Succot: A National Unity Party

Question

Why do we bind together the four species that we have a mitzvah to take in our hands on Succot?

1 month

Answers

  1. The Torah commands, “Take yourselves…fruit of the etrog (citron) tree, branches of date palms, boughs of myrtle and willows of the brook, and rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:39-40).

    Our Sages taught that the etrog which has both taste and fragrance, corresponds to Jews who possess both Torah and good deeds. The branch of the date palm, whose fruit has taste but no fragrance, corresponds to Jews who possess Torah but lack good deeds. The myrtle which has fragrance but no taste represents Jews who possess good deeds but are lacking Torah. Finally, the willow branch which has neither taste nor fragrance, symbolizes Jews who lack both Torah and good deeds.

    All of these “species” are inextricably bound together in order that each one’s strengths will make up for the others’ shortcomings. And more, only by ‘taking ourselves’ into this unity, for better or for worse, can we truly rejoice before the Lord our God.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team