikveh. As this occurs around 28-30 days, the Pidyon usually coincides very soon after this mitzvah. One would hope, B’’H, that this period of time would never necessitate unnecessary moving of the mother and child.

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