Lulav and Etrog: Symbolism

There are many interpretations to what the four species represent.

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2. The directions are symbolic of divine rule over nature.

3. There is the representation of the fertility of the land and the desire for rain.

4. This is also representative of our complete immersion in the holiday. On one level, we are surrounded by the sukkah. On another level, through this motion (of bringing it toward us), Sukkot enters us. The lulav becomes a conduit of peace and God's presence from every direction; transcendence and immanence. We gather in and are gathered in.

Through all of these, the themes of Sukkot are played out and interwoven beautifully: redemption, universal peace and brotherhood, completion.

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Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Michael Strassfeld is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan, co-author of The First Jewish Catalog, The Second Jewish Catalog, A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah, and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary.

Sharon M. Strassfeld is co-author of the Jewish Catalog series.

Richard Siegel

Richard Siegel is the Interim Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR. He worked for 28 years at the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the last 16 as Executive Director.