What do the lulav and esrog you see Jews carrying on Sukkot mean? JooTube visited the 613 Mitzvah store in Pico-Robertson where Rabbi Shimon Kraft sells etrogs and lulavs for $40 a pair. Moshe Klein and Jonathan Eyshi, then 10th-grade Yeshiva students at Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok in Los Angeles explain the lulav and esrog used in prayer during the Jewish holiday of the Tabernacles (Booths), the holiday of Sukkot which runs for a week, concluding October 15th with Hoshana Rabah.
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British-Jewish scholar, Rabbi Daniel Pinner writes:
The Midrash explains the Four Species to represent four different kinds of Jews: “Just as the etrog has both pleasant taste and pleasant fragrance, so there are Jews who have both Torah-learning and good deeds… The date-palm has a pleasant taste but no fragrance, representing Jews who have Torah-learning but have no good deeds…The myrtle has a pleasant fragrance but no taste, representing Jews who have good deeds but no Torah-learning… And the willow which has neither fragrance nor taste represents Jews who have neither Torah-learning nor good deeds” (Vayikra Rabbah 30:12). All four species have to bepresent in order to fulfil the mitzvah; if any one of them is missing, then the Jew has not carried out the mitzvah at all (Rambam, Laws of Shofar, Sukkah and Lulav 7:5; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 651:12); if, for whatever reason, one or more of the species is unavailable, then one shakes the others without saying the Brachah, in memory of the mitzvah which should have been (Shulchan Aruch ibid.). Read more of Be an Etrog on Arutz Sheva.Rabbi Aaron Parry ("Complete Talmud for Dummies") explains the symbolism of the willow branches used in the Sukkot Hoshana Raba worship, originated in Israel's original, sovereign incarnation.
To get more of your questions about Judaism and Jewish ritual answered, purchase a copy of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Talmud" direct from Rabbi Parry here.
Daniel Pinner concludes in Be An Etrog:
The myrtle with its pleasant fragrance but no taste, representing the Jew who has good deeds but no Torah-learning, survives for appreciably longer than the lulav with its pleasant taste but no fragrance, representing the Jew who has Torah-learning but no good deeds. And finally we come to the etrog, with its pleasant taste and pleasant fragrance, representing the Jew who has both Torah-learning and good deeds. The etrog remains fresh and fragrant and yellow (or green) for weeks. Study and internalise the lesson of the Four Species. Be an etrog-Jew! Contribute both pleasant taste and pleasant fragrance to the bundle of the Four Species, contribute both Torah-learning and good deeds to the community. The etrog-Jew is the Jew who survives, the Jew who endures.