HaBucher HaChushev Ploni ben Nistar here for shtick, news and fun. You know, a Chassidic life isn't as boring and heavy as most people might think! ;-)
מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד
Remember you can always easily stop the playlist at the bottom of this page. Also don't hesitate to send me an 'ask' if you have any questions. I don't bite at the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Questions on Jewish Law (Halacha), I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Note that my understanding may not be accurate nor be the final word on asked topic. One should consult an Orthodox Rabbi before drawing any conclusions.
First of all, “Mazel Tov!”
As you know, the custom is not to touch the boy’s hair until he’s three years old and have a chalake. At the chalake you cut the boy’s hair, and leave only the peyos intact — which will be his first mitzvah. (Click here for picture)
There are various customs on where to do the chalake. In Eretz Yisroel people often do it at the gravesites of tzadikim (like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron, or at Kever Shimon HaTzadik in Jerusalem). In Chutz L’Aretz it is often done at home in the presence of family and close friends.
The boy is dressed in tzitzis and a kippah, and all attending take their turn at cutting a snippet of hair, which you’ll collect in a plastic bag. The honor of cutting the first lock is often reserved for the family’s Ruv (rabbi), another highly distinguished guest, or a kohen. And of course someone will have to say a dvar Torah. ;)
Besides being mitzvos, the peyos, tzitzis and kippah are all clear indicators of someone being Jewish. Which is the very first value we wish to teach our children: the importance of a fierce pride in their beautiful and unique heritage. We are different and unique. We are privileged to be G-d’s “ambassadors of light” to a dark and difficult world, a privilege that countless of our grandparents died for to protect. And despite all the hardships, pogroms and persecution that we have endured, we are thankful that we are the Chosen People.
And this is the whole idea demonstrated by the chalake. We thus tell the child, “You are yet young and have much to learn. But the first lesson we wish to teach you is that you are a Jew and must never be embarrassed to act and dress as a Jew. Your nation has the most glorious history, a history of teaching the entire world ethics and morals, and an even more magnificent future awaits our people. Come what may, always be a proud Jew!”