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May 22, 2011

Good Ideas With No Foresight

One of the common customs of Lag B'Omer is the chalaka, the first haircut for a 3 year old boy. It really does not have much to do with lag B'Omer - no matter when the boy's birthday is, the parents will delay the first haircut until the 3rd birthday. This custom, based on the Zohar, used to be common mainly among sefardim and chassidim, and today many Litvshe do it as well. However, many try to delay it until Lag B'Omer, especially if the 3rd birthday is around Lag B"Omer time, and then they throw the hair from the haircut into the fire.

The rabbonim of the Tzohar organization came up with a nice idea. A way to capitalize on the minhag of cutting the long hair of these children and actually do some good with it at the same time. They have decided to encourage those who perform this custom to collect the hair and donate it to organizations, such as Zichron Menachem, that make wigs for people with cancer.

It is a great idea, and is one that can help, at no cost to the donor, others in need. Unfortunately, the idea was only publicized today, as far as I know. At least, I only saw it today in the Arutz 7 website. Announcing such a program on "the day of" is a little pointless. Few people would see such an announcement, or have the patience at the last minute to deal with making the proper arrangements.

It is almost like the Chief Rabbinate starting a push to have Lag B'Omer bonfire pushed off to Sunday just 2 weeks prior to Lag B'Omer. How can anybody make proper arrangements under such short notice? Sure, a bonfire can be pushed off a couple of hours, but can school schedules be rearranged, can tests be rescheduled, under such short notice? of course not. And it is not like Lag B'Omer's arrivals surprised anybody. It happens every year on the same date. It is published in the regular calendars in Israel.

With just a little foresight these people would be able to get their great ideas actually implemented.

5 comments:

  1. "One of the common customs of Lag B'Omer is the chalaka, the first haircut for a 3 year old boy. It really does not have much to do with lag B'Omer - no matter when the boy's birthday is, the parents will delay the first haircut until the 3rd birthday. This custom, based on the Zohar.."

    Where is there a source for it in the Zohar? I do not believe such a source exists.

    Furthermore, those that claim that the Arizal is a source, because of a report that he cut his son's hair at meron on lag ba'omer, have a problem. Because the minhog of the Arizal is not to take haircuts through the whole sefirah period, including lag baomer!

    Re Litvish doing it - 1) some of them are of Chassidic background, 2) some just don't know the background of it, they concentrate on gemara and are not too knowledgable in the area of מנהגים.

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  2. I think there is more to it than that. I think it is a result of the hassidic influence on Judaism, in general.
    I didnt do a chalaka for any of my boys, but I know plenty who do because it is such a nice minhag, or because the kid looks so cute with long hair, or because you are supposed to etc.
    I dont know the exact source. I remember man is compared to a tree, orlah is 3 years, etc.

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  3. What is does say in some places such as ילקוט שמעוני, is that a child's Torah learning is started as three.

    Cutting hair is not mentioned there though. Take a look and you will see. Some people try to piggyback on the older sources and attach upsherin to them, but that is not what the original sources say.

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  4. It's really just a social fashion statement today. "I belong to a frum group, that's why I'm doing this".

    Also, would a 3 year old's hair really be long enough for cancer patients? I've heard they really look for a certain length, not sure 3 year old boys reach that.

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  5. who do you think is going to rav chaim kanievsky for the kids chalaka? chissidim? http://www.kikarhashabat.co.il/%D7%9C%D7%92-%D7%91%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%A8-%D7%90%D7%A6%D7%9C-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%91-%D7%A7%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%99%D7%91%D7%A1%D7%A7%D7%99.html

    ReplyDelete

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