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A Haircut in Meiron

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Some of the questions discussed in this book are the following.

What is the correlation between the rapid advancement of technology and Moshiach coming?

What concrete actions can we take to express our anticipation of Moshiach?

In what ways can we accelerate Moshiach’s arrival?

What will the future redemption look like?

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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 ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. 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.

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A Haircut in Meiron

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[1] took his young son with his family to the grave of R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and gave him a haircut (upsherin[2]) there on Lag Ba’omer, followed by a celebration.

The Ateres Yeshua[3] shows us an allusion to this custom. The word והתגלח, which is written with a peculiarly large ג,[4] alludes to that at age three (as ג has a gematria of 3), we do והתגלח, give a haircut. Additionally, this word, והתגלח, is found in the 33rd pasuk in that chapter, which hints to performing the upsherin on Lag Ba’omer, the 33rd day of the Omer.

 

R’ Ovadia Yosef[5] remarks that some are accustomed to perform an upsherin on Lag Ba’omer in Meiron. However, nowadays where there is a breach in tznius there on Lag Ba’omer, it is better not to go (Shev V’al Taaseh Adif).

This first haircut is called a חאלאקע (chalaka), from the term[6] איש חלק, smooth-skinned man, since when one has an upsherin, he now has a smooth head.

 

We have a principle known as a [7]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 ([8]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, on the beginning of the fourth year of a child, he is dedicated to Hashem as we introduce him to the Torah.[9] Indeed, this is why we have a celebration by an upsherin.

[1] Shaar Hakavonos, Shaar Sefiras Ha’omer. Also cited in the Shaarei Teshuva, 531:7.

[2] Referring to the first haircut of a child.

[3] Ateres Yeshua, Moadim.

[4] Vayikra 13:33.

[5] Chazon Ovadia, Hilchos Sefiras Ha’omer Vi’mei Ha’sefira, 43.

[6] Breishis 27:11. Taamai Haminhagim, p. 269.

[7] Vayikra 19:23-5.

[8] Devarim 20:19.

[9] See Rema in Yoreh Deah 245:8 that we teach him the letters of the Torah so he can be accustomed to read in Torah (See Midrash Tanchuma in Kedoshim 14). This is also when we train him in mitzvos such as payos and tzitzis. The Klausenberger Rebbe (Shu”t Divrei Yatziv, Yoreh Deah 133:3, s.v. V’haminhag. יציב is an acronym for the author’s name: יקותיאל יהודה בן צבי) writes that he remembers when he turned three his father covered him in a tallis and carried him to cheder to learn. His father put honey on the letters his son would lick. Also, he was prevented from seeing a non-Jew or anything impure the entire day.

Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français

Author of Eight Books including the recently released “Unbelievable Insights about Moshiach and the Final Redemption”

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