Which child is obligated in Pidyon Haben? Part 1
- A. Firstborn son versus firstborn daughter:
Only a firstborn son is obligated in being redeemed and not a firstborn daughter. Likewise, only if the son was the firstborn child is he obligated in being redeemed. Thus, if a daughter was born first, then the firstborn son is not obligated to be redeemed.
- First born from the mother or father?
The firstborn status of the son which obligates him to be redeemed, follows his mother and not his father. The following is the law:
Mothers first born: A son who is the first born of his mother is obligated to be redeemed by his father irrelevant to whether the father has other children from other [i.e. previous] wives. Thus, if a father remarried after having children with his previous wife, and his new wife gave birth to her firstborn son, then the father is obligated in redeeming the son. Accordingly, it is possible for a father to perform the mitzvah many times in his lifetime.
Fathers first born: If the son is the fathers first born but is not the mothers first born, then the child does not need to be redeemed. [Thus, if a mother remarried after having children, and she gave birth to her new husband’s firstborn son, then the child is not obligated in being redeemed. Accordingly, it is possible for a father to never perform the Mitzvah in his lifetime even if he has a firstborn son.]
Firstborn of female convert who had child before conversions: A female convert who gave birth before her conversion, and then gave birth to a boy after her conversion, the child does not need to be redeemed.
- Miscarriage/Stillborn prior to the first child:
If the mother had a miscarriage prior to the birth of the first-born son, then whether or not this is considered like a first birth which will exempt a future firstborn son from needing a Pidyon Haben, is dependent on the week of gestation of the fetus, and to its form. Practically, if one knows with certainty that the miscarriage occurred within 40 days of conception, then the miscarriage is not considered like a birth, and the firstborn son is obligated to be redeemed. [Likewise, if one knows with certainty that the miscarriage took place after three months from conception, then the miscarriage is considered like a real birth, and the firstborn son is not obligated to be redeemed. If the miscarriage took place between 40 days from conception and three months from conception, then the child is to be redeemed without a blessing.]
If the first-born son was not born naturally but through a c-section, then he does not need to be redeemed. As well, the next son born likewise does not need to be redeemed, even if the next son is born naturally. [A child who was naturally born with a vacuum or with forceps is obligated to be redeemed.]
 Michaber Y.D. 305:1
 Michaber Y.D. 305:25
 Michaber Y.D. 305:17; Mishneh Bechoros 46a; Kiddushin 29b; Admur 470:1-2; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:1-2; Shevach Habris 1:2
 The reason: As the verse states “Peter Rechem,” and the Recehm is from the mother.
 Michaber ibid and Kiddushin ibid regarding if has many wives
 Michaber Y.D. 305:21
 Michaber Y.D. 305:22-23; Admur 470:2; Mishneh Bechoros 46a; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:6-16; Shevach Habris 1:8
 Background: If a form of a fetus came out which appears like an animal/bird which half of its face appears like that of a human, or the shilya came out, or the shapir merukam came out, then this miscarriage is considered like a birth and the first-born son does not need to be redeemed. [Michaber 305:22] If the shapir was filled with blood or water or other colors, then this miscarriage is not considered like a birth and the first-born son needs to be redeemed. [Michaber 305:23]
Fetus appears like other animal: If the fetus appeared like a fish or reptile or other shekatzim urimashim, then the first-born son needs to be redeemed. [Michaber 305:23]
Mother had stillborn: If the mother had a still born, then if the child was only in his eight month, then the first born son needs to be redeemed. [Michaber Y.D. 305:23] If the stillborn was born through a c-section-see Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:19
 Michaber Y.D. 305:23; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:6 and 16
 Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:16; Shevach Habris ibid footnote 14
 Michaber Y.D. 305:24; Mishneh Bechoros 47b; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:17-19; Shevach Habris 1:7
 The reason: The reason for the latter exemption is because only a first-born son which would also be considered a first born for inheritance purposes is given an obligation to be redeemed, and since in this case the latter child is not considered the first born for inheritance, therefore he does not need to be redeemed despite him being the first child born form the womb. [Taz 305:20; Tana Kama in Mishneh ibid; See Rashi ibid, Hagahos Hagri”v; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso ibid footnote 45]
 See Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 2:22
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