Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Erev Z’man Simchasaynu 5772

14 Tishrei 5772/October 12, 2011

Ever since they enslaved our ancestors for over two centuries a few millennia ago, we have never trusted our neighbors down in Egypt. We remind ourselves of that fact every year when we celebrate the holiday of Pesach. But this year the Egyptians have surfaced around the holiday of Succos.

“Pharaoh, let my lulavs go!”

Egypt is the central exporter of lulavim needed as one of the Four Species taken on Succos. They provide the Jewish world with about half a million palm fronds annually, from a general demand of about 700,000. This year the ministry has decided to ban all exports of lulavim, bar none. Although the Egyptian ministry claims that the reason for the ban is because of overharvesting and agricultural concerns, we all know that the real reason is because of the growing tension between Israel and Egypt.

Egypt’s refusal to export the lulavim is a demonstration of the Sages’ rule that ‘hatred perverts the straight path’. In the long run, it is unquestionably the fledgling Egyptian economy that will suffer the most from this whole debacle. The Jewish People will somehow figure out a way to have lulavim. In fact, this year many Jews will have to purchase the more expensive, but more halachically qualified, ‘Deri’ lulavim. [The Deri lulavim are thicker, sturdier, and are more reliable vis-à-vis the uppermost ‘twin’ leaves (t’yumas) being perfectly sealed, as required by halacha.] Thus, as has happened so many times in the past, our enemy’s effort to diminish our mitzvah observance, only leads to our beautification and more preciseness in that regard.

To add, there is another subconscious reason why the Egyptians seek to hinder our having the required Four Species. The Medrash (Vayikrah Rabbah, parshas Emor) relates that on Yom Kippur there is a tremendous battle raging in heaven between every nation in the world and Klal Yisroel (kind of like all every meeting in the United Nations in this world). The Medrash continues that it is not immediately apparent who was victorious. But then, when we emerge on Succos proudly holding the Four Species, it is symbolic that we were the victors.

No wonder the Egyptians don’t want us to have lulavim if they can help it. They never really got over the fact that we became the Chosen Nation after we were redeemed from their accursed land.

So Egypt, keep your lulavim and we’ll keep our money. And don’t you worry; the Season of our Gladness will not be lacking in mitzvah observance one iota. You stubborn Pharaohs, you just never learn.

Chag Kasher V’samayach & Good Yom Tov,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum