Our Rabbi & Pidyon Ha-Ben

Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

Pidyon Ha-Ben (Redeeming a First-born Son)

Our Rabbi always accepted an invitation to attend a Pidyon Ha-Nen since it is a mitzvah for a cohain to redeem a first-born [and our Rabbi was a cohain] (Gadol Shimusha p. 95 #26).

We heard many times from the mouth of our Rabbi that the money he received as a cohain during the Pidyon Ha-Ben was the most kosher money for him, because it is a Torah requirement. And in two of his letters, from the year 5697, our Rabbi wrote that he used this money to fix the binding of books. And it says in the book "Shivchei Ha-Re’iyah" (p.288) that Maran Ha-Rav Kook would buy books with the money he received at the Pidyon Ha-Ben.

When he was asked to receive the money of the Pidyon Ha-Ben, our Rabbi said: "This is finally an opportunity to make a little money." And after the surprise over his words, he explained that this money is the most kosher, since the Torah granted it to the cohain and one should therefore be happy with it.

At the redemption, he would read the Hebrew formula of the cohain’s questions as is found in the siddur "Olat Re’eiyah."

A student had his son redeemed by our Rabbi with the famous coins of Ha-Rav Aryeh Levin, the Tzadik of Jerusalem. After a few weeks, the student approached our Rabbi in order to buy them back. Our Rabbi waited until everyone left. When they discussed their value, our Rabbi removed the coins from his coat pocket, because he had kept them there the entire time on account of their importance.

Before a Pidyon Ha-Ben, a student once came to our Rabbi, and he told him that Maran Ha-Rav Kook would use the coins of Ha-Rav Aryeh Levin, the Tzadik of Jerusalem. Our Rabbi was particular not to return the coins immediately in order to strengthen the recognition that we are discussing an actual payment to the cohain and not a temporary giving which automatically returns. A student once came to pay the true value of the redemption to our Rabbi. Our Rabbi did not agree, but specified a much smaller amount. Even though the student emphasized that he clarified what the correct value should be, our Rabbi remained firm, and mentioned that in the past they paid him a smaller amount.