By: Talia Gabriel, Rosh Chinuch Hanoar Hatzioni B’Costa Rica
One of the most important mitzvoth of the holiday of Sukkot is Arba’at Haminim – The
Four Species. The Etrog (citron fruit), Lulav (palm branch), Hadas (myrtle) and Arava
(willow), whose physical characteristics differentiate them, represent significant symbols
that we can relate to the framework tnuati.
One of the many interpretations of the Arba’at Haminim discusses the types of people that
exist within the Jewish people and associates them with the smell and taste of each
species. The Etrog has both a taste and a smell and symbolizes those who study the Torah
and do good deeds. The Lulav has flavor but no fragrance and represents those who study
the Torah but lack good deeds. The Hadas, which has a smell but no taste, alludes to those
who perform good deeds but do not study the Torah. And finally, the Arava, which has
neither a smell nor a taste, represents those who lack both the study of the Torah and
good deeds. Arba’at Haminim convey that every species comes from different origins, has
different attributes and fills a specific role in nature. By gathering all four, we obtain a
combination of qualities that benefits the entire group.
The same applies to the tnua: We come from different realities, we identify with different
ideas, and each one of us contributes his/her capabilities. Therefore, we seek to be a
pluralist framework that develops the strengths of each chaver, enables him/her to
establish his/her own points of view and feel confident during the growth process. And
most importantly, we aspire to preserve the respect and tolerance towards others, clear
and fundamental values of our DNA tnuati. We wish to provide a sense of community,
where the chaverim can express their beliefs and positions and create new experiences
accompanied by others who share their ideals and objectives.
Chag Sukkot should serve as a moment of reflection. Let us ask ourselves if we are
genuinely creating an inclusive and diverse space, if our chaverim work to maintain a
healthy environment where everyone is constantly learning. If that is not the case, let us
take action, make amends and assume the principles of our Darkenu.
I urge us to be a tnua full of Arba’at Haminim, where every person can reach personal
fulfillment, and together we will create a power built from our differences.
Chag Sameach and Chazak Ve’ematz!