The Wisdom of Israel, by Edwin Collins, , at sacred-texts.com
"The righteous shall grow like the palm-tree," says the Psalmist (Ps. xcii. 13).
Just as the palm-tree, because of its great height, and because its branches are high up, casts its shadow a long way off, while lower trees have their shadow on the earth, just beneath
them; so the righteous have their reward in the far-off world of the after-life.
Just as the palm-tree will produce fine dates and some that are bad, and not fit to be gathered, so among the people of Israel, some are pious and learned in the Law of God, others are ignorant, stupid, and wicked.
In another way Israel may be likened to a palm-tree. Nothing that grows on the palm-tree is useless. It bears dates for food, Lulabs * that are brought into the house of prayer, for rejoicing before God when The Praise * is sung; the branches serve for shade, and the fibres are made into ropes; while the wood serves for the beams of houses. Thus, in Israel, no one is without his aim in life, and his proper function. Some are masters of Scripture, others of the study of the traditional law, others of Hagadah. † The mission of others is good works and of others charity; and others have lower, but no less useful, work in the world. None need be without his life-work. But as the central stem, the heart of the palm-tree, always grows up straight towards heaven, so the heart of the whole people, and of every individual, should be constantly turned towards their Father which is in Heaven.
22:* "The Praise," Hallel, consists of Psalms cxiii.–cxix. inclusive, and is sung in the Synagogue on every new moon and festival. During the eight days of Tabernacles, palm branches, bound up with myrtle and willows (Lulabs), are waved during this part of the service, as commanded in Exodus.
22:† See Introduction.