Chapter 38

Chapter 38

Seth’s third birthday would be celebrated with his upsherin, a festive and important rite of passage in his life as a Hasidic male. The joyous upsherin was his first formal step into the world of Jewish Torah study. At the upsherin, his shoulder-length golden hair with the wide loops at the ends would be shaved, and two clumps would be left at the side. Dippity-do and a pencil would help curl the leftover hair into two payos, sidecurls. For months before the upsherin, we prepared Seth.  Yossef Mendel bought him a large velvet yarmulke and a wool tsitsis. "Say Alef!” We'd chant.  “Alef” "Say Bayz” “Bayb!” "Say Vayz!” “Vayb!” And on and on we'd go, practicing the Hebrew alphabet in the Ashkenazi Hasidic version. When he was almost three, Seth could recite all the letters by heart and even the nekutot, the Hebrew vowel symbols.
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