Reaching a Milestone
Last week, our grandson Nadav, reached a milestone in his young life. Nadav turned three years old and had a halake in Hebrew or upsherin in Yiddish party. He reached the point in his life where our tradition says now is the time to cut a boys hair.
Why at three and not two? The third birthday is a significant stage in the life of a Jewish boy. It is the time that he begins his Torah education, Nadav is in a Torani gan and starts to wear a kipa and tzitzit.
On an emotional level, a child is born a baby and totally dependent and grows and develops into a toddler ready to be trained. At three he is ready to be more independent, separating from his Mother, visiting friends alone and going to gan. [nursery/kindergarten]. Cutting his hair at this time makes a very strong emotional impression. He knows he is growing up.
We learn that the mitzvah of cutting a boy's hair at three years old is derived from the mitzvah of orlah. The Torah says that if you plant a tree, all the fruits which grow during the first three years are orlah, off limits and can't be eaten. [Leviticus 19:23]. Just as orlah fruit is off limits for three years, we leave a child's hair alone during this time.
Nadav's third birthday was a special event for our family. For the haircut ceremony, it is customary for friends and family to take a snip of his hair. Nadav's two sabas had the honor of taking the first snips. His two saftas snipped next, followed by aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and even Nadav's older brother and sister took a turn.
With each snip, Nadav received many brachot to grow up to be a Ben Torah and to learn Torah with success.
The last cut went to Nadav's mother, who cut his long braid. When she showed him how long his hair was, Nadav's eyes just opened so wide and his smile was from ear to ear.
He proudly tried on his new tzitzit, that had a picture of a train with the aleph bet letters. Across the tzitzit it said A'nei Ben Shalosh. I am three.
Nadav enjoyed opening and playing with all his gifts. When the party was over, Nadav's father gave him a sweet boy's haircut. While he was cutting his hair, Nadav closed his eyes and fell asleep.
May we only shep nachas and simchas from Nadav!
Here are some pictures from the party.