What is the connection between the Aravos we take as part of the daled minim on Sukkos and the Aravos of Heaven which the Almighty "rides" on?

Tehillim (68:5)

שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹהִים זַמְּרוּ שְׁמוֹ סֹלּוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת בְּיָהּ שְׁמוֹ וְעִלְזוּ לְפָנָיו ׃ -Sing to God, chant hymns to His name; extol Him who rides on the aravos; the LORD is His name. Exult in His presence—

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    Where is that translation from?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


The gemarra in Chagigah 12b says that there are seven rekiyos, loosely translated as seven Heavens.

ר"ל אמר שבעה ואלו הן וילון רקיע שחקים זבול מעון מכון ערבות

Reish Lakish said: There are seven firmaments, and they are as follows: Vilon, Rakia, Sheḥakim, Zevul, Ma’on, Makhon, and Aravot.

One of them is called Aravos. The gemarra goes on to describe what's in this Heaven, and cites the verse you bring as proof that there is such a Heaven.

Now, it could be a coincidence that there's a Heaven called Aravos, and we use something called Aravos in our Arbah Minim. However, Rabbeinu Bachaye tries to make a connection. In his Kad HaKemach § ערבה, he has an entire essay on this topic. It's mostly kabbalistic, so it's beyond my comprehension. However, I'll share one piece which is interesting. He explains the connection to this Heaven and Hoshana Rabbah, the seventh day of Sukkos, in which the aravos play a major role.

וכדי להורות שלטנותו יתברך על הגלגל השביעי הוא ערבות לכך קבעו לנו רבותינו חכמי האמת ז"ל מצות ערבה ביום שביעי, ונתחייב כל אחד ואחד מישראל ליטול בידו ערבה ביום זה מלבד הערבה שבלולב שהיא רומזת אל הענין הזה בעצמו

In order to teach us that Hashem has dominion over this seventh sphere, which is aravos, our Rabbis, those knowledgeable in the truth, enacted the mitzvah of the arava on the seventh day. Each Jewish person is obligated to take in their hands an aravah on this day, besides the aravah in their four species, which symbolizes this matter itself.


Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz once explained that the arava represents the Jew without Torah and massim tovim as the Medrash explains. However, the Aravos also represents Moshe and Ahron . The Arava also represents the potential in every Jew to grow,unlike the other species which can point to their past accomplishments. Therefore, Rabbi Breitwoitz explains that the Arvos sits under the Kisei Hakavod because it represents the humble Jew who does not feel entitled and has fear of HaShem. This type of person is considered close to HaShem.

I would add my own idea that the arava is extremely reliant on water to flourish and not dry up. Metaphorically water represents Torah and the arava represnts a person who is thirsting for Torah ,such a person is closest to the source.

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