From the Rav’s Desk: 1) What to give Kohen by Pidyon Haben? 2) Goyishe Music and classical music

  1. Question: [Wednesday, 9th Kisleiv 5781]

What is to be given to the Kohen by the Pidyon Haben if the Kohen does not own the silver coins used for the Pidyon Haben? May I give him a check or credit card cash, and if so how much?


The father of the firstborn child who is obligated in Pidyon Haben is required to give the market value equivalent of 103 grams of silver to the Kohen. The simplest way of accomplishing this is to give him an item that contains 103 g of silver, such as five silver dollars, or any item purchased from a silver store that contains 103 g of silver. One can preorder from the silver store five coins made of silver, which contain a total of 103 g of silver. Alternatively, you can search for a Kohen who already owns the five silver coins, purchase it from him for its market value, and then return it to him as part of the Pidyon Haben. Technically, however, one may give the Kohen any item that its market value is equal to or more than the price of 103 g silver on that day, although the custom is to give an item that contains an actual 103 g of silver. One may not however give the Kohen a check, credit card payment, or even cash, whether bills or coins, unless the coins contain actual silver as stated above regarding the ability to use the silver dollar, which contains a very high percentage of actual silver. The reason for this is because the above methods of payment do not contain actual inherent value and are simply similar to a promissory note of payment which people decided to accept for commerce purposes but remains invalid for Pidyon Haben.


Sources: Regarding the value see: Siddur Admur; Michaber and Rama Y.D. 305:1; Tzemach Tzedek Y.D. 223; Shiurei Torah 3:43, p. 288; Regarding using objects and not promissory notes see: Siddur Admur; Michaber Y.D. 305:3; Shach 305:2 Regarding not using cash and checks etc. see: Chasam Sofer Y.D. 134; Teshuvah Meahava 2:404; Kitzur SHU”A 164:4; Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso pp. 184-186; Regarding using silver dollars see: Pidyon Haben Kehilchaso 7:2; Shevah Habris p. 109



  1. Question: [Wednesday, 9th Kisleiv 5781]

Is male goyish music assur and what about classic music?


Even if a certain gentile music would be determined to not contain any nonkosher “ingredients” [i.e. lyrics of idolatry, heresy, promiscuity, violence, and not composed for the sake of idolatry] and thus technically be kosher for listening, it is certainly not something that is proper or advised as is known that music is the quill of the soul and can affect one’s emotions and personality in negative ways. Regarding classical music, if it is not composed for the sake of the church or other idolatry, then it is allowed to be listened to, although here too we must worry of a possible subconscious spiritual effect, as stated above. Certainly, Chassidishe Yidden try to only listen to authentic Chassidic music, and not search in foreign orchards for their music entertainment. Nonetheless, if necessary for music therapy without Chassidic music alternative, and certainly may be listened to for medicinal and mental health purposes, so long as it’s truly free of any of the above mentioned Halachic issues.

Sources: We will G-d willing publicize a full article on the subject in the coming days.

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