Well, good morning, everyone!
I must say it is a very special and quite unique feeling to wake up in a Sukkah. The festive table is pushed over a little bit, to make room for mattresses and sleeping bags. I look around and see my dear family members right there, close to me, and I feel so rich!
One by one we all wake up, and as we lie there and look through the palm-branches at the sky above us, a conversation develops about God´s faithfulness to the Israelites in the wilderness and also to us in our days. We may even sing some songs, and just enjoy the moments, creating memories as we go along.
Soon enough it´s time for breakfast, and we get to benefit from the fact that this “camping” is taking place on our balcony, with our refrigerator and coffee maker just a few meters away. *How convenient! =)
Then comes the time to wave the four species. As we are commanded in Leviticus 23,40:
And you shall take for yourselves the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook…
So, we take the Etrog, the Lulav, the Hadas and the Aravah, and we wave them three times in every direction, as we rejoice in this very special festival. And these species symbolizes a whole list of things.
They have different characteristics: The Lulav, the top ot the Palmtree, has beauty and the fruit of it, the date, has wonderful sweet flavor. The Hadas, the myrtle-branch with leaves, has a very good smell. The Aravah, the branch from the Willow-tree, has neither flavor nor smell. And the Etrog, this special Citron-like fruit, has both beauty, smell and flavor!
Then to the symbolism: The Lulav symbolizes someone who studies a lot of Torah, but lacks in kindness, or mitzvot. The Hadas symbolizes a someone with great kindness and lot of mitzvot, but not very learned. The Aravah again symbolizes someone who does not really have either, while the Etrog is someone who excels in both kindness and learning. So together this makes a group of different Jews. And the way we use them, we would never use them separately; – they have to stay together to be complete and able to be used. Now, talk about symbolism! We are all dependent on each other to really be what God meant for us to be!!
The four species also symbolizes different body parts, based a lot on the way they look. The Lulav is the spine, the Hadas the eyes, the Aravah the lips and the Etrog is the heart itself. Again, they complement each other because of their differences, and only when each takes his place are they able to function.
There are also those who say that the Etrog is the forbidden fruit that Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. And it could seem like this is the first fruit that was brought into Eretz Yisrael, as this is referred to in very old sources (for instance Josephus).
After the waving of the Arba Minim. The Four Species, we move on with our day. Later we’ll have friends over in our Sukkah or go and visit them in their Sukkah, and very possibly end the day with a nice glass of wine as we watch our children go to sleep on the floor next to us.
Yes, these truly are good times!
P.S. Thank you so much to those who have signed up to follow my blog, and to those who take the time to comment on a post. You are really encouraging me! So, thanks again! =)