The Lulav and Etrog: A Teaching from Rabbi Yael

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On the 15th of the month of Tishrei gather an etrog, with branches of the myrtle, palm and willow trees and rejoice with the Source of All for seven days. -- Lev. 23:40

Our sukkot celebration includes shaking the lulav and etrog, (the branches of three trees and the fullness of one fruit) in four directions and up toward the heavens and the earth. Our ancestors performed this ritual to honor the harvest and to give thanks for the bountyof this time.

We too offer up our thanks for all that has grown and become this year, and we ask for guidance and protection as we seek our dreams and visions.


Shaking the Lulav and Etrog

We begin facing east, then south, west, north, up, down and then to the heart.



Ruach spirit

Vision, Perspective

The rising light of dawn

Opening to the light from beyond

We give thanks for the gifts of each new day.

We give thanks for the gifts of insight and perspective.



Aish Fire

Passion, Creativity

Energy that sustains, loves, and inspires

Warmth, Yearning

We face toward the south and ask to open to the gifts it brings.

We give thanks for the love that sustains us

We give thanks for the passions that inspire us.


Mayim Waters


The wonder of movement and transformation

We ask for bitachon, the trust to go forward

To engage in the movement, to be part of the unfolding

We give thanks for all we learn as we watch the passage of time.



Adamah Earth            

Ancient Wisdom

Reverent relationship                                                 

We give honor to our ancestors.                                            

We give honor to the earth                                                     

And ask to carry the wisdom                                                

That is ours to receive and bestow                            

With humility and strength.                           


UP: Into the heavens, to all that is beyond our knowing—we give thanks and ask to live with awe.

DOWN:  Into the earth—our home-- we give thanks and ask to live well in relationship with all beings.

BACK TO THE HEART:  We give thanks and ask to live with compassion and to act from love.


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