“Redeem every firstborn of people.” (Bamidbar 18: 15)
It is a mitzvah to redeem a firstborn son, through a kohein, for five silver coins or their equivalent. This mitzvah is performed thirty days after the baby’s birth. If the father does not perform this mitzvah, the firstborn himself is obligated in his redemption when he turns thirteen.
Why were we given this mitzvah? Hashem redeemed us from slavery with the declaration: “My firstborn son is Yisrael” (Shemos 4:22). We redeem our firstborn sons as a testimonial to this redemption, as it says, “Every firstborn of your sons you shall redeem… because Hashem saved us from Egypt with His great and mighty hand “(ibid. 13:13-14).
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.