Today is the Jewish Holiday of Hoshana Rabba. Customarily, we beat five willow branches on the ground. Afterwards, we recite a prayer beseeching the Creator to sweeten all harsh judgements. This seems like a bizzare mystical ritual that begs for deeper explanation.
During the past seven days, we took a date palm frond, a citron, three myrtle branches and two willow branches and united them together. Then we waved them in all six primary spatial directions. Each of these four kinds of plant growth represent a different kind of Jew: The Torah scholar, the one who thrives on doing good deeds, those who are a balanced combination of both Torah and good deeds, and those whose deeds and learning are poor.
The Torah scholar is represented by the date palm frond because dates taste yummy like Torah knowledge. The one who thrives on good deeds is represented by the myrtle because it’s leave [Read more…]