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Friday, October 10, 2003

The Four Kinds represent the unity of all Jews

And you shall take for yourselves ...
the splendid fruit of a tree,
fronds of dates,
the branch of the thick-leafed tree
and aravot of the river...

The citrus, or etrog, combines both delicious taste and a fragrance which is enjoyed by all. It represents the Jew who is both learned in Torah, as well as observant of the mitzvahs.

The palm branch, or lulav, is of a tree that bears fruit; dates with good taste, but is odorless. It represents those among Israel who are Torah scholars but do not particularly emphasize good deeds.

The myrtle twigs, or hadasim, are fragrant but tasteless. It represents Jews who are filled with good deeds but are not learned in Torah.

The branches of willow, or aravot, have neither taste nor smell.
It represents those among Jews who are unlearned in Torah and void of good deeds.
Putting these four Kinds together teaches us that no one, not even the citrus or the palm branch can be complete without every single Jew - even without the willows. Without unity the citrus alone is no mitzvah at all.

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach!