Moshe Leib’s Upsherin


Last week, we celebrated Moshe Leib’s Upsherin. It was a beautiful event at the Young Israel. Here is what was said at it:

Hello everybody. Welcome to Moshe Leib’s Upsherin party.

I will start by addressing a technical point that some of you may be wondering about, which is: Why is Moshe’s hair already cut? And further, why are we not cutting his hair today at his Upsherin Party?

Today is Rosh Chodesh – the head of the month. There are some special customs associated with Rosh Chodesh in the Shulchan Aruch – the code of Jewish law:

Among them are:
– We do not fast
– We try to eat a little more than usual
– Women, specifically and customarily do not engage in certain household chores
– We do not cut our nail
– And finally, and most relevant to today, we do not cut hair.

As far as I understand, due to the specialness of the day, we don’t want to use it for doing mundane things like grooming ourselves and so it is a custom, that even for an upsherin, we do not cut hair on Rosh Chodesh.

So, on the head of this month, we will leave Moshe’s head alone.

For this reason, we already cut his hair on his actual birthday, last Monday, which we will show a video of shortly.

Many of you were at Yair’s upsherin 2 years ago. You might remember that the theme of what I spoke about had to do with refinement of speech, since we felt that topic was well suited.

For Moshe Leib, I think a more appropriate topic is humility (which incidentally also relates to speech) As some of you may have noticed, the first two letters of Moshe Leib’s name spell “Mal”, which relates to a teaching of Ba’al Shem Tov (as brought down by Rav Yitzchak Ginsburgh) where he expounds the word “Chashmal” (from Yechezkel’s chariot). There, he talks about the how the word “Mal” can refer to circumcision (like Milah) as well as speech. The circumcision here relates to separating the good from the bad. The speaking refers to speaking about sweet things. Maybe, it could be referring to a sort-of well-refined form of speech, where only the sweet things come out, after carefully choosing the good from the bad.

We see in Moshe that he is very bright and seems to think things through very well. Sometimes he is reserved in his speech, but when does speak he is very deliberate and certainly very sweet. And certainly appears to be quite humble.

To make this connection of humility in children, I will now read from an article that I found on that speaks about humility in relation to another Moshe – Moshe Rabenu:

Of all the things we want for our children, do we want our children to be humble?

Most of us would hesitate to answer yes, because we tend to equate humility with weakness.

Imagine being told that the humblest man in the world is coming over to visit you. You would expect him to knock very quietly on the door, entering with his head bowed, meekly shuffling to the chair in the corner of the room.

Yet the Torah says that Moses was the humblest man that ever lived. Moses! The one who stood up to Pharaoh and said, “Let my people go!” The one who raised his staff to split the sea. The one who led the nation to victory in war. Could you imagine Moses walking into our home? You’d be bowled over by his greatness! But he was still humble.

A humble person is not someone who thinks he’s nothing. A humble person knows he’s something, but he recognizes God as the source of his greatness. Thinking one is something without recognizing God as the source leads to arrogance. And who would want to raise arrogant children?

We want to teach our children that they are special, talented, skilled, and everything wonderful, but we also want to teach them that all these things are a gift from God.

They should take pleasure in their accomplishments, not pride. They are choosing to use the gifts that God gave them for good.

Your son could have used his physical agility and strength to be a bully in the schoolyard, but instead chose to participate and excel in sports. Your daughter’s academic accomplishments means she used the brain that God gave her for something good. Both children should take great pleasure in that. They are cashing the check that God wrote and gave to them.

Since the humble person recognizes his inner strengths, he has the confidence to recognize greatness in others.

My Bracha for you, Moshe Leib, is that you be able to continue to discern and use deliberateness in speech, and recognize your inner strengths and grow.

One more thing I’d like to speak about is that about 3 years ago, we went to a shiur by Rav Ginsbugh – the Rav who I quoted about speaking about “Mal”. We took Moshe Leib with us and at that time he was one month old. After the shiur, I wrote about in my blog.

Rifka commented, 3 years ago, on the blog post: “i hope that Moshe Leib will read the blog one day and I can tell him that he was there rocking the whole time”

The shiur was all about the number “137”. I would love to talk about about the shiur itself and the amazing connections in the Torah that have to do with this number, but that is not for now. But there is one association that Rifka noticed – namely that the address of this shul that we are in is 1137 or 1-137.

I am grateful that we have this shul to have this wonderful event and B’H we can have many more simchas here.

Mazal Tov Moshe Leib! L’Chaim

3 Responses to “Moshe Leib’s Upsherin”

  1. jim says:

    Could you talk more about 137 ?

  2. chaim says:

    I have an older blog post on it, here:

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Rifka says:

    i realized this Tisha B’Av that the first letters of our children’s names starting with the youngest to the oldest (Eshka – Ayin, Moshe Leib- Mem, Yair- Yud) spell Ami (Ayin, Mem, Yud) which translates to AMI…a word in the Torah referring to Bnei Yesroel…my people or my nation… Am Yesroel Chai! with Jeff ‘Chaim’ Peck may HASHEM Bless us all to find our portion in His ToraH!

    this might be good to save under another post, Chaim, can you also post your calculations and meditations on earth resonance and HaSHem’s name

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