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Miriam Maor

Great ideas, but the Hoshana bundles consist of myrtle, not willows.
Myrtle signifies our eyes. So perhaps we signify to ourselves by banging the myrtle that we really cannot rely on what we perceive, but rather on what the Torah tells us to do. After all, myrtle only grows in very moist places, close to rivers. So if we stay close to the Torah, follow the eyes of our righteous sages and leaders, and nullify impure or mislieading perceptions from our eyes, we will merit the ultimate peace! Speedily!

Miriam Maor

Sorry! Aravos signify the lips-so perhaps I just should have kept my mouth shut! Maybe that's what we need to learn!

M. D'Souza

Wow! What a profound article with profound spiritual and political insights!!!

It’s good to learn some of the ancient traditions and rituals, that are observed and practiced by Jews. These are faithfully observed year after year in particular seasons, without us knowing the significance of such rituals.

G-D Himself told Moses (Lev.23:40) to use the fruit of beautiful trees, the branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook for Succoth celebration. You mention bundles of willow being used for Hoshana Rabba. Why did G-D specifically mention the willow, when the Israelites were still in the Sinai? Willow is known to grow by the banks of water sources -- as by the rivers of Babylon where the Jews in captivity wept while they hung their harps upon the willows.

Besides its spiritual significance, scientifically, there is a great significance why willow may have been specifically mentioned by G-D. Had He explained it to the ancients, that information would have gone with the wind and sand-storms of the desert.

Succoth is celebrated during Fall, when people suffer from allergies that cause inflammation, resulting in aches and pains, fevers, etc. The ability of willow bark to alleviate pain and reduce fever has been known for at least 2000 years. The bark contains Salicin, a glucoside that is converted to Salicylic acid in the body. Salicylic acid is closely related to Aspirin -- the synthetic drug that has displaced willow bark from popular use.

So what is the significance of thrashing a bunch of willow twigs on the floor on Hoshana Rabba?...The Salicin released by thrashing the willow bark should knock out all the aches and pains caused by any toxins that may still linger even after the Yom Kippur fast. This ritual gives the toxins one more chance to be knocked out of the body. So also the activities in building the Succah may have caused sore muscles and backs, etc. These will be alleviated by the healing properties of the willow. This ritual should get you all on to a healthy start for the new year.

The second significance of willow is in the ‘rhizocaline’ that it contains. It is natural and organic, if one wishes to avoid chemicals for rooting rose cuttings, etc. The current year’s growth of willow leaves soaked overnight in warm water will release this natural rooting hormone in which the rose cuttings can be placed to induce rooting. That’s exactly what Israel requires now -- to bring in as many Jews from their Diaspora and help them get established in the land of their ancestors. That’s the only way the Palestinian Arabs will know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews; that any amount of their terrorism will only hurt themselves, and not the Jews.

This Hoshana Rabba ritual with the willow will not only heal your people and the Land, but will also bring joy to the Land when more Jews transplant themselves into their homeland.

Have a blessed holiday!

Luigi Frascati

To Miriam:

myrtle is in fact one of the three types of branches which, together with the fruit, form the Four Species. The other two are willow and palm, and the fruit is citron.

So, in essence, you were partially correct.

Sohail Khan

Last night there was a thunder and lightening storm over Israel and at the same time in the five oceans race were 80 knott winds and gust of the coast of Spain. The boats had to come ashore.
The G-d of Noah and Moses and all the profits exists. It is fact and the related thunderstorm over Israel is testament to his divine existence. It was to tell the people of Israel that he is the true God.

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