Thursday, May 17, 2007

Garlic and Sugar at a Pidyon ha-Ben

Ariella at Kallah Magazine Blog asks the reason behind the minhag to distribute garlic and sugar to the attendees of a pidyon ha-ben.

The question intrigued me, so I did a google search. Apparently, there's a well-known (aren't they all?) dictum that one who joins in the mitzvah of Pidyon HaBen is considered as if he has fasted 84 fasts. Shem MiShim’on (by R’ Shim’on Pollack) Yo”D 29 states that he doesn’t know where this idea comes from, but he has an arichus that tries to explain it. This being the case, by taking garlic and sugar, which are foods that go a long way, people can spread the mitzvah out to many other people. There may also be a symbolism in the sugar of sweet things to come and in the garlic of warding off evil spirits.

This information is provided as is, without endorsement.

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At 5/21/2007 9:08 AM, Blogger Barzilai said...

Bishlemo if it was a minhog from the kadmonim, we would do it even if we don't understand it. But it can't be that old of a minhag, so it seems to me that if the symbolism is obscure, and doesn't mean anything to us, then it's just silly to do it. We're not talking about chibut arovos here.

Having said that, the fact remains that when I made a pidyon haben, with Reb Moshe Feinstein in attendance, I did put that silly stuff on the tray with the baby. It's embarrassing, but hey, it can't hurt! I regret not asking Reb Moshe not just whether we can do it, but whether we should do it.


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