Etrog & Lulav Sets

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Etrog & Lulav Sets Guide

The main Mitzvah (commandment) on Sukkot other than sitting in the Sukkah and living in it as you would in your house is the taking of the Four Species, or Arba Minim, and waving them in six specific directions. The Four Species are four different types of vegetation and are interpreted in Midrashic literature to represent different types of Jews. The binding of these Four Species and waving is supposed to represent Jewish unity as well as be a prayer for year with enough rainfall to sustain life. The Four Species consist of the Etrog, Lulav, Hadasim and Aravot.

Etrog

The Etrog is the fruit of the Citron tree. It is said to represent the most righteous Jews. Typically the Etrog is yellow or green and has a bumpy exterior, although the degree of bumpiness varies considerably. They are generally around the size of a large egg. Because the commandment is vague, the tradition is for each man to choose what appeals to him; obviously while keeping within the realm of what Jewish Law deems permissible. Because of this, the Etrog can be a variety of shapes, the most common of which are ovular, barrel shaped and one of the two shapes with a thinner middle section. The Etrog may or may not have a stem attached to it. The presence of the stem, level of bumpiness and the color are options that you can choose from.

Lulav

The Lulav is the closed branch of a date palm tree. The Lulav’s stem must be straight and its center leaf may not be opened. Typically Ashkenazi Jews prefer a Lulav that is just beginning to open, while Sephardic Jews prefer those which are tightly closed. When bound with the Hadasim and Aravot, the Lulav sits in the middle. This is mainly because it is larger than the other two. The Lulav represents the Jews who have knowledge of Torah but are lacking Kindness.

Hadasim

Hadasim are the branches of a Myrtle tree. Each branch, or Hadas, must be bright green and not have any black spots on it. When bound with the other species, the Hadas sits on the right and is typically positioned so that they are higher up than the Aravot. The Hadasim represent Jews who have the trait of Kindness, but do not know anything of the Torah.

Aravot

Aravot are the branches of a Willow tree. Each branch, called an Arava, must be green and have no spots on them. When bound with the Lulav and Hadasim, they sit on the left side. The Aravot are said to represent the Jews who lack knowledge of Torah and the Jewish attribute of Kindness.

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