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Pidyon Haben for Safek Cohen


In regards to the typical Cohen or Levi, to what extent is that yichus questionable? If it’s a legitimate safek, should their bechors be required to have a pidyon? Are there other similar halachic repurcussions?
Thank you


A typical Cohen or Levi who has chazaka in their family that they are kohanim / leviim are trerated as definite kohanim with regards to their Yichus [see Shu’t Minchas Asher 1:80]. Placing a safek on one’s Yichus because of being a Baal Tshuva should be done only with the investigation and desicion of a competent Bais Din which deals in these matters.

If a real safek is established there is a machlokes among the poskim if one is required to do pidyon haben. The question is whether we apply the principle of המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה, as this is a monetary obligation. This is the opinion of Shulchan Aruch and the Aruch Hashulchan. The Binyan Tzion [104] and others hold that the overwhelming majority of non Kohanim is enough to demand even a safek kohen performs pidyon. Igros Moshe [Y:D 1:188] rules that one should perform a pidyon, albeit without reciting the bracha.

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