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I love the willows!

Thursday, 1 October, 2020 - 10:29 pm

It was a truly uplifting Yom Kippur in our front yard. We had beautiful Minyanim throughout the entire day and there was a deep sense of gratefulness to Hashem for blessing us with weather that allowed for in-person services. Yet, before we even broke the fast, the joy of Sukkot was felt in the air. As we concluded the Day of Atonement with the special Napoleon’s March, and the powerful “Gut Yom Tov, Gut Yom Tov, Gut Yom Tov”, we immediately shifted from our inscription in the Book of Life to the Festival of Booths, Sukkot, when we celebrate G-d’s protection of our people in the Sinai desert and His continuous protection this very moment.

One of the Mitzvot of Sukkot is the shaking of the Lulav. We take a citron, date palm tree branch, myrtles and willows and we bind them as one and make a blessing. It represents the four types of Jews: The citron that smells and tastes good signifies the Jew who studies Torah and observes its precepts. The palm branch whose dates taste good, but are unscented, signifies those who study G-d’s wisdom but don’t follow His instructions. The myrtles that smell great but are tasteless, signifies the scrupulous Mitzvah observer who doesn’t spend time studying Torah. The willow, tasteless and fragrance-free, signifies the Jew who neither studies nor acts Jewishly. On Sukkot we bring all types of people together as one, focusing on their essence, their soul, and not allowing outward differences to get in the way of our harmony.

I’ve been thinking about the willow Jew a lot lately.

It is true that many Jews don’t study nearly enough Torah and don’t devote their precious time to the observance of Mitzvos, yet they are proud Jews, comfortable in their connection to our three-thousand-year-old heritage and are happy to do a Mitzvah if the opportunity arrives at their doorstep. I looked it up, willows are a great source of vitamin C, they are used medicinally for toothaches, skin irritation and reducing fever and contain salicin, the main ingredient in aspirin. So, my dear fellow willow Jews, I just want you to know that my Rebbe instilled in me and Chavie the ability to see that every single person contributes something to our world. Don’t ever call yourself a “bad Jew” or any other derogatory term, as you may not be learned or observant yet, but you can heal our community and with you, only with you, can we heal our world.

I am deeply grateful for the willows! 

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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