Saturday, 29 September 2007

Re: [Avodah] Arba Minim

Originally published 9/29/07, 9:01 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.
A nice Drasha from R Wolberg, 
-  posted this on the Avodah List on 9/26/07, :
In doing research on the arba minim, I've come up with the following:
ESROG: The citron fruit is slow-growing and tends to be short-lived... The fruit has a very thick skin. It is very fragrant and was valued in ancient times for its aroma and its fragrant peel oil, used in perfumes and as a moth repellent. If citrons are allowed to fully ripen on the tree they will be very aromatic. The citron tree is highly sensitive to frost; does not enter winter dormancy as early as other Citrus species.
Application: We Jews have developed a very thick skin over the years. In spite of that, we can be fragrant, and if need be, we can repel our adversaries. We are also a warm people and very sensitive to cold personalities.
LULAV: Palm leaves are prominent and have a characteristic shape. Palms are a monophyletic group of plants, meaning that the group consists of a common ancestor.
Application: Jews have made their mark on humanity and have been quite prominent with unique characteristics. Of course, Abraham is our common ancestor.
HADASSIM: Myrtle leaves exude an aromatic and refreshing smell somewhat reminiscent to myrrh or eucalypt; the taste is very intensive, quite disagreeable and strongly bitter.
Application: We certainly have permeated civilization with an aromatic and refreshing scent. However, as a means of protection and self-preservation, we've distanced ourselves from those who were out to harm us by employing a strongly bitter taste.
ARAVOS The Willows are a family of trees and shrubs which differ greatly in size and habit of growth but are very much alike in other respects. Their roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity of life.
Application: Although we are not monolithic and differ greatly in many areas, we are nevertheless much alike in other respects. Our foundation is also remarkable for its toughness and tenacity of life. I am reminded about the tefillin. The Shel Yad has one piece of parchment with the four different Torah passages, but the shel rosh has four separate parchment compartments. What it teaches is that when it comes to thinking, we can think independently and disagree with one another. However, when it comes to action, we are unified (or at least, should be). So though we differ in ideas we are very much alike in our ultimate goals.
Richard Wolberg
Gmar Tov,
Best Wishes for 5768,

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