Right Ideas -Wrong Impressions


Yosef Roth


In this weeks parsha we mention the mitzvah of shaking the lulav. In Gemaras Succah we are told that when Rava shook his lulav he would say “May this be a dagger in the eye of the Satan.” The Rabbis told Rava that he should not continue this practice because all it will do is enrage the Satan.

What does this statement of Rava mean? Does the Satan really get angry if you say that? And furthermore what is wrong by enraging the Satan? Often when the Torah talks about a wrong idea it refers to it as the Satan. Performing mitzvos stops your wrong ideas and shows you the right way. This would explain why Rava said “May this be a dagger in the eye of the Satan”. This act should take away your false ideas.

Why then did the Rabbis prevent you from saying such a thing? How will making this statement enrage the Satan? The answer is that the rabbis thought you would get the wrong idea. You would think that by shaking the lulav you are ‘literally’ putting a dagger in the eye of the Satan. This idea is wrong so the rabbis said you should not say this.