The “Upshern” or “upshernish” (ritual hair cutting ceremony) is a beautiful custom marking a Jewish boy’s third birthday and his formal introduction to Jewish education and practice.
The origin of this custom is found in a verse in the Torah which compares man to a tree - “For man is like a tree of the field” (Deut. 20:19). Thus, just as during the first three years of a tree’s life, its fruit may not be cut for use, similarly a little boy’s hair is not cut during his first three years.
What are the similarities between man and a tree?
Both a tree and a person grow from a small seed and eventually reach maturity and bear fruit. The fruits of man refer to his Jewish involvement and good deeds. Also, just as a tree requires constant nourishment from the soil in which it grows, similarly man requires constant spiritual nourishment from G-d in which he grows. This nourishment comes from Torah study and the observance of Mitzvot.