Why In Israel Boys Under 3 Years Old Are Not Cut

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Why In Israel Boys Under 3 Years Old Are Not Cut
Why In Israel Boys Under 3 Years Old Are Not Cut

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In many Jewish communities there is a custom not to cut their curls for boys until the age of three. And when the child reaches this age, arrange a big holiday, gather all the relatives and invite the most respected people, giving them the honor of cutting off a lock of hair.

The first haircut of a Jewish boy
The first haircut of a Jewish boy

Source of custom

The holiday of the first haircut in Hebrew is called "khalak" and in Yiddish - "opshernesh", and the very custom of not cutting a child's hair until a certain age originates in the book of Kavanot by Rabbi Chaim Vital. In it, he tells how his teacher cut his son's hair for the first time on Mount Meron at the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar-Yochai on the holiday of Lag ba-Omer.

The Kabbalah says that fruits from trees planted by Jews on Jewish land cannot be eaten for the first three years and calls them “forbidden”. The fruits of the fourth year must be dedicated to the Almighty, but all subsequent harvests can already be eaten.

The Jewish sages liken the boy to a tree, and his actions to fruit. For the first three years, the boy is still too young and does not really understand anything. In the fourth year, his parents begin to teach him the Torah and the wisdom contained in it, and starting from the fifth year, the boy begins to independently answer for his actions.

At this age, the baby already knows that the period of diapers and pacifiers is over, because he is now "big", and you need to wear a kippah and tsitzit, learn blessings, the alphabet and the Torah. Parents and those around him expect him to grow up wise, kind, do good deeds, and subsequently he will have his own children - "fruits".

How does this happen

It is customary to celebrate the first haircut on Mount Meron at the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, but you can do it in the ceremonial hall of the synagogue or just at home. In the presence of family and friends, the most respected guest cuts off the first strand and hands it to the baby along with the gift. It is believed that the haircut should be started from the place where the tefillin will be placed during the bar mitzvah.

After that, each of those present can pick up scissors and cut off one curl. The boy must leave the hair on his temples, the so-called "peot" or "sideways" - as prescribed by the sacred commandments.

On this day, the child recites excerpts from the Torah and throws a coin into a charity piggy bank. After that, according to tradition, all the guests congratulate their parents and wish them "to raise a son for the Torah, for the chupa and for good deeds." Then the baby is handed a plastic tablet with the alphabet and a drop of honey is applied to each letter. The boy, following his parents, repeats the letters and licks the honey, "so that the Torah is sweet on the tongue."

The very next day, the baby is sent to study in a cheder - a Jewish primary school. There, the “newcomer” on his first day will be showered with sweets so that his studies would also seem sweet to him.

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