Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SUKKOT: Shake it ... or move it!

14th of Tishri, 5771

Before we hold the lulav (and hadasim, and arabot) and etrogin our hands (Lulav: R.H.; Etrog, L.H.) we recite the berakha al netilat lulav.

Some people hold the Etrog upside down until after the recitation of the berakha (blessing) becuase otherwise the berakha will be said afterthe Mitzva is performed (This Mitzva is performed when we hold the four species together, but they must be held in the direction they
grow on the tree), and as a rule all berakhot should be said BEFORE we perform the Mitzva.

The Sephardic custom is not to 'shake' (rattle) the lulav but to 'move it' (lena'anea) in
different directions. During the Halel, for example, we move the lulav clockwise: south, then north, then east, then up, then down and finally west. This is done following the instructions
of Kabbalist Rabbis (Ari haKadosh).

When waving it downward, we should not turn the lulav upside downso that its head is facing downward, but simply moving it with our hands in the direction of the floor. We should turn our whole body as we face the direction we move the lulav.

We do not take the lulav and etrog on Shabbat.

Women are exempted from taking the lulav, however, the tradition in most communities
is for women to take the lulav.

Rabbis are divided on the issue of women reciting the berakha.

Everyone should follow his or her family's traditions.

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