ZOHAR PARSHAT PINCHAS (RAYA MEHEMNA)
Daf 255b (end) – 256a
MATOK MIDVASH 630-631
THE FOUR SPECIES – MAN HIMSELF…
[On Sukkot, we are commanded to take 4 species together, make a blessing on them and wave them around at various times during the davening. The verse in Leviticus 23:40 says, “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of a citron tree, the branches of date palms, twigs of a plaited tree, and brook willows.” The Zohar discusses the reason why we are commanded to use these particular species – rather than perhaps others. It describes how in fact each relates to the various 10 Sefirot. Just as a person’s body – made in the image of G-d, is composed of physical representations of the 10 Sefirot i.e. the right hand/arm for Chesed and the left hand/arm for Gevurah etc. so too do these species represent the 10 Sefirot. The 4 species correspond to the most vital parts of a person’s body which he uses in the service of G-d. By waving them, we similarly place the energy of our entire bodies into the service of G-d.]
Lulav in the right: The Lulav is taken in the right hand to show that it is the side of kindness. [Whenever possible, any action done to affect kindness must be done with the right hand e.g. when one gives another Tzeddakah, one must use one’s right hand which is the side of Chesed – Kindness.] And it comprises six species parallel to the Va”K [Vav Ketzavot – lit: the six extremities i.e. the six Sefirot Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod] which are included in Yesod. [The Sefirah of Yesod which acts as a channel for the flow of energy is also the name that represents the entire array of these 6 Sefirot.] [Although there are only 4 actual species that are waved, the word “Lulav” actually refers to the entire array of 6 separate species that we hold in our right hands i.e. One Lulav, three Hadassim, two Aravot – excluding the Etrog which will be taken in the left hand by itself and brought towards the “Lulav”.]
And it explains: Three [Daf 256a] Hadassim – the three myrtles are the secret of [the three Sefirot] Gedulah [i.e. Chesed - Kindness] Gevurah [Strength], Tiferet [Beauty], and they are comparable to the three colorings of the eye, two stalks of the Aravot [willows] are the secret of [the Sefirot] Netzach [Eternity/Victory] and Hod [Splendor], and they are comparable to the two lips. Lulav [the palm branch] is the aspect of Yesod [Foundation], is comparable to the spine that through it is the existence of all the bones and upon it King David said, (Psalms 35:10) “All my limbs will say, G-d who is like You?” Etrog [citron] is the secret of Malchut [Kingship] which is the crown of the Yesod of Z”A is like the heart that in it are thoughts. And the reason for all this is in order for a person to subjugate all his limbs towards his Creator and to unify all his senses to the service of his Creator. For there are no other limbs that include all the actions of a person and the subjugation of his body like these – the eye to see, the lips to speak, through the spine is the establishment of the entire structure of the body, and the heart which is the king of all the limbs through thought. These limbs that parallel the 4 species of the Lulav include all the matters of a person.
[It is worth noting that the Lulav being strong and straight in appearance, parallels the look of the spine. The myrtles have the shape of an eye. The willows have the shape of lips and the citron has a shape similar to the heart. Our sages say that when it comes to the action of a misdeed, (See Tur, Orach Chayim chapter 1. Rashi Numbers 15:39) “The eyes see, the heart desires, and the limbs commit the deed.” From here we see clearly how these three parts of the body are directly connected with any action we involve ourselves in. The mouth which is not included is nevertheless our other means of action. Through the mouth we can achieve with our words the same good or it’s opposite as we can with our entire bodies – although one does not do any physical act as such. By waving these 4 species we correct what we may have caused through using our bodies by not directing them to the service of G-d. In this way, we direct these species and our bodies completely to the service of G-d.]
NOTES TO SIGNS USED IN FORMATTING:
Bold print: Original Zohar
Ordinary text: Matok Midvash
[Square brackets]: Rabbi Eliyahu Shear
(Round brackets): Either the source being quoted e.g. Proverbs etc., or alternatively used to quote the kabbalistic language as discussed in Matok Midvash. The Matok Midvash formats the Nigleh side of things in an ordinary print, and the Nistar terminology in Rashi script. I’ve therefore put the Rashi script – the Nistar terminology in round brackets.