Lulav & Etrog

A Devotaj Sacred Arts Source Sheet

The Lulav is Palm, Myrtle, Willow.  It is the magick wand that was used in ancient water drawing ceremonies connected to Sukkot. It is waved in the 6 directions – ending by raising to the sky and then the earth, which mimics the rain falling to earth. It also makes the sound of rain as it is waved, like a rain stick.  

Lulav (Palm, Myrtle, Willow)

It is made up of 3 piece of myrtle, 2 willow, 1 palm branch as well as an etrog (citron).
In the choice of plants – it also illustrates the connection to water (EJMMM

  • Palm is dry 
  • Willow is connected to water, and dries out during the week 
  • Myrtle retains its moisture during the week 
  • Etrog is a vessel of moisture 

The parts of the Lulav also represent parts of the body and the letters of the Tetragrammaton, as follows: 

  • Etrog: Heart; yud 
  • Myrtle: Eyes; hei 
  • Palm: Spine; vav 
  • Willow: Mouth; hei 

The four species and the four kinds of Jews (Babylonian Talmud, Succah 30:13a

  • The Etrog (smell and taste) is the Jew who combines Torah study with good deeds. 
  • The Lulav (taste but no smell) is the Jew who studies Torah, but does no good deeds. 
  • The Hadas (smell but no taste) is the Jew who performs good deeds, but does not study Torah. The Arava (no smell, no taste) is the Jew who neither studies Torah nor performs good deeds 

The four species are also connected to the Matriarchs and Patriarchs ((Babylonian Talmud, Succah 30a:11): 

  • Etrog: Avraham and Sarah 
  • Lulav (palm): Isaac and Rebekah 
  • Myrtle: Jacob and Leah 
  • Willow: Josef and Rachel 

Four Species and Jewish festivals (Rabbi D. Gottlieb to his teacher. Lecture: Inner Dimensions of Simcha on Succot. Ohr Somayach Lecture Series, Jerusalem via The Esrog by Zadie Reuven

  • Etrog: Yom Kippur 
  • Lulav (palm): Rosh Hashanah 
  • Myrtle: Sukkot 
  • Willow: Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret 

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