How to: Wave the Lulav and Etrog on Sukkot

The Four Species market, on the eve of Sukkot, (Feast of Tabernacles) Mea Shearim, Jerusalem. Israel. Orthodox Jews inspecting leaves of Myrtle tree branch. The leaves have to grow evenly in each set of three, otherwise they cannot be used. Perfecti
Dan Porges/Photolibrary/Getty Images

One of Sukkot's special mitzvot is to recite blessings over the Four Kinds: a citron, a palm branch, three myrtle twigs and two willow branches. The citron is held in one hand, while the palm, myrtle and willow are bundled together into what is called a lulav. An etrog is a kind of citron.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Stand facing east and hold the lulav in your right hand with the spine towards you. Hold the etrog in your left hand with the pittam facing down (opposite of the way it grows). You now recite a blessing that goes: "Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech Ha Holam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al netilat lulav." (Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us concerning the taking of the palm branch.)
  1. On the first day only, you now recite a blessing called the Shechiyanu. It goes like this: "Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha Olam, shechiyanu v'kimanu, v'higianu, lazman ha ze." (Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.)
  2. Now bring the lulav and etrog together with both hands. Facing each of the six directions - east, south, west, north, above and below - you are going to wave them up and down. Hold the lulav and etrog so that the top of the etrog is next to the bottom of the lulav and so that the etrog is covered with your fingers.
  3. Face east and, holding the lulav and etrog with both hands, extend your arms, shake the lulav and etrog together, then bring your arms back towards you. Repeat this twice more.
  4. Repeat for the directions south, west and north.
  5. Repeat for the directions upwards and downwards.
  1. (When waving the lulav and etrog, Sephardic Jews will wave them right, left, front, back up and down.)

What You Need:

  • A lulav
  • An etrog