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Feast of Tabernacles VA 2018

Waving the Lulavim

Waving the lulav (lulavim is the plural), is a tradition based on Leviticus 23:40 . . .

"And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim for seven days."

Within this passage is the specific command to take four specific types of plants and use them in your rejoicing during the festival. Though the prophet Ezra appears to understand the commandment as a mandate to use the plants as building materials (Nehemiah 8:15), the sages understood that a person was supposed to actually take these four species in their hands and worship with them.

According to Jewish sources, three of the four species - the palm branch, willow branch, and the myrtle - were held in one hand while the fourth species, the etrog (a lemon-like fruit) was held in the other while circling around the altar.

This festive ritual was repeated every day of the festival except for the 8th day, which was a totally separate festival.

At fotVA, we include our version of this tradition each day in our worship service. As the band plays the chorus to "Our God is an Awesome God", many in the audience will take their personal lulav and etrog, and sing and dance in a large circle, waving the lulav with joy.

fotVA will be providing 55 sets of Lulavim this year for the worshipping community (as well as 25 sets for all the children). Please come up front and retrieve one when the announcement is issued.

Click here to see a slideshow of past feasts involving the lulavim.