Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lulav - the Old-New Jewish Symbol?

Since the state of Israel has effectively taken over the two most common Jewish symbols - the Star of David on its flag, and the Menorah on its official seal - maybe there is need for a symbol of Judaism that is independent of the State of Israel. If so, I nominate the lulav - the palm frond used at Sukkoth as part of the "four species."

As the Talmud tells, us the four species represent all the human types together, and the holiday of Sukkoth itself is considered a universal holiday, since it is a thanksgiving for the past year's harvest as well as a prayer for rain for the coming years. And rain, as the rabbis point out, falls on all people: Jews and non-Jews alike. In temple times 70 bulls where offered as sacrifices on Sukkoth - symbolizing "the 70 nations of the world." Despite, or perhaps because, of this universal aspect, the lulav was a much beloved symbol of Judaism in the late second temple times and in the century or so afterwards. It appears on many synagogue mosaics from that period, and on various coins issued by Jewish authorities.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Syd. I just read about Rebecca Vilkomerson, leader of Jewish Voice for Peace. You've probably already heard of Rebecca and her organization but in case you haven't here is a link to it:

If you ever want to post on (your perspective on -- not sure if you are born and raised in Canada or not) differences between Canadian and American Jewish perspectives on Israeli politics I would very much look forward to joining the discussion. In my opinion there is a much larger contingent of liberal Jews in American vs. Canada. This may be due to the (from my perspective) the greater numbers of Reform Jews in America vs. Canada (Reformism is not too populuar outside of the US, no? Canadian Jews are mainly conservative or orthodox, no?).

11:39 pm  

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