U-lekachtem lachem ba-yom ha-rishon pri eitz hadar, kappot temarim, va-anaf eitz avot, ve-arvei nachal

“You shall take for yourselves on the first day (of Sukkot) the magnificent fruit of a tree, the leaf of a date palm, boughs from the plaited tree, and willows of the brook.” (Leviticus 23:40)

· You are sitting in a sukkah. Its walls are panels of fragrant wood. On the floor beneath you dance patterns of light and shade, cast by the sechach, the scented roof of leaves above your head. Take a deep breath. Imbibe the peace within your sukkah’s walls.

The sechach is a shadow cast by a heavenly tree. It is ancient, wide, alive. Nestled within the inner branches, you notice a fruit—a citron, or etrog. It is the heart within the heart of the Tree of Life, and pulsates with G‑d’s infinite love—for you.

· You long to internalize this love. Breathe in deeply. Feel your spine stretch and open. It is the shape of a palm frond, a lulav. Its pointed tip tapers beyond you, transcending your rational mind, reaching above you, beyond the sechach, into the heart of the tree. Feel the point quiver as the lulav and esrog make contact. G‑d’s love begins to flow down your lulav-spine: downward between your shoulder blades, down, down to its base, to your sacrum.

· Your sacrum is warm. The love begins to rise up. It reaches your heart. Look inward at the ventricles of your heart, the corners you reserve for love and hatred, forgiveness and grudges, abundance and stinginess; surrender to a Higher Being and the need to control, to the myriad emotions of life . . . The love of the lulav penetrates your heart. It awakens you to your higher self. It allows you to let go of the pockets of darkness you use in defense of your ego-I. The darkness gives way to light and love . . .

· Your heart has become one whole. It too is an etrog pulsating with love—for G‑d, for the G‑dly spark within your soul and for the world. Joy surfaces as this hidden, innate love is released.

· The love and joy flow outwards, filling your lungs, and rise upward toward your mouth. Your lips are the shape of a willow leaf. Silent leaves fluttering on the winds of love and joy. You have no need to speak; simply being bespeaks the loftiness of your soul.

· The energy flows ever upwards, entering your eyes and seeping into the center of your forehead. Illuminated myrtle eyes. Take a moment to envision your life through the lens of abundance and joy. Observe the way you awaken in the morning, interact with others, the way you pray and play when drenched in love and joy.

· Sit in your sukkah, spray of etrog, palm, willow and myrtle. You are in a circle of love; you are a bouquet of joy.