The Four Species of Sukkot

What can we see?

We can see a young boy holding a handful of plants. We can see that he is wearing a tallit (prayer shawl).

Look closely, what can you see?

What do we know?

The young boy in this painting is holding the arba minim, also known as the Four Species, of Sukkot. These species are lulav (palm branch), hadas (myrtle), arava (willow) and etrog (citron) and they are used to bless the Sukkah or booth in which Sukkot is celebrated. These four plants are mentioned in the third book of the Torah, Leviticus. It states that it is a mitzvah to wave these plants around and rejoice before the Lord on every day of Sukkot.

Leviticus 23:40 reads “You shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of the hadar tree [citron], date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the L‑rd your G‑d for a seven day period.”

It is important to beautify all mitzvot but especially the mitzvah of picking the Four Species. Many people purchase these plants from their Rabbi to guarantee a high quality and kosher set of Sukkot plants. It is important that the Four Species are in a good condition and clean.

What do we wonder?

We might wonder who this boy is. We might also wonder why this was painted.

What do you wonder?

Object File

Object Name: Akin to the High Priest

Date: 1800s

Catalogue Number: C 1986.1.2

Artist: Isidor Kaufmann

Material: Card

This is a mounted coloured lithograph from a painting by Isidor Kaufmann (1953 – 1921). Kauffman was an Austro-Hungarian artist, best known for his realistic genre paintings of the Chasidic Jewish community.

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