Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Sivan 5761 - June 6, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
Lag B'Omer Revisited -
From Pupa to Pupil

by Miriam Luxemberg

Some three-year-olds have their first haircut amidst the fanfare of Lag B'Omer. Others don't. Either way, any time, it is a momentous event in a child's -- and mother's -- life.

As I watched the little boys being hoisted on top of their father's shoulders, the fathers dancing with them in unabashed joy, the boys dressed up in beautiful outfits, some even kapotas, and wearing their father's shtreimels, a lump formed in my throat and I started to cry. I was standing on the women's side, right outside the tomb of the holy Tzaddik, R' Shimon bar Yochai. I was watching the scene, accompanied by joyous music, and lots of praying women and dancing men.

Are these the same little monsters who dump out the garbage pail ten times a day, smear peanut butter all over the walls, and use your best lipstick as finger paint? What's happened to them? They are angelic, their long hair gleaming and framing their faces, totally quiet and in awe of everything going on around them.

Their parents have braved long bus trips and huge crowds, and have spared no expense to make this holy trip to the Kever of R' Shimon. The entire family has dressed in Shabbos clothes and come along to honor this little three-year-old boy, as his long locks are shorn and the heilige payos emerge. What are we teaching these little folk? What are we leaving them with?


I will never forget when we cut Chezky's hair. His was long and curly. He looked like an angel. We brought him to Meron, although not on Lag B'Omer, and he ate an awful lot of lollipops. It looked like he didn't know what was going on until we brought him to cheder the next day.

My husband wrapped him up in his tallis and carried him the short walk to the cheder. We lived in a very small community, and all around us, people were smiling and wishing us Mazel Tov. The children were calling out, "Chalaka! Chalaka!" Everyone knew that something special and holy was happening.

When we brought him in, the Rebbe took the Chezky-bundle from my husband's arms, still wrapped up, and held him gently and lovingly, as only a Rebbe of three-year-olds knows how. He brought him over to a chair and stood him up as the talmidim, my husband, my father-in-law and I looked on. The Rebbe slowly unwrapped him from his cocoon and we all gasped, even the Rebbe (does he never get used to it?).

Out came a new boy, out of the pupa stage, like he'd been born all over again! Long curly payos dangling, he confidently stepped forward, looked Rebbe Berger in the eye, and gave him a dazzling smile. Gone was the sweet and cuddly baby boy who was my own. Suddenly, before me, stood a little `man of the world,' ready to take on all challenges.

Lag B'Omer again...

I could not stop my tears now as I watched those sweet boys being honored with such love and tenderness. "You are important!" we are teaching them. "You are precious! You are holy!"

Surely they feel it. Surely they know it, even as they continue to dump out garbage pails with abandon. We had turned out in force to honor them, and surely, they, in their own time, will live up to our joyous expectations.


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