A Guest Post by Rafi G
(originally posted on the Life in Israel blog)
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.
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