Naomi’s family was invited to Bubby’s and Zeide’s sukkah on the second night of Sukkos. Bubby and Zeide live in an apartment building, and many families built their sukkah in the courtyard. After the Yom Tov meal, Naomi played with the other children in the courtyard and peeked into the other sukkos.
On the way home, Naomi said: “Each sukkah looked different. Some were made of wood, and others were made of canvas or heavy plastic or white sheets. Some had benches, some had chairs. Some were decorated, and others weren’t.”
Naomi thought about it for a moment, then added, “They all looked different, but they were really all the same.”
Naomi is right. Not only about the sukkos, but also about the people who enter the sukkah. We may look different, but we really are all part of one people. This is one of the most important lessons of Sukkos.
We hold the four minim together the lulav, esrog, haddasim and the arovos. Each one is different in size, shape, taste and smell.
Our Rabbis explain that taste and smell can be compared to learning Torah and doing mitzvos.
The esrog, with its taste and smell, is like people who are busy learning Torah and doing many mitzvos. The tasty fruit of the lulav tree, the date palm, is like people who dedicate most of their day to studying Torah. The haddasim with their pleasant smell are like people who do as many mitzvos as they can. The plain arovos, which have no smell and no taste, are like people who have not yet begun to study Torah or to do mitzvos.
We bring these all together and make a berachah over them, showing the importance of achdus bringing all different kinds of people together.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these four. In its own way, each one of them shows achdus.
The lulav has many long, pointed leaves, but they are all connected tightly.
The esrog grows on the tree all year round. It dangles elegantly from its branch through each season, as if to say, “I can unite all the growing power of each season. I can thrive and grow in all of them!”
The Talmud tells us that arovos grow together in groups.
The small leaves on the haddasim grow in groups of three. They must all be growing in one line at equal height.
So Sukkos really means, “Jewish people, Unite! Show Achdus! This is what the holiday is all about.”
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, Sukkos ; Vol. XIX, Sukkos)