WHAT MAY BE GIVEN FOR PIDYON HA'BEN? [Pidyon ha'Ben]
(Beraisa - Rebbi): One may use anything for Pidyon ha'Ben (to redeem a firstborn son), except for documents;
Chachamim say, one may use anything except for slaves, documents and land.
They derive from a Klal u'Frat u'Chlal that one may use things similar to money, i.e. Metaltelim (mpvable olbjects) that are Gufo Mamon (have intrinsic value). This excludes land, slaves (since they are equated to land) and documents (which are not Gufo Mamon).
Kidushin 8a (Beraisa): If a man said 'I give this calf (or this garment, to Ploni the Kohen) for Pidyon ha'Ben', this does not work. If he said 'I give this calf (or this garment to Ploni) for five Sela'im for Pidyon ha'Ben, it works.
If they are not worth five Sela'im, how can he say they are like five Sela'im to make the redemption work?!
Answer: Really, they are not worth five Sela'im. The case is, the Kohen accepted them in place of five Sela'im;
Rav Kahana accepted a turban in place of the five Sela'im for Pidyon ha'Ben. To him, it was worth five Sela'im.
(Rav Ashi): This works only for a great man like Rav Kahana, who needs a turban, but not for regular people.
Rambam (Hilchos Bikurim 11:6): One may redeem with five Sela'im of money or Shavah Kesef, from Metaltelim that are Gufo Mamon, like Shekalim. One may not redeem with land, or with slaves, which are like land, or with documents, which are not Gufo Mamon. If he did, his son is not redeemed.
Rambam (7): If one gave a Keli that is not worth five Sela'im in the market, and the Kohen accepted it for five Sela'im, his son is redeemed.
Rosh (Bechoros 8:10): The Halachah follows Rav Ashi.
Ran (Kidushin 4a DH Garsinan): Rav Kahana accepted a turban in place of the five Sela'im. The same applies to anyone who sometimes pays extra for something. If not, when is a calf valid in place of five Sela'im? However, if he would not normally pay five Sela'im for this item, he cannot say 'it is worth five to me.' Why did the Rambam say only that the Kohen accepted it for five, but he did not stipulate that the Kohen sometimes pays more for it?
Beis Yosef (YD 305 DH v'Li): The Rambam holds that if it is worth five Sela'im to some person, even if it is not worth five Sela'im to this Kohen, he can accept it for five. Rav Ashi said 'this works only for a great man like Rav Kahana...', i.e. if it is not worth five Sela'im to any person, Rav Kahana could not say 'it is worth five to me.' Rav Ashi means 'this is only for a turban, which is sometimes worth five for people like Rav Kahana, even though it is not worth so much to others. Then, Rav Kahana can accept it for five. Everyone else, i.e. something that is not worth five to anyone, he cannot say that it is like five for him. The Rambam means that in the market it is not worth five, but for some people it is worth five.
Rebuttal (Taz 305:5): If so, why did the Gemara say that the Kohen accepted it for five? Even if he was silent, since it is worth five to someone, his son is redeemed! Do not say that the Gemara proves that we need his words. According to the Beis Yosef, Rav Kahana did not say so about himself. It depends only on being worth five Sela'im to someone! Rather, he meant 'to me and people like me, it is worth five.' If so, whenever we know that it is worth five to some, the Kohen need not say or accept anything. Rav Kahana just informed that it is worth five to people like him.
Bach (8): The Rosh said that a Kohen can accept it for five only if he would pay five for it. Why did the Tur say Stam that any Kohen can say this, even if it is not worth five to anyone? Rather, the Tur distinguishes. When the father tells the Kohen 'take this for five', and the Kohen accepts it surely his son is redeemed, even if it is not worth five to anyone in the world, since the father considers it to be worth five. The Kelim that one uses are dear to him, so it is as if he gave five. In the case of Rav Kahana, the father gave the turban Stam. Rav Kahana said on his own that it is worth five to him. Rav Ashi taught that in such a case we require that he would pay five for it. The Tur discusses the case of the Beraisa, when the father said that it is worth five. This works as long as the Kohen accepts it. The Tur omitted Rav Kahana's case, for perhaps it applies only to a turban and a great person like Rav Kahana who does not go without a turban. It does not help for other items. Nowadays turbans are rare, so the Tur omitted this. He was drawn after the Rambam, who brought only the Beraisa.
