Pidyon HaBen on the Front Lines

He managed to make it to the birth and to the brit of his firstborn son, but the Pidyon HaBen (“redemption of the firstborn son”) had to be done from the frontlines

Naftali Stetman is a new father, a student at OTS’s Straus-Amiel Emissary Training Program – and a combat officer in the Negev Brigade. Unable to leave his unit, he had no choice but to perform the Pidyon HaBen for his one-month-old son Akiva from the field, without Akiva’s physical presence – halakhically permissible, yet extremely rare (see video below).

Needless to say, Naftali didn’t have the five silver coins needed for the ceremony – nor did he have the equivalent value, since everything on his person is owned by the IDF. In fact, the only thing Naftali had of value that belonged to him was his personal tefillin, which he used to perform the redemption from a Kohen in his Ccompany.

This extraordinary event that took place somewhere south of the Gaza border moved us and all of the participants in the most extraordinary way. We are blessed that our future is in the hands of such devoted, creative thinkers and leaders whose actions continue to bring new meaning to the phrase ‘Am Yisrael Chai’.

Congratulations to the Stetman family and to little Akiva who will, please God, grow up in peace, security and good health!

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