FOUR SPECIES (Heb. אַרְבָּעָה מִינִים, arba'ah minim), the four different plants which form an obligatory part of the rite of Sukkot according to the biblical commandment "And ye shall take you on the first day (of Sukkot) the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days" (Lev. 23:40). "Ye shall dwell in booths for seven days" (Lev. 23:42) is also enjoined. Despite the fact that it would appear that in the time of Nehemiah, the plants in the first verse were regarded as referring to the materials from which the sukkah (see: sukkot ), mentioned in the second verse, was to be constructed (Neh. 8:15), the traditional interpretation sees it as a commandment separate and distinct from the injunction of the sukkah. Two of the species are given explicitly: the "branches of palm trees" are the lulav, and the "willows of the brook," the aravot. Tradition has universally identified the "fruits of goodly trees" with the etrog and the "boughs of thick trees" with hadassim ("myrtle"; Suk. 32b–33 but see the remarkable passage in Lev. R. 30:15). The four species are made up of three sprigs of myrtle and two of willow, which are bound to the lulav with strips of palm, the former on the right and the latter on the left of the lulav. They are held in the right hand and the etrog is held separately in the left (Suk. 37b). During the Temple period the main ceremonial of the four species took place in the Temple. They were taken and waved during the seven days of Sukkot whereas elsewhere, the rite was confined to the first day only (Suk. 3:12). They were waved in a prescribed manner: toward the east, south, west, north, upward, and downward, in acknowledgment of the divine rule over nature (Suk. 37b). This took place during the recitation of Psalms 118:1–2 and 25 in the Hallel. After the Musaf sacrifice of the day had been offered, the four species were again taken, this time in procession around the altar while Psalms 118:25, or the words ani va-hu hoshi'ah na, a popular version of that verse, were chanted. On the first six days, only one circuit of the altar was made; on the seventh day, seven circuits. After the destruction of the Temple, R. johanan b. zakkai ordained the Temple ceremonial as universal practice "in remembrance of the Temple" (Suk. 3:12); all the features of the Temple rite were included in the synagogue service (see: Sukkot, hoshana rabba ). The popularity of the ceremony during the period of the Second Temple is reflected in the fact that Ḥanukkah was celebrated by the Maccabees as a second Feast of Tabernacles, as well as in the incident in which the vast throng of worshipers in the Temple pelted King alexander yannai with their etrogim during the festival, in protest against his disregard of the Feast of Water Drawing (see sukkot ) (Jos., Ant., 13:372; cf. Suk. 4:9). The remarkable hold which the four species had on the sentiments of the people during the Second Temple period, and immediately afterward, is evidenced by the fact that even during the rigors of war, Bar Kokhba took special care to see that his warriors were supplied with them (see Yadin, in BJPES, 25 (1961), 60–62). In the Bible no attempt is made to explain the symbolism of the four species. They probably symbolized the fertility of the land as evidenced in the harvest just concluded, and as desired for the coming season, especially with a view to the fact that the rains are due immediately after Sukkot. The Midrash gives a number of moral and homiletic interpretations (see Lev. R. 30:9–12); the most popular (ibid., 30:12) is based   on the qualities of the four trees. The etrog has both "taste and odor," the date (palm) only taste, the myrtle only odor, the willow none. "taste and odor" symbolize "Torah and good works"; respectively the four species represent four categories of Jews insofar as they possess both, one, or none of these virtues. But Israel is regarded as a whole, and the failings of one are compensated for by the virtues of the others. Another interpretation depends upon the shape of the species. The lulav resembles the spine, the etrog the heart, the myrtle leaves the eye, and the willow leaves the mouth. Therefore one should submit these organs, and all the others, to the service of God, in accordance with Psalms 35:10, "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto Thee" (Lev. R. 30:14). It has also been suggested that the four species represent the four agricultural areas of Israel: the lulav, the lowland; the aravot, the river; the hadassim, the mountains; and the etrog, the irrigated areas. Kabbalistic symbolism interprets the four species in terms of the doctrine of the Sefirot. (Louis Isaac Rabinowitz)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Four Species — The Four Species (Hebrew: ארבעת המינים, Arba at Ha Minim , also called Arba Minim ) are three types of branches and one type of fruit which are held together and waved in a special ceremony during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The waving of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Four-horned Antelope — Male Four horned Antelope Female Four horned Antelope …   Wikipedia

  • Four-eyed — may refer to:In mammalogy:* Anderson s Four eyed Opossum, opossum species from South America * Brown Four eyed Opossum, pouchless marsupial of the family Didelphidae * Gray and black four eyed opossum, members of the Didelphimorphia order * Gray… …   Wikipedia

  • Four-toed Rice Tenrec — Four toed Rice Tenrec[1] Conservation status Data Deficient (IUCN 3.1)[ …   Wikipedia

  • Four-coloured Bushshrike — Conservation status Least Concern (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • Four tet — Kieran Hebden Kieran Hebden en concert à Madrid en 2008 Alias Fo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Four (drink) — Four MaXed is a 16oz canned caffeinated alcoholic beverage sold in the United States and the European Union and produced by Phusion Projects Inc. of Chicago. It contains 10.0%ABV as well as carbonation, sugar and artificial flavoring, similar to… …   Wikipedia

  • Four of Wands — is a card used in Latin suited playing cards which include tarot decks. It is part of what tarot card readers call the Minor Arcana .Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play Tarot card gamescite book last = Dummett first = Michael… …   Wikipedia

  • Four-toed — may refer to:* Four toed Hedgehog, small species of hedgehog found throughout much of the south Saharan African countries * Four toed jerboa, small jumping desert rodent * Four toed salamander, member of the Plethodontidae family of salamanders …   Wikipedia

  • Four-o'clock — n. 1. (Bot.) A plant of the genus {Mirabilis}. There are about half a dozen species, natives of the warmer parts of America. The common four o clock is {M. Jalapa}. Its flowers are white, yellow, and red, and open toward sunset, or earlier in cl …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.