There is a Midrash that says a king returned victoriously from war and hung his weapons on the wall, which is apparently related to Sukkos. Where is this Midrash?

  • Where'd you hear this?
    – Harel13
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:07
  • Yes those "weapons" are the lulav and esrog
    – Dov
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:09
  • It is not returning from war though. the King is presiding over a court case it is a mashal to sukkos coming straight after the yomim noraim.
    – Dov
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


See Midrash Tanchuma, Emor 18:

. אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ נִכְנָסִין לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ לְדִין, וְאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין מִי הָיָה מְנַצֵּחַ. מָשָׁל לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה. לִשְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ לְדִין לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, וְלֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ אָדָם מַה בֵּינֵיהֶם אֶלָּא הַמֶּלֶךְ בִּלְבָד. דָּן הַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹתָן, וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין הַבְּרִיּוֹת מִי נוֹצֵחַ לַחֲבֵרוֹ. אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ, כָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא וּבְיָדוֹ אֲגִין, הֲווּ יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהוּא נָצַח. כָּךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם נִכְנָסִין לְדִין בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, וְאֵין הַבְּרִיּוֹת יוֹדְעִין מִי נָצַח. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, טְלוּ לוּלְבֵיכֶם בְּיֶדְכֶם, שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ הַכֹּל שֶׁאַתֶּם זְכִיתֶם בַּדִּין.

The former and the latter come [for a verdict], but we do not know who has prevailed. To what is the matter comparable? To two humans who came before the king for a verdict. Now no one except the king himself knew what [the issue] was between them. The king judged them, but the people did not know who had prevailed against his companion. [However], the king said, “You should know that whoever leaves with a lance in his hand has prevailed.” So Israel and the peoples of the world come for a verdict on the Day of Atonement, and the people do not know who is victorious. The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “Take your lulavim in your hand, so that everyone may know that you have won in the judgment.”

And slightly different version in Vayikra Rabbah 30:2 which adopts a variant reading - using the term "בָּאיָין" - "palm branch" instead of "אֲגִין" - "lance"

אָמַר רַבִּי אָבִין מָשָׁל לִשְׁנַיִם שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ אֵצֶל הַדַּיָּן וְלֵית אֲנַן יָדְעִין מַאן הוּא נוֹצֵחַ, אֶלָּא מַאן דְּנָסַב בָּאיָין בִּידֵיהּ, אֲנַן יָדְעִין דְּהוּא נָצוֹחַיָיא, כָּךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם בָּאִין וּמְקַטְרְגִים לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וְלֵית אֲנַן יָדְעִין מַאן נָצַח, אֶלָּא בַּמֶּה שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל יוֹצְאִין מִלִּפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְלוּלָבֵיהֶן וְאֶתְרוֹגֵיהֶן בְּיָדָן, אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין דְיִשְׂרָאֵל אִינוּן נָצוֹחַיָּא, לְפִיכָךְ משֶׁה מַזְהִיר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶם: וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן.

Rabbi Avin said, "[There is a relevant] parable about two that went into a judge and we do not know who was victorious. Rather we know that the one that [comes out] carrying a palm branch is the winner. So [too] Israel and the nations of the world come and prosecute [each other] before the Holy One, blessed be He, on Rosh Hashanah and we do not know who won. Rather when we see that Israel is coming out from in front of the Holy One, blessed be He, with their lulavs and citrons in their hands, we know that Israel are the winners (and that creates a need to offer an offering of joy, as well as the holiday offering). Hence, Moshe warns Israel and says to them (Leviticus 23:40), 'And you shall take for yourselves.'"

  • Thank you. I found the same Midrashim but they don't mention the king returning from war or hanging weapons on the wall.
    – NJM
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:35
  • This is the famous mashal - are you sure the person you heard it from got it right?
    – Dov
    Oct 27, 2022 at 18:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .