The other day, I posted the following in my "Daily Torah Thought" blog:
"The Torah says [that one of the Four Species waved on Succot is] 'A braided branch,' meaning that the leaves should cover the wood. What is that? That is the Hadas [myrtle]...
"But perhaps it is the Harduf? Abayye answered: No - It is written, 'The Torah's ways are pleasant,' and the spiny Harduf is not pleasant.
"Rava disqualified the Harduf for a different reason - It is written, 'You should love truth and peace.' The poisonous Harduf is the opposite of this verse."
(Talmud, Succah 32b as explained by Rashi)
Which led to the following reply from a reader:
When do we apply "The Torah's ways are pleasant"? Not all of the mitzvos are pleasant.
People find it hard to eat the required amounts of matzah and drink the required amounts of wine at the same meal, but we do so anyway.
I think most people would prefer not to give up their lives if the other choice is idol worship. ...
Why is poison the opposite of truth? Death is a part of the world. That is the truth.
There is much I would love to say on this. Perhaps during Chol haMoed. For now, have a great Yom Tov!