From the Desk - The Blessing on the Four Species
Moadim Lesimcha, Friends! 'Moadim Lesimcha' means 'times of happiness' and it is the greeting we use during the middle days of Sukkot. In our prayers, we refer to Sukkot as "the time of happiness" ("zman simchateinu") and it certainly has been a happy time for us at Congregation Beth Ora. Last Sunday morning, 30 children and many parents came together for our Pre-Sukkot event. Children made decorations for their own Sukkot and for the synagogue Sukkah as well as planting little trees (see pics below). After they left, Rebbetzin Carly came back to put up the decorations in the Sukkah. Many thanks also to Andras for putting up the Sukkah!
Yom Tov itself was special with beautiful services led by Heshy and his brothers, Levi and Yisroel, who have uplifted our services throughout the holiday period. Many thanks to all the sponsors of our Kiddushim which were prepared so exquisitely by Hana, Ernie and their team. Kids' activities were in full swing this Sukkot! On the first day, we held a Junior Congregation before bringing in the children to join the men of the congregation in circling the bima with the lulav and etrog. In the afternoon, there was a fantastic turnout for our annual Sukkah Hop. Thank you to all the families who hosted and a special thank you to Howie Brown who organized and led both the Sukkah Hop and the edible Sukkah making activity on the second morning of Sukkot. The celebrations continue! In particular, we look forward to our Simchat Torah celebrations. Simchat Torah (next Tuesday) is the climax of all the festivals and is the Yom Tov on which we express our love for the Torah. We also take the opportunity to honour members of the community who have made a valuable contribution. This year, we will be honouring Miriam Rosenzweig, Sam Smith, Guy Elbaz and David Margulies. In addition, for the first time, we will be honouring four children in the community. Mazel tov to Chaya Sara Leibu, Shirel Petel, Jonah Dym and Teddy Grodinsky! Simchat Torah is a special festival. People come in great numbers for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur but the greatest joy is on Simchat Torah. Please join us for an uplifting service and to join in the honour bestowed on members of our community. Wishing you all a Moadim Lesimcha and Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What’s the Deal with… the Blessing on the Four Species? Before shaking the four species (the lulav, Etrog, willows and myrtles), we say the following blessing: Blessed are you God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to take the lulav But, of course, it’s not just the lulav (palm branch) that we are commanded to take on Sukkot. It is all four species! So Zvi Pollak asked: what’s the deal with this blessing? In fact, the Sages of the Talmud asked the same question! The answer is that the lulav is, by far, the tallest for the four species and the entire bundle is thus called a ‘lulav’ even though it comprises of other species as well.