Wednesday, September 22, 2010

shake shake shake

this sukkot (which starts tonight at sunset!) don't forget to shake your lulav! we call it the lulav, but we actually shake four different plants together. the lulav (palm), hadas (myrtle branch), arava (willow branch), and the etrog (citron). we lift these all together and shake in all directions symbolizing G-d's mastery of all creation. everything in judaism has significance and symbolism, so why these specific species?  the lulav has taste but no smell, representing jews with torah, but without good deeds.  the hadas has a good smell but no taste, representing jews who have good deeds but don't study torah.  the arava lacks smell and taste, representing jews without good deeds and without torah.  and the etrog has a good smell and good taste, representing jews with both good deeds and torah. by putting all of these species (which represent all categories of jews) together we are sending a few messages: we believe all jews should come together, we should love each other, we are all working together to grow and build and strive to be like the etrog. the etrog represents the ideal jew, the heart of judaism (no coincidence it's shaped like a heart).  so this sukkot, think about the four species and bring your friends and family together to celebrate this beautiful holiday.  

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