A Hanukkah Story & A Haircut


Three years ago, I was pregnant with my third baby. I knew time was drawing near, and I knew based on how close my other two came to their due dates, that this one would probably be coming on or near the first night of Hanukkah. We’d picked his name, Judah, and joked about him being a little Maccabee. The second night of Hanukkah came and still no baby, but that next morning, I woke up and knew it was time. I labored in my tub and while I was going through transition my husband prayed for me and read through the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) and the weekly Torah portion called Miketz (From the End). I was able to focus on the words and meditate during the most painful part of my labor. I remember it being the easiest transition to go through of my three children; it was complete shalom.

In all, my labor and delivery time was two and half hours. Can anyone say, “miracle?” 🙂 I pushed and then had to pause; the cord was loosely wrapped around his head. The midwife easily unwrapped the cord and after a total of five minutes of pushing, he emerged into the world. He was my Hanukkah miracle that year.

Since the beginning, I have had a special name for him–Shimshon (Samson, meaning sunshine). I gave him the nickname because he is always so happy, he’s very physically strong, and his hair is the color of sunshine, and it’s never been cut–yet. He is a very special little boy, not unlike his siblings, but he is my first baby born after my husband and I made t’shuva (repentance) and he was circumcised on the eighth day, according to the Torah. He has never known anything other than the Torah life that we live, and I believe this has had an incredible impact on his soul.

Of my three, anyone who knows him can see that he is a born leader. He has incredible self-control, he is a good listener, and he shows real remorse and repentance when he is disobedient. I pray he is just like the brave Judah Maccabee of whom he was named, and that he will possess the positive traits of Samson.

This next week, my littlest, will get his first haircut. It is a Jewish tradition called upsherin or halakeh to leave little boys hair untouched until their third birthday. Right now, he has wispy, curly hair. But next Sunday, he’ll have his hair cut in the Jewish way, leaving only long, golden peyot (side curls) behind. He’ll don his first tallit katan (small four cornered garment) and he’ll begin to wear a kippah. This is a very big event that we have waited for since he was born. We will teach him that when we, as God’s people, wear the tzitziot and kippah we are kiddush Hashem (sanctified to Hashem) and we must act in accordance with His holy Word, because we are commanded to be holy as Hashem is holy. For my family this is taken as an immense privilege as well as responsibility.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe my boy’s birth and his coming haircut is a very tangible lesson for us all, if we choose to see. Hanukkah comes at the darkest time of the year, when the nights are longer than the days. The light of the menorah is a picture of the light that should emanate from our own souls to a dark world. The Messiah is coming with the dawn, but while it is still night we are must shine the light of Messiah that is within us. Just as God’s Son walked by the light of the Word (Psalm 119:105), so too the time has come for us, His children, whether native born or through adoption, to tame our wild hearts, set ourselves apart, put on the commandments, and be submitted to the will of our Heavenly Father and King, Who loves us and desires good things for us.


Blessings and Shalom,