Friday, February 19, 2016

Redeeming your Firstborn

Written Torah commands to redeem/ransom every firstborn male of human and of unclean beast. It talks about males only, because the word "opening up" is in masculine form. 

Let's take a look at the whole passage:
CLV Num 18:15 Every male opening up the womb of all flesh which they may bring near to Yahweh of human and of beast shall be yours. Only you shall ransom, yea ransom the firstborn of humans, and the firstborn of an unclean beast shall you ransom. 
CLV Num 18:16 As for his ransom, from a month old up shall you take ransom by your appraisal with five silver shekels by the shekel of the holy place. It is twenty gerahs. 
CLV Num 18:17 Only the firstborn of kine or the firstborn of sheep or the firstborn of goats you shall not ransom. They are holy. Their blood you shall sprinkle against the altar, and their fat you shall cause to fume as a fire offering for a fragrant odor to Yahweh. 
CLV Num 18:18 Yet their flesh shall be yours, like the chest of the wave offering, and like the right leg shall it be yours.
As you can see, you need to redeem all firstborn males of humans and unclean beasts. You must redeem your firstborn after they reach 1 month of age (1 lunation basically)

According to my Shekel Section, Shekel is 4 gram. This means that 5 shekels is 20 grams of silver. This, in today's prices is 20*0.5=$10. Very affordable, even to the most poor. With maximum traditional value of the Shekel you would have to pay 14.34*5=71.7g of Silver or 71.7*0.5=$35.85. Three times more!!!

However, since I do not know the value of the Shekel yet, I would redeem your firstborn with the maximum amount of $35.85 because this should surely cover it. 

This verse means silver, and not money, so you must donate actual silver (72 grams in maximum case). Also, it would be a good idea to add, say, 10% just to be sure and to cover silver price fluctuations. IMPORTANT: When buying coins, watch out for deities like the liberty god on the US Dollars. I found this one to be the best.

Please note that you must give this money to a kohen(a priest), descendant of Aaron. This person must be able to prove it by blood, otherwise redemption does not count. If you are a priest and redeeming your firstborn, you redeeming your firstborn from a High Priest (eldest kohen). See Leviticus 21:10.

So, today (02/19/2016) it will cost you ~$40 to a Kohen (priest, descendant of Aaron) to redeem your firstborn males. As Jewish tradition states, if no one redeemed you and you are a firstborn, you must redeem yourself. A Kohen can be found in most Synagogues, Jewish Temples, Shuls e.t.c. Just go to the near one and ask a rabbi (or just people) to show you a kohen. And then just give him the money, saying that it is for redemption of your firstborn.

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