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What is a lulav?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

Library » Holidays » Sukkot » Four Species | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A. A date palm tree’s branches grow vertically at the tree’s top, with the leaves folded and packed tightly against their spine to form a straight stick around three feet in length. It eventually fans open, softens, bends over and sprouts to full length. A Lulav (pronounced LOO-love) is one of these sticks. A lulav is an undeveloped date palm branch.

B. The unopened date palm branch is one of Four Species required for the Sukkot holiday.1

C. When the two other foliage-related items (myrtle and willow branches) are tied to the lulav as Halachically required, the collection is referred to as a lulav as well. The fourth specie which is not tied with the others, but completes the set, is an Etrog. Acquiring a lulav set for usage over Sukkot is Positive Mitzvah #169.

The lulav branch and the other two branches of the Four Species strapped to it... together with the etrog fruit, all four items are held in both hands and waved about in a really cool sequence
What do I do with a lulav set? And where do I get one?

1. Do the Wave

The lulav branch has the other two branches of the Four Species strapped to it in a specific way. Then, together with the etrog fruit, all four items are held in both hands and waved about in a really cool sequence (See How and when do I use my Lulav set?)

2. Get the Set

Your friendly neighborhood Chabad rabbi has your very own lulav set ready and waiting just for you, just give him a call! He’ll tell you how to use it, and when, free of charge. The set costs about, oh, thirty-five dollars.

3. Dispose Carefully

When the holiday’s over, you may dispose of the Four Species, but an even better idea is to use them to do other mitzvahs. Store the vegetation for a few months, until you can use them as fuel when you burn your Chametz, and preserve the etrog as jelly or otherwise turn it into an edible, so you might say a brachah over it. Others use the Etrog for besamim during the weekly Havdalah services2

Footnotes

  • 1. Leviticus 23:40
  • 2. See http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/203,2824/Why-do-we-smell-fragrant-spices-during-the-havdalah-ceremony.html
TAGS: lulav, 4 types

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Very informative

Posted by: Anonymous, Kent, WA on Nov 09, 2004

A Jewish friend of mine introduced me to your site as a source to gain education and knowledge of Jewish people/religion/sects/practices, etc. This site is so full of information that I can hardly stop reading it!
Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Chametz
Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Halachically
According to Jewish law.
Etrog
A citron; a greenish-yellow citrus fruit. We are required to take an Etrog on the holiday of Sukkot and shake it together with a palm branch, a myrtle and a willow.
Lulav
A palm branch. One of the Four Species we are required to take on the holiday of Sukkot. We shake it together with a citron, myrtle, and willow.
Four Species
There is a Biblical command to take "Four Species" on the autumn holiday of Sukkot. These species are: palm branch, citron, myrtle and willow. It is customary to shake these species to all directions.
Havdalah
Prayer signifying the end of the Sabbath or Jewish holiday. This "separation" prayer is recited after nightfall over a cup of wine.