Some Orthodox Jews have the custom to not trim their boy’s hair until he is three years old. It’s done in a beautiful celebration called an Upsherin (Yiddish for, wait for it: haircut). It’s like a big ol’ party where family and friends take turns snipping bits of hair off, yarmulke and tzitzis are donned (sometimes) for (usually) the first time, and Torah learning is illustrated as sweet, with honey or candies associated with Hebrew letters. I’m sure there are many variations, but that’s some of what I’ve seen. Why three? That’s what’s considered to be the “age of education,” when the child has developed enough intellectually to learn Torah.
We don’t have this custom. Well, we really didn’t have any custom at all. My husband wasn’t crazy about letting our Little Man’s hair grow very long, and when it was started to get a wee bit shaggy (emphasis on “a wee bit,” it really wasn’t all that long, but he was definitely starting to sport a mullet), he decided that we should make a decision about whether or not we were going to do this whole Upsherin business. So we called our Rabbi.
It turns out that the origin of this tradition is Chassidish/Sephardic (totally did not know that), and only recently has it taken hold in other sections of the Orthodox spectrum. See here and here for more information about this custom. So, our Rabbi basically said that since it’s not halacha, we don’t need to do it.
This past Sunday there was a small window of opportunity, so I trimmed Little Man’s (slightly) unruly locks. While he doesn’t look dramatically different, I am enjoying his shorter style. Maybe someday I’ll take him to a real kiddie barber, but for now, it’s the mommy salon.
Here are some pictures. I am completely amazed that he let me photograph him. Lately, whenever the camera has come into view his entire focus turns to trying to get me to give it to him. This was a pleasant surprise. He even smiled! For an image of his somewhat shaggy hair, you can look here.
14 thoughts on “Snip Snip – Little Man’s first haircut!”
You did a great job – did you ever learn how to cut hair?
He looks so sweet and much more grown up!
Thanks, Devorah! I’ve been cutting hair for about seven years, but I’ve never been trained. I’m enjoying his cute new look.
Wow, great job! He looks so grown up. I think his eyelashes look longer than his hair!
Thank you! You may be right about those eyelashes!
Three is also the age (for most) of gender distinction. This is the time little boys step out from mommy’s apron, so to speak. My son’s hair is much shaggier; I am looking forward to his upsherin, and we have to wait until Pesach time….
Thanks for the additional upsherin tidbit! Good luck managing your son’s mop; I’m sure Pesach will be here before we know it (yikes, did I just say that?)
He looks adorable! And so well behaved; I’m surprised he let you do it without kicking up a fuss. Some kids HATE getting a haircut, especially if they don’t know that cutting hair doesn’t hurt.
Thank you! It was really siyatta d’shamaya that he let me do it. Towards the end he got a little antsy, but we were quick with the cookie. :)
It’s also because it says “adam eitz ha’sadeh” – that man is like a tree in the field. There are so many different interpretations of what that means, but another concept of Upsherin is from the idea of arla, not taking fruit from trees until they are in their third year. Just fyi. And your big boy is adorable.
Thanks for the additional illumination of this custom! Thanks for the compliment. We think so, too!
Those are some long eyelashes! Looks like he handled his first haircut well!
Oh, he’s a looker all right. And a trooper for that first haircut.
he’s so handsome! I have thought about the haircut at 3 thing.. upsherin… I think I might do it. why not? I’m crazy enough to convert to judaism in the first place. I don’t know. my boy is 20 months now and he’s a badly so at least I know he is unlikely to have his hair grow down to his knees by then heh… Thus far no scissors have touched it
Thank you! His hair was also not going to get very long, we think. Our boys are almost the same age! Mine is 23 months.