Lulav and Etrog - The Mitzvah of Unity.
A classic Midrash describes 4 types of Jews represented by the 4 species used in the Mitzvah of Lulav and Esrog on Sukkot.
The Esrog (citron), a tasty and fragrant fruit represents a Jew who learns Torah and performs good deeds (mitzvot). The Lulav (leaves from a date palm), produces a fruit which is tasty but has no smell. The lulav represents the Jew who learns Torah but does not perform other mitzvot. The Hadas, (myrtle) a fragrant branch, represents the performance of good deeds but not Torah learning. Lastly the Aravah( willow), has neither taste nor aroma, a Jew with neither learning nor good deeds.
This Midrash is usually understood on a deeper level.
All four species, taken together on Sukkot, creates an effect greater than its individual parts. All four species are required in order to fulfill this mitzvah. Three are not enough. So too, all Jews, coming together as one, are required to further the cause of Am Yisroel - the People of Israel.
In fact each of the four types of Jews that these species represent has a quality to contribute to Am Yisroel that the other three lack. The "Etrog Jew" is able to harmonize Torah thought and deed. The "Lulav Jew" brings a devotion to Torah Study unparalleled in the other three. The "Hadas Jew" puts all his energies into the commission of good deeds. The "Aravah Jew", while having neither understanding of Torah nor the benefit of performing good deeds has the clear faith of the simple Jew, and receives the benefit of the qualities of the other three.
Our generation faces unparalleled challenges. Our Lulav is shaken by the blows of our enemies. Our army goes out to do the righteous deed of protecting Eretz Yisroel, heedless of cost to life or limb. Our ministers are focused on achieving victory. Religious leaders combine righteous works with prayer, encouraging our people to go on. Finally, there are those of us Jews in exile. While we are thousands of miles from the battle, we are deeply connected to our brothers and sisters in Israel.
This Sukkot more than ever, it is important for all types of Jews, all ages, all denominations, to unite as one, as does the Etrog, Lulav, Hadas, and Aravah.
Just as we shake the Lulav, may the One above shake and reorder the world. As a unified voice, we must come together and cry out with our brethren in Israel:
"Anu Hashem Hoshia Na, Please Hashem Save Us Now! Anu Hashem Hatslicha Na, Please Hashem Bring Success Now!." The unity of the Jewish nation is greater than the sum of its parts.
"Shield Israel under the wings of your kindness, spread over her your canopy of peace."
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