Tuesday, May 31, 2011
pidyon haben and ma'ariv -- which mitzvah comes first?
R' Shlomo Hyman (Ch R' Shlomo, Kiddushin siman 3) writes that he once attended a pidyon haben where a fellow Rabbi suggested that since it was close to ma'ariv time they should first daven ma'ariv and only then do the pidyon -- tadir v'she'aino tadir - tadir kodem. R' Shlomo Hyman disagreed. If someone comes to collect a debt at ma'ariv time, you can't put off paying just because the mitzvah of ma'ariv is more tadir than the mitzvah of paying a debt. (He takes this as a given, but doesn't explain why it is true. I think what he means is that you only apply precedence rules like tadir when it comes to issur v'heter, not to dinei mamonos. For example, no one would say that you should pay Reuvain before Shimon because Reuvain borrows money more often is therefore a tadir debtor!) Pidyon haben is not just a mitzvah, but it is a debt that must be paid to the kohen. When this sevara was told to R' Chaim Brisker he approved of the psak.