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What is the preferred location for an Upsherin ceremony?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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An Upsherin is customarily not an event of large proportions; it is not as lavish – not even close – as a bar Mitzvah. The modest party is usually held in a local synagogue or the child’s home (which perhaps is the best option, because an unfamiliar location can only add to the “trauma” of the child whose hair is being snipped by all those big people!) Refreshments and light hors d'oeuvres are usually served.

Many have the tradition of observing the Upsherin at the gravesite of a tzaddik
Many have the tradition of observing the Upsherin at the gravesite of a Tzaddik. We combine the initiation of the child into the age of education with a request that the tzaddik pray that the child grow to be a fine and G-d-fearing Jew. In Israel, many bring their sons for Upsherin to the village of Miron, the burial site of the holy mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar.

This is especially true on Lag b'Omer, when thousands of children who became three in the previous weeks of the Omer are brought to Miron. Their Upsherins are joyfully observed amidst the hundreds of thousands of Jews who visit this holy site on this yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon.


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Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Tzaddik
(fem. Tzidkanit; pl. Tzaddikim). A saint, or righteous person.
Zohar
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.
Upsherin
(Yiddish) Haircut. Usually a reference to a boy's first haircut, traditionally done on his third birthday.
yahrtzeit
The (Jewish calendar) anniversary of a person's death.