My son’s Upsherin

Here is the “official” Wikipedia blurb about an Upsherin:

Upsherin, Opsherin or Upsherinish (Yiddish: אפשערן, lit. “shear off”, Judaeo-Arabic: חלאקה, ḥalāqah) is a haircutting ceremony observed by a wide cross-section of Jews and is particularly popular in Haredi Jewish communities. It is typically held when a boy turns three years old.

The picture I have posted was taken on my first trip to Israel in May of 2008.  Our guide explained what was going on somewhat, but I had never heard of a ceremony like this.  I mean really, it has only been going on for 300 years, which is new for Judaism.  I did think it was pretty cool to see a family doing a ceremony like that mid-day, at “the wall”.

There is no Biblical basis for this, but that doesn’t mean it is bad.  We get the idea for the Upsherin from Leviticus 19:23:

When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten.

The concept is most similar to a baby dedication.  We liken our son as a tree, and we hope and pray that one day he will produce fruit.  During the service we cut his hair and then go through the “alef bet” (the Hebrew alphabet).  It is at this point where he will begin to learn the letters and start the process of learning the Bible.

Once this was foreign to me, and now I was able to participate in such a great tradition.

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