Thursday, October 16, 2008

Those Poor Aravos

Summary of a local rabbi's drasha, First Day of Sukkot 5769.

Famous midrash about the Four Plants:
taste = Torah knowledge
smell = mitzvot and acts of kindness

The Lulav, representing its date tree, has taste but no smell.
The Hadasim have smell but no taste.
The Etrog has both taste and smell.
The ‘Aravot have neither.

They represent different types of Jews.
Bring them all together, and they cover for each other.

But then what's the point of the ‘Aravot?
They're just getting 'covered for' by the other plants — why are these leaves without taste or smell added to the bundle, and what does that have to do with Jews who lack both study and action?

Kol Yisra’el ‘Areivim Zeh Lazeh.
The entire Jewish People are responsible for each other.
We need to be concerned about each other's well-being, whether spiritual or physical.

Hhaviv Adam Shenivra’ Betzelem.
People are great because we're created in God's image.
All human beings, Jews and Non-Jews, are significant. We're all created in God's image, and deserve to be respected and cared about.

Ein Lekha Adam She’ein Lo Sha‘a.
No matter how "empty" you think a person is of learning or deeds, every human being has a role to play in the greater scheme of the universe, and every human being is someone you can learn from. There's always something there, you just need to find it.


Blogger Aharon said...

Famous explanation of the symbolism of the four species. Can you find the source?

10/16/2008 1:10 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Pesiqta deRav Kahana 27:9
Numbering may vary in different editions; it's in the Sukkot section, one of the midrashim on ולקחתם

10/16/2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

The older minnek is to have 68 eroves in the mix - matches the idea that most people are average guys, not tzaddikem or gedoulem. (Though I'm not sure the standard famous symbolism was so standard at the time, some time before the 19th century, because Jewish knowledge and consciousness wasn't one-tracked yet.)

10/17/2008 7:11 AM  
Anonymous lasshoml said...

10/21/2008 6:21 AM  

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