by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Yehudah was three years old today. His parents brought him by so I could cut a strand of his hair. It is a tradition not to cut a boy’s hair until his third birthday. This custom stems from at least the time of the Arizal, and it is likened to the first three years that we do not harvest the fruit of a tree.[i] Then, on the fourth year, we bring the fruit to Jerusalem to be eaten there in dedication to Hashem. Man is likened to a tree of the field.[ii] So, just as the fourth year fruit is set aside for a holy purpose, on his third birthday (the beginning of his fourth year), the boy begins his more serious study of Torah, beginning with learning the aleph bet and wearing tzitzis (fringes).
His father had him read a few letters of the aleph bet to show me that he was doing his homework, and then he asked me to give the boy a blessing. I explained that on a person’s birthday, Hashem gives him or her the ability to give blessings. Since this special ability comes directly from Hashem Himself, it is assured that Hashem will listen to the birthday boy’s request.
I asked Yehudah to give me a blessing. He did not understand, so his father told him to give me a blessing. The boy asked his father how to do this. His father asked me, “What do you want?”
I said, “Tell Hashem to let Gutman make Him happy.”
With his very tiny voice, the little boy said, “Hashem, let Gutman make You happy.”
Now, how do you think I felt? What a wonderful feeling to be truly blessed! Thank G-d, really.