Redemption of First Born Accomplished

Earlier today I posted a photo of my 1 month old nephew trying on his Yarmulka in preparation for his “Pidyon HaBen”.

This is a biblically proscribed ceremony where the father of the child redeems the child from the Kohein (priest) for 5 silver coins.

This is of course a symbolic acceptance by the father of his new role – he doesn’t really have the option of leaving his son with the Kohein…

During the ceremony I was struck by the strong language of the Kohein who basically asks Dad if he’d prefer the child or the cash. The sight of the child lying peacefully on a silver tray as if he were an object being haggled over at the souk was pretty powerful too.

The message to me was pretty clear – Dad is being shown the choice that all parents make on some level. Are you going to treat your children as objects whose purpose in life is to serve your needs – your comforts? Or, are you willing to recognize and accept that YOU are responsible for your children happiness – comfort – well- being and not the other way around.

The exchange of $ for fatherhood is an exchange of the paradigmic world view of the child, the ultimate taker, for the challenging new paradigm of the parent, the ultimate giver.

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My nephew wearing his first yarmulka

Little Joe getting ready for his Pidyon haBen

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