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The Four Species

The Four Species


One of the special Sukkot mitzvot is the mitzvah of the "Four Kinds" - the lulav, etrog, myrtle and willow. This is a mitzvah like any other mitzvah of the Torah, but it is a very significant one and symbolic of unity and harmony. When the blessings are recited over them, it is customary to wave them to all the four winds and also upward and downward, signifying that G‑d is everywhere.

The traditional prayer Hoshana ("O’ save us!") which is said on each of the days of Sukkot (except Shabbat), is accompanied by a procession with the "Four Kinds" around the bimah in the shul.

It makes a beautiful and impressive sight. One can just imagine how in the days of old thousands upon thousands of Jewish pilgrims marched to the Holy Temple with lulavim in their hands swaying with the breeze. It is told that on one occasion, when the king, who also held the office of High Priest at that time, displayed his leaning for reform by performing a certain ritual in the Temple not in the traditional way, thousands of etrogim rained down upon him from the displeased worshippers!

Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, OBM, was one of Israel's most acclaimed religious authors, whose books on the Jewish way of life and the Chassidic movement have become renowned. Text translated from the Hebrew by Nachman Bulman and Dovid Landseman.
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Laraine Buckley Sheffield July 25, 2015

Do I understand correctly that the Four Kinds represent all types of herbage and all types of Jews and so together represent all Jews? Are there specific types of Jew associated with each of the kinds, for instance, what general type or category of person would a citrus represent, or a myrtle? Reply

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