Tim Brewster, TK, Gardy, Dan Monson and Succos (AKA Jewish Unity).

Continuing with my obsession of sports analogies and life; we have the Mitzvah on Succos of taking a Lulav and an Esrog and waving them together every day. There are numerous reasons and symbolism behind this Mitzvah, but let’s start with the most famous and simple one.There are 4 species taken together with the Lulav and Esrog, they are as follows:

1.       Esrog (Etrog) (Citron) – Has a nice smell and has a taste

2.       Lulav (palm branch) – the Talmud says it has a taste (fruit bearing tree) but no smell

3.       Hadasim (myrtle branch) – has a nice smell and no taste

4.       Aravah (willow branch) – has no smell or taste

Each one of these represents a different type of Jew.

1.       Esrog – with taste and smell – is a Jew who learns Torah and has good actions (I’m thinking here of Ron Gardenhire, good personality and success on the field)

2.       Lulav – taste but no smell – is a Jew who learns Torah but doesn’t translate those into good actions (I’m thinking of Tim Brewster, great at “Rah Rah”, but no actual “fruit to show for it” – no successful actions)

3.       Hadasim – smell but no taste – is a Jew with good actions, but doesn’t put the time into studying Torah (I’m thinking Tom Kelly – good success, no personality at all)

4.       Aravah – no smell no taste – is a Jew who neither learns nor has good actions (I’m thinking Dan Monson, no personality and a failure on the court).

On Succos we have the ultimate display of Jewish Unity! We take all four together and make a blessing on them (in Temple times, we brought them to the Temple) and do the mitzvah together with ALL of them. This shows that ALL Jews have a place in Judaism, and we are only a complete people when we have all of us together, from the most righteous to the least righteous.  Everyone has a place at the table. In addition, the Rabbis teach us, we do this in order that each person can help supplement the others weaknesses!

This is especially pertinent post Yom Kippur as we look for a way to “have the rising tide raise all ships” and look for ways to better the Jewish people. So, on Succos, like no other time, we need to make every opportunity to make sure that our doors are open for all Jews to grow and participate in Torah and Mitzvah observance!

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