The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 10 December 2005 / 9 Kislev 5766

A Triple-Header for Chicago

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

While most Chicagoans are still beaming over the White Soxs winning the World Series, there is one family in the windy city more excited about winning a very unique "triple-header".

It all began when Ohr Somayach alumnus Rabbi Yehdua Albin, who heads the office of Ohr Somayach International in Chicago, succeeded in getting one of the people he regularly learns with to become involved with mitzvah observance. With the birth of his first son and the need for a pidyan haben, a little investigation was launched to determine whether a pidyan haben had been performed for the newborns father and grandfather who were both first-born sons. An elderly great-grandmother, who is still alive and sharp, conclusively convinced the rabbi that neither of them had been redeemed.

In accordance with halacha the grandfather first redeemed himself and made it a double-header by subsequently redeeming his son at a ceremony conducted by Rabbi Albin with a resident kohen. Then came the pidyan haben of the third generation a couple of weeks later to complete the triple-header.

Whats so special about all this?

Since pidyan haben relates only to a first-born male in a family where neither parent is a kohen or levi, the chances of such a redemption being required is about one out of five births. For three such ceremonies to take place in one month in one family is a record more exciting than winning the World Series.

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