Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Among the Jews, ‘the redemption of the [first-born] son’: a ceremony based upon the words of Exodus xiii. 2, 15: “Sanctify unto me all the first-born, … both of man and of beast; … but all the first-born of my children I redeem.” When the first-born male child is a month old, his father presents him to the priest and says: “This my first-born son is the first-born of his mother, and the Holy One, blessed be his name, commanded me to redeem him,” etc. The father then puts five shekels of silver, or its equivalent in money of the country in which he resides, in the hands of the priest. The priest then asks: “Which would you prefer—to give me the child or the five shekels?” The father replies: “I wish to redeem him, and here is the value of his redemption.” Then the father pronounces a blessing, and the priest holds the money over the head of the child, and at the same time says: “This [money] is instead of that: this is the exchange for that; this is in remission of that.”
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