Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Ha'azinu - 5780
APPRECIATION AND UNITY
One of the highlights of this season is the Hallel said on all days of Sukkot while holding the four species. The fruit of the citron, the palm of the date, the myrtle and willow - when brought together - have been generating great excitement for the Jewish people for many generations.
Different explanations are given as to why these specific species are taken. Some view them as a symbol of diversity and unity. These natural products are quite different from one another, yet they all come together for the service of Hashem. We, as a nation, are to be inspired by this to unify and do the same.
Maimonides, on the other hand, is of the opinion that when we perform the mitzvah of the Arba Minim, we are to feel appreciation for the land of Israel, since our ancestors in the wilderness did not have access to these products and only found them in the wonderful land of Israel that was given to them by Hashem.
When we place these two reasons together, appreciation and unity, we can really tap into the purpose of Tishrei. Although appreciation is fundamental to Judaism, the greatest appreciation is national appreciation, where we are grateful not just for what we have as individuals, but for what we do and represent as a nation.
May we all experience a meaningful Chag with appreciation, thankfulness and unity, and merit a return to our homeland where we can achieve our mission as a unified nation.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach