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The Magic of the Etrog

Wednesday, 4 October, 2017 - 12:09 pm

Tonight, as the sun sets, the joyous holiday of sukkot will be upon us.

One of the Mitzvot we perform on each of the seven days of sukkot (except for Shabbat) is unifying "the 4 types". This means we tie a palm branch together with willow & myrtle branches. Then we take these three and bring them together with a beautiful citrus fruit known as an etrog.

This special mitzvah contains deep meaning and significance. Here’s one short thought to take with you:

Though the etrog looks and even smells like a lemon, it contains a unique dimension.

The Torah describes an etrog as a species that "lives on the tree through all of the seasons." Some fruits are seasonal and can only grow at certain times. The etrog is a fruit that not only tolerates the various seasons, but actually continues to develop and becomes larger with each one. (We pick them early, but they actually grow to the size of a watermelon).

And it is the etrog which helps us continue the journey from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We have just reflected on the past year, hopefully made some changes and are filled with inspiration for a new and great year of growth and blessing.

But in our fresh and inspired state we are also aware that the coming year will bring a variety of circumstances. Just as the year will have four seasons, so too our experiences will vary. We will have ups and downs, easier moments and some (hopefully very few) challenging moments. We will wake up some mornings filled with enthusiasm and others struggling to find motivation.

But, like the etrog, we will not merely survive these challenges; we will grow from the diversity of experience. We will learn to use every situation as an opportunity to grow and improve. When we lack motivation we will use the moment to discover a deeper inner strength. Difficult people will allow us to learn better and more creative strategies for healthy relationships. Every circumstance will bring greater meaning and beauty to the New Year. We will grow and develop, not despite the different seasons but because of them.

And so, as we are about to begin this holiday, I would like to encourage you to partake in this mitzvah any time during the seven days of sukkot to perform the mitzvah of unifying "the 4 types".

May you have a Chag Same’ach – a most joyous and meaningful sukkot,






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