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Sukkot: How to Say the Blessings and Shake the Lulav

Sukkot: How to Say the Blessings and Shake the Lulav


Sukkot appears in our Torah in the Book
of Leviticus Chapter 23 which details most of our festivals and holidays. It
teaches us that in the seventh month, on the 15th day of the month, we’re supposed to have a festive holiday dedicated to God. There are a number of things
commanded in Torah about Sukkot. Number one is that we should dwell in these huts, in “Sukkot” for seven days and the other that at least on the very
first day we’re supposed to take what they call “p’ri eitz hadar”, the fruit of
the Hadar tree which has translated to the etrog along with the three other
species and it tells us that we’re supposed to “l’kach” them, we’re
supposed to take them up. The “arba’a minim” are the four species of Sukkot and they are the lulav, which is the palm frond, the hadass, which is the myrtle tree, the
aravah, which is the willow and the etrog, which is the citrus fruit, the fruit of
the goodly tree. According to the Torah we are supposed to “teish ev” or “teish’vu” ba Sukkot which means either to sit or to dwell and the rabbis of the Talmud
have a really good time figuring out exactly what it means to dwell but they
seem to agree that at least we are supposed to sit in our sukkah, eat in our
sukkah, and generally rejoice. There are three blessings associated with Sukkot, the first when you get into your sukkah and you sit down you say:Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’itzivanu leisheiv basukkah. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who hollows us with your mitzvot and
commands us to dwell in the sukkah. When you’re ready to shake your lulav and etrog you should pick up your lulav which is actually all three species, and you’re
etrog, which is the citron and you should hold it with this little bit
called the pitom down. It doesn’t matter which hand you use. I’m a lefty so I just
grabbed it this way, and you first say the blessing: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat lulav. Blessed are you Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe Who hallows us
with mitzvot and commands us to lift up the lulav. After the blessing
you turn your etrog so it is pitom up and then you shake. You shake to the
front, side, back, side, up, and down. The third blessing which we only say on the first night of Sukkot is the blessing of Shehecheyanu. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Haolam, shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higianu laz’man hazeh. Blessed are
You Adonai, Sovereign of the universe, who gives us life, who sustains us, and
enables us to reach this season.

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