While visiting Kever Yosef, I was caught up in the joyful celebration of Yedidya’s first haircut. It is a tradition among the religious for a boy’s hair to grow for the first three years and then have a hair-cutting ceremony known as upsherin. Members of the family who are present each cut a wispy lock of hair, leaving the peyot at the sides.
Yedidya read the honey-covered letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, and licked off the honey, which represents that studying Torah is ‘sweet as honey’. This event marks Yedidya’s induction into Jewish education and he will officially begin the study of Torah. A kipa was then placed on the shorn head.
The first haircut of a Jewish boy from a religious family is the 3 year-old’s rite of passage into Judaism and is a special sign of maturity. One of the mitzvot that Yedidya will be expected to keep is wearing the tzitzit under his shirt to remind him of the 613 mitzot he will gradually learn.