Study and Theory/
Sukkot

The Four Species and the Land of Israel

from the bible

Each of the four plants that the Jews bring to their sukkah is the Land of Israel, but each is botanically different from the others.

The Arava and the Etrog require large amounts of water to grow, the palm and the Hadas can grow with less water. This is important to consider because the water sources in Israel are scarcer in many areas, and in contrast, they are abundantly present in other areas.

The climate is also a significant factor. Palm trees love heat and aridity, but do not give much fruit along the coast, where it is hot in summer, but also very humid. The orchards prefer the cool mountain region. The Arava grows almost everywhere in the Mediterranean climate, but in Israel, with its scarce rainfall, the Arava grows only near sources of water available all year long.

It is therefore clear why the Torah chose four species since they are scattered throughout the Land of Israel. Israel may be small but contains a variety of climates and geography. Each of the four species represents a different geographical area:

The Etrog - the northern coastal areas and the valleys.

The Lulav – the desert.

The Hadas - the mountains.

Arava - the water sources.

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