Feb. 2, The Presentation of the Lord

When Mary brought her treasure
Unto the holy place,
No eye of man could measure
The joy upon her face.
He was but six weeks old,
Her plaything and her pleasure,
Her silver and her gold.

--Jan Struther

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Joseph and Mary had five obligations to their first-born son:

"The father is required to circumcise his son; to redeem him [referring to the first-born son, as per the Biblical passages in Numbers 18:15-16]; to teach him Torah; to assure that he marries; and to teach him a trade. Some say he must also teach him to swim."

--from "The Jewish Father: Past and Present," by Chaim Waxman

They had circumcised Jesus already, eight days after his birth. Now, forty days after his birth, they redeemed him with a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

At the Temple in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph met Simeon and Anna.

Click here to see Rembrandt's painting of Saint Anna the Prophetess.

Click here to read the Song of Simeon, the Nunc Dimittis, in Greek, Latin, and English.

To learn how Jews of today celebrate a Pidyon Ha'ben, click here.

A Redemption of the First-Born ceremony is depicted in "Symphony of Six Million", a 1932 movie with Irene Dunne and Ricardo Cortez, from a story by Fannie Hurst. (Scroll to 9:20.)

This day is also known as the Feast of the Purification of Mary and as Candlemas Day, the day on which candles are blessed to be used in a church for the rest of the year and for parishioners to take home to be lit during a storm or during a sick call.


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