Friday, August 25, 2006

The Holidays are Approaching

And this just in from Santa Cruz COEJL:
Dear Chevra,

"On the first day (of Sukkot), you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows, and you will rejoice before Hashem your G-d for seven days."
-Leviticus 23:40

Our sages teach that the four species are: the citron (etrog), the palm branch (lulav), three myrtle branches (hadassim), and two willow branches (aravot). The six branches are bound together and referred to collectively as the lulav (because the palm branch is the largest part). The etrog is held separately. With these four species in hand, every day during sukkot, we recite the blessing on the lulav and wave the species in all six directions (east, south, west, north, up and down), symbolizing that Hashem is everywhere.

Once again, I’m able to provide high quality lulav/etrog sets to our community at wholesale prices. The etrogim, from Israel, come in 3 price ranges, all certified kosher (under supervision of the Badatz). You pay what I pay; the profit comes in spreading the mitzvah. Here are the prices of the sets:

Regular - $27.50
Prime - $31.50
Deluxe - $35.50

As Sukkot is quickly approaching (starting Friday night, October 6), now is the time to order your Lulavim and Etrogim. Please reply to me at now if possible, but no later than 9/17. Be sure to specify whether you want Regular, Prime or Deluxe.

Interesting thoughts on the lulav: Why are these four plants used instead of other plants? There are two primary explanations of the symbolic significance of these plants: that they represent different parts of the body, or that they represent different kinds of Jews.

According to the first interpretation, the long straight palm branch represents the spine. The myrtle leaf, which is a small oval, represents the eye. The willow leaf, a long oval, represents the mouth, and the etrog fruit represents the heart. All of these parts have the potential to be used for good or evil, but when joined together, they remind us of their greatest potential for the performance of mitzvot.

According to the second interpretation, the etrog, which has both a pleasing taste and a pleasing scent, represents Jews who have achieved both knowledge of Torah and performance of mitzvot. The palm branch, which produces tasty fruit, but has no scent, represents Jews who have knowledge of Torah but are lacking in mitzvot. The myrtle leaf, which has a strong scent but no taste, represents Jews who perform mitzvot but have little knowledge of Torah. The willow, which has neither taste nor scent, represents Jews who have now knowledge of Torah and do not perform the mitzvot. We bring all four of these species together on Sukkot to remind us that every one of these four kinds of Jews is important, and that we must all be united.

Chodesh Tov,


חיים לייב Howie
I can't believe it's almost Tishrei already.


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