Why 'Sukkos' Isn't Called 'Lulav'
On the holiday of Sukkot we perform two special mitzvot, the mitzva of "dwelling in a sukka" and the mitzva of blessing the "four kinds" (lulav, etrog, hadas and arava).
We call the holiday by the name "Chag HaSukkot" -- the holiday of Sukkot, and not "the holiday of the four kinds" because the mitzva of sukka has advantages over the mitzva of the four kinds (commonly called "lulav").
As soon as the holiday begins, we are obligated to dwell in the sukka, whereas we begin to perform the mitzva of lulav only the following morning. As is the case this year, when the holiday begins on Shabbat, we will actually begin the mitzv a of lulav on Sunday, whereas we will "dwell" in the sukka beginning on Friday evening.
In addition, the sukka itself must be prepared before the holiday begins, whereas (except on Shabbat) one may put together the four kinds even after the holiday has commenced.
An additional point is found in the mitzva of sukka which is not found in the mitzva of lulav: Whenever one enters the sukka and eats, the blessing, "to dwell in the sukka" is recited. And if one were to recite the blessing, eat, recite the after-blessing, leave the sukka, and then return even just a short while later to eat again, the blessing "to dwell in the sukka" must be recited once more. However, concerning lulav, we recite the blessing only once each day.
One of the final differences between the two mitzvot is that the mitzva of sukka is performed with the entire body; our entire body actually enters the sukka and is encompassed by it. Lulav, however, is performed only with our hands -- which hold the plants, and our mouth -- which utters the blessing.
Our total involvement in the mitzva of sukka teaches us how we should perceive and be involved in Judaism -- totally, with every fiber of our being, every part of our body.
May we celebrate Sukkot this year in the most perfect fashion, with all Jews sitting together in the great sukka of Moshiach.