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Beth Shalom Messianic Ministries



The Four Species & the Rabbinic Sukkah

Posted by Philip on December 3, 2011 at 3:00 PM

This was a very brief study that we had in a frame on a table during sukkot 2011. It started a lot of interesting conversations. So we wanted to share it with our online friends.


Halachah, a Hebrew term which literally means ‘the law’, is a series of Rabbinic traditions and customs. There are literally thousands of Rabbinic Halachot (laws), among these are traditions pertaining to the construction of a Sukkah. The Halachos for the Sukkah are basically that the side walls can be made out of anything, the roof however; must be made of organic materials and you must be able to see at least three stars when looking through the roof. Additionally the four species of trees mentioned in the Bible must be present in the sukkah. These four species are typically shown as what is known as the Lulav, although the custom of the lulav may have some impure roots.


The four species of trees however are mentioned in the Bible and they, like the story of the four sons at the Passover Sedar, can represent four types of Jews or more specifically four types of Israelites. The good, the bad, the simple, and the one who doesn’t seem to care at all.


The good are of course always seeking God’s Will and Ways, they search the Scriptures and know them intimately. Their heart is to follow God. They seek wisdom and knowledge.


The bad may know the Scriptures also but they do not really obey, they often have an outward appearance of righteousness but they often act in secret to bring about their own will. They may bend the Scriptures to teach their opinions. They might turn away completely and follow the path to destruction.


The simple are not evil. They are sincere they only lack learning. They could be swayed by the either the good or bad and they are often a target audience of both.


The one who doesn’t seem to care at all, is likewise not evil. Although he seems to not care he may care in time to come. He is also able to be swayed by either the good or the bad. He may have learning but it doesn’t really matter until the time of decision comes.


The Bible also mentions a fifth species of tree this one is overlooked in rabbinic customs. Perhaps this fifth species represents the gentile who is grafted into Israel through Messiah and now has a choice of what kind of Israelite he will become.

Categories: Feasts, Traditions & Practices

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