The sound of birds, the beautiful cloudy sky and the smell of the first rains- the season of Succot is here. Each of us is busy building and decorating our Succot for the holiday and our men are waiting for the special package to arrive – the four species to prepare the lulav and hold the etrog- (etrog- citron, myrtle and willow branches and palm branch- lulav)
There is always a special joy in this chag- holiday- possibly affected by the change from the solemnity of Yom Kippur . The feeling of this chag is one of joy and the ancient traditions of this special week inside of the Succah is very heartwarming.
For my community it has a double meaning because the symbol of our community, Bet Horon, is the four species that we are about to prepare for the chag. Why? Why did we choose this as our symbol? Because it symbolizes unity and difference. Each of the four species is different- different shape, some have a smell some don’t – but the blessings of the lulav and etrog must have all four.
Our community is religiously observant but it is “mixed” we have families who do not religously observe the Shabbat and chagim privately- but publically inside of our yishuv- community- they all do. No driving inside on Shabbat and holidays (except if it is an emergency and we have to go out with the ambulance or a security emergency) – in short publically all of us are the same inside of the community and privately each to his or her own.
To us – the veteran settlers this was so important because Am Yisrael- like the four species is different- but like them – the unity of our people is the most important thing- and like the blessings of the four species on Succot- Am Yisrael is blessed despite- or maybe because each of us is different.
Standing in the Bet Knesset- synagogue during the prayers each Succot and seeing the men, boys, children literally dancing around with the lulav and etrog opens your heart – because yes we are each different – but together we are a Nation.
The strength of our Nation is that unity- the mutual respect and love and tolerance is what holds us together now and forever.
Chag sameach and may all of our Nation together celebrate this chag with love, peace and may HaShem bless us and protect HIS Land and people forever. amen