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COMING SOON Bez"H
Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)
The custom among many is to
give a child his first haircut at the age of three. Many go to Meiron to the
grave of R’ Shimon Bar Yochai to do this. In fact, the Arizal
took his young son with his family to the grave of R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and
gave him a haircut (Upsherin)
there on Lag Baomer, followed by a celebration. This is called a חאלאקע (Chalaka), from the term איש חלק,
smooth-skinned man, since when one has an Upsherin, he now has a smooth
We have a principle known as
a ערלה, the first three years of a newly planted tree or its grafted
shoots is forbidden for use. Since man is compared to the tree of the field—כי האדם עץ השדה—we therefore don’t touch
his hair for the first three years. In the fourth year all its fruit is קדש הלולים לה', sanctified to laud Hashem. So too, at the beginning of the
fourth year of a child, he is dedicated to Hashem as we introduce him to the
Indeed, this is why we have a celebration by an Upsherin.
We find an allusion to this custom in the word והתגלח, which
is written with a peculiarly large ג.
This alludes to that at age three (as ג has a
Gematria of 3), we do והתגלח, give a
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander
Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia
Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and
publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim
where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching
Jews of all levels of observance.