Rebuttal (Taz 5): If so, the entire Sugya in the Gemara was unnecessary. When the Gemara asked 'if they are not worth five, why is his son redeemed?', it should have answered that 'it is because the father explicitly said that it is worth five'! This is unlike the case of Rav Kahana, which the Gemara brought to support the answer! The Bach's distinction between a turban and other items does not deserve to be written. Rather, the Rambam was bothered why the Gemara did not say that the item is worth five to the Kohen, for this is the primary answer. Rather, it suffices for the Kohen to say that he accepts it for five, even if it is not worth five. It brings a proof from Rav Kahana, who said 'it is worth five to me.' This is worse than saying 'I accept it (even if it is not worth five)', for he says that he accepts it because it is worth five to him. Therefore, it must really be worth five to him. How can he say they are like five Sela'im to make the redemption work?!
R. Yerucham (Toldos 1:3 14:3): Some say that only a great person can accept it for more than it is worth. Some require a great person only if he accepted it like five after the Pidyon, when he saw that it is not worth five. The Rambam holds like this.
Shach (5 and Gra 8): The Beis Yosef, Bach and R. Yerucham are difficult. Rather, the Rambam holds like Bahag, wose text said 'really, it is not worth five. In the Reisha, the father said 'it is worth five.' In the Seifa, the Kohen accepted it, like the case of Rav Kahana. Rav Ashi said that this is only for a great person like Rav Kahana,who knows to pardon. This shows that whenever the Kohen accepts it, his son is redeemed. This explains why the Beraisa said only 'this calf for five Sela'im', without specifying that the Kohen would pay five for it.
Rashba (Teshuvah 198): A Kohen cannot accept what is not worth five for five, unless he is esteemed and we know that if he needed this item, he would pay this amount for it, e.g. a nice Talis for a Chacham.for
Ohr Some'ach (12:11): The Rambam holds that the Kohen can accept anything for Pidyon ha'Ben. It seems that this does not apply to Pidyon Peter Chamor (firstborn donkey), for which we say that one gives a goat or sheep or its value. It is difficult to say that this is only without the Kohen's consent. Rather, Pidyon ha'Ben is the Kohen's monetary privilege, so he can pardon it. Pidyon Peter Chamor permits the Isur on the donkey, so it is like Pidyon Hekdesh.
Shulchan Aruch (YD 305:3): One may give to the Kohen for the five Sela'im money or Shavah Kesef, anything he wants, except for land, slaves or documents. If he redeemed with them, his son is not redeemed.
Sha'ar ha'Melech (Hilchos Ishus 3:3 DH ul'Inyan, cited in R. Akiva Eiger): Tosfos (Eruvin 31b DH v'Nosan) says that something that was detached and later attached to the ground is considered detached regarding Pidyon Hekdesh. If so, the same applies to Pidyon ha'Ben. However, Rashi (Bava Kama 104b DH Aseifa) disagrees (regarding Kinyanim).
Chasam Sofer (YD 134): Why do Gedolim make people swear about paper money and apply laws of Shomerim to it? Paper money is a document! The Pri Megadim suggested that it is better than a document, for it does not mention the lender's name, and anyone can collect with it. People have always considered it like documents. However, a regular document puts a lien against the borrower, and his property is a guarantor. Therefore, if he dies there is no lien against his heirs. It is a mere Mitzvah for them to pay their father's debt, when they are adults. Therefore, the document is not Gufo Mamon. Paper money is not against the king himself. When he dies, the next king must honor it. Therefore, they are more Gufo Mamon. Rashi says that documents are not Gufo Mamon because they are only for the proof. Even though the paper has value, and a document can be written on gold, it is worth less than the proof. One would not cut then or wrap them on a bottle. If so, the same applies to our coins! The metal is not worth a third of the minted value. No one would melt them down! Rather, coins are what the king decreed to accept for buying and selling. He could kill one who refuses to accept them. It does not matter if they are gold or silver or paper. The king did not decree to accept loan documents. One need not accept them for payment, so they are considered documents. I say that paper money is like coins for anything between people, which includes redeeming Hekdesh (from the Gizbar) or Ma'aser Sheni. However, one redeems his son from Hash-m (and gives it to a Kohen). The decree of a mortal king does not help for this. Hash-m decreed a Shi'ur of silver for this.
Shulchan Aruch (5): If one gave a Keli that is not worth five Sela'im in the market, and the Kohen accepted it for five Sela'im, his son is redeemed. This is only if it is worth five Sela'im to some person.
R. Akiva Eiger: The Maharsha (Kesuvos 56a) corrects the text of Tosfos (DH Harei) to say that pardon does not help for Pidyon ha'Ben.