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Why Does the Blessing Only Mention the Lulav?

Why Does the Blessing Only Mention the Lulav?



I've just learned the blessing that we say before taking the Four Species on Sukkot—and I have a question. Why do we say "Blessed are You … who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the taking of the lulav"? What happened to the other kinds? Why do we just mention the lulav?


Good question! In fact, the sages of the Talmud1 ask the same thing. The answer given is very simple: The lulav is by far the tallest of the four kinds, and the entire bundle is thus called a "lulav," even though it comprises other species as well.


Sukkah, 37b.

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for
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Hillel August 7, 2013

Another answer is that the Lulav (i.e. the dates that it produces) is one of the shiv'at haminim, the seven species. We pay special honor to Eretz Yisrael by saying the blessing on the lulav. Reply

Dovid LA September 28, 2010

the Rebbe takes a deeper approach As anonymous wrote, the question is not fully resloved. One can still ask, "Why is the lulav the tallest?" The Rebbe asks this question and discusses the advantage of pure study with 100% focus. It should have been mentioned. Reply

770 Bouchur September 27, 2010

re: Yes its a famous talk by the rebbe printed in likkuti sichos volume 4. the lulav comes from a date tree, and dates have taste but no smell, which represents someone who excels specifically in torah. when one learns torah he is unified with hashem in the most amazing way even more than mitzvos. It also has to be a little taller so it shakes, which represents the neshama's yearning to go up. though shaking the lulav and learning torah may we merit to hear the "new torah" from moshiach! Reply

Moshe Los Angeles, California September 27, 2010

The four species The lulav is the tallest because that's how it naturally is, the four species represent the 4 types of jews coming together The jews that do mitzvot and study, the jews that do mitzvot and don't study, the jews who study and don't do mitzvahs or the Jews who don't study or do mitzvot, On Succot the four come together, the Etrog smells good and tastes good, the lulav tastes good but doesn't smell good, i dont meal the lulav itself but the tree it grows on grows dates. The green leafy one smells good but doesnt taste good and the other doesnt smell or taste good. Reply

Anonymous Montreal September 27, 2010

But why is the lulav the tallest? Why is there a commandment that the lulav be a certain amount taller than the other species? Doesn't it have to do with the lulav representing Torah study, and Torah study has the unique ability, even over mitzvahs, to cause an internal change in a person? Reply

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