Not Everyone is Included in the "Four Species"


Not Everyone is Included in the "Four Species"

By Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1997)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

Major functionaries at home joining the side of our enemy require us to take another look at the known midrash about how the "four species" symbolize different levels in Am Yisrael.

It is impossible to ignore anymore the growing and obscene phenomenon, where functionaries from home mobilize time and time again to further the cause of our bitter enemies. Whenever possible, they rise from within us, under the orchestration of the media, to demoralize the nation during its fight for existence, while furthering the interests of the enemy. The question is: How should we relate to these people? Are they one of us, or are they "beyond the pale"?

One of the famous midrashim in connection to Succot, compares the four species to the unity of Israel: "Just as the Etrog has both taste and smell, so too do the Jewish People have within it people who have Torah and good deeds: Lulav...has taste and no smell, and so too there are those who have Torah and no good deeds...Just as the Hadas has smell and no taste...(there are those) with good deeds and no Torah...Just as the "Arava" has no smell and no taste, so (there are those) who have no Torah and no good deeds. And what does the Almighty do to them? To destroy them would be impossible! But rather the Almighty said that he will tie them all up in one unit and they will atone for one another". (Vayikra Raba, 30:12)

Considering our opening statements, there is a need for some clarification in light of this amazing midrash which mentions how the Aravot are held tightly together with the rest of Am Yisrael.

The worst kind of Jew spoken of here is the Arava, who is not destroyed, because the righteous atone for him. They are Jews "who have no Torah and no good deeds". True, we are not talking about the cream of the crop - but we are talking about Jews who are ready to be part of the union of Am Yisrael, connected to them so that the righteous can atone for them. We are not talking about Jews, who G-d forbid, sever themselves from the collective and detest their own Jewishness. We are not discussing Jews who the sages spoke of when they said that in the days of Messiah, there will be Jews who will identify with and join forces with the enemy. About such Jews, the above midrash does not speak. On the contrary. The idea of the midrash is two-fold. On one hand, G-d does not desire to see the wicked of Israel destroyed. On the other hand, we are talking about only those who are willing to join part of Klal Yisrael. Only he merits this special atonement, reserved for one who feels belonging to the collective of the Jewish Nation.

It must be known: Relatively speaking, there really are only a few. But through all the generations, and especially in this final era before the complete redemption, there were always Jews who took themselves out of the collective, and deep inside of them, identified more with the goyim than with the Jews.

And so, it is a great mistake to identify such people as the "Arava" described in the midrash. For while the Arava is still an only an Arava, it still has a belonging to the Jewish collective. While it has no taste or smell, at least it does not give off a putrid or damaging smell. The Arava sees himself as part of the four species and does not nullify his Jewishness, nor does he want to be like a gentile. By this very fact, he is able to absorb within him the smell and taste of the others. We must also remember that there are certain things that disqualify the four species from being Kosher. And so, though we are never happy about disqualifying a Jew, there are those who are rejected, and not tied together with the rest of the four species.

The nation is willing to absorb the individual sinners, and to cover and atone for them so that they will not perish with their sins (even though this causes us great suffering as a people). It is ready to hold on tightly to them with all its might in order to unite them, for we Jews are all guarantors for one another. But the nation is not ready to carry under its wing he who in his very essence is an aberrant traitor. Such people remove themselves from the Succah of Israel, and as much as it hurts to say, they are beyond the pale for us.

Not Everyone is Included in the Four Species

From The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane in honor of Sukkot Organs of power at home joining the side of our enemy requires us t...