Four Kinds: Four Approaches to Judaism
The festival of Sukkos features two central Mitzvos; dwelling in the sukkah and taking the Four Kinds: theLulav [date palm branch], Esrog [citron], Hadassim [myrtles] and Aravos [willows].
The Midrash provides several explanations and symbolisms for these four kinds.
In one analysis, the Midrash refers to the Lulav as the spine; the Esrog as the heart, the myrtles represent the eyes and the willows stand for the mouth.
These four kinds represent four approaches to Judaism:
One can have little feeling but remain steadfastly connected to Torah because of the Jewish trait of stiff-necked-ness represented by the Lulav..
The second Jew is motivated by his heart, his love and passion for G‑d and His Torah, alluded to by the Esrog..
The third Jew is motivated by his vision of the grandeur and awesome revelation of G‑dliness and the beauty of His Torah: the Hadasim.
The fourth Jew is motivated by the inspiring words of Torah and of our prayers-the Aravos.
The fifth Jew is motivated by the sheer logic and knowledge of G‑d’s existence and His relationship with us, represented by the Sukkah about which the Torah says that this mitzvah was intended to “let future generations know…
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai’s Five Students
If the Four Kinds and the Sukkah represent a total of five approaches to Judaism and to life in general, it may be suggested that the five students of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai who provided us with five approaches to life parallel the foregoing five approaches associated with Sukkos.
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai, one of the greatest Jewish leaders, shepherded the Jewish people in their greatest crises, the period of the destruction of the second Bais Hamikdash.
Ethics of the Fathers (Chapter 2:10) reports that he had five students. Obviously, he had more than five students but these students were special and represented five classes of students. These five students were to become the trailblazers and future leaders of the Jewish people, each of whom had a unique approach to Judaism and to life in general.
Indeed, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai asked them what they considered to be the best approach; an approach “to which a person should cleave.”
“Said Rabbi Eliezer: ‘A good eye.’
Said Rabbi Joshua: ‘A good friend.’
Said Rabbi Yossei: ‘A good neighbor.’
Said Rabbi Shimon: ‘One who sees the future [Literally: one who sees that which is born’].
         Said Rabbi Elazar: ‘A good heart.’
Said He to them: ‘I prefer the words of Elazar the son of Arach to yours, for his words include all of yours.’”
The Good Eye
The good eye parallels the Hadasim, which resemble the eye.
A person with a good eye is one who sees the good in everyone and everything. A good eye is the optimist who looks favorably on the state of the world and of his or her own life.
This message has particular relevance to the present day and age; standing on the cusp of the Final Redemption, as the Rebbe told us repeatedly. Moreover, the Rebbe stressed, the Redemption is right in front of us, we just have to “open our eyes” to see it.
It is noteworthy that the Rebbe encouraged us to add more Hadassim to the Lulav over the minimum requirement of three. Perhaps, the Rebbe wanted to strengthen our Geulah vision by focusing on the symbol of the “good eye”. Whereas 20 20 vision is considered ideal under normal circumstances, it is not adequate when it comes to seeing Geulah in front of us;  we need it to be more accessible. We cannot view the Redemption as something of the distant future or an ideal that is elusive, beyond our eye’s grasp.
The Talmud (Shabbos 22a) states that a Sukkah [or a Chanukah menorah] placed 20 cubits above ground is not kosher because the eye doesn’t easily see the schach (Sukkah covering) [or the light of the Menorah]. Underlying this law is the notion that we must allow our mind’s eye to behold the message of the Festival of Sukkos as a reality that is ready to unfold.
This message resonates even more this year, 5779. In Hebrew, the letters of this year are: tav, shin, ayin tes.Many have taken these four letters as an acronym for the sentence, “תהא שנת עין טובה may this be a year of the good eye.” This year in particular we should focus on “opening our eyes” to see the good in everything.
The Good Friend
The “good friend” can be said to correspond to the Lulav. The Lulav comes from a date palm but can only be used when all the leaves are close together and appear as if they were bound to one another. This is the idea of the good friend. The word for friend is chaver, the root of which means attached or bonded. The Lulav symbolizes someone whose attachment to the other is a good one.
The connection between the Lulav and a chaver-friend is further reinforced by the comment of the Midrash that the Lulav, the date palm, which produces good tasting food, is a symbol of the Torah scholar, whose life is governed by Torah reason and logic. The Hebrew word for reason is ta’am and the same word also translates as “taste.”
One of the names the Talmud uses to describe a conscientious Torah scholar is a chaver-friend. This reinforces the notion that the good friend-chaver is represented by the Lulav.
The Good Neighbor
“A good neighbor” may be represented by the Aravos-willows. One of the characteristics of willows, the Talmud states, is that they grow in a “brotherly manner,” i.e., in clusters. This is suggestive of neighbors who cluster together in one neighborhood and who serve as mutual positive influences. The definition of a neighbor is not restricted to someone living next door. It also can include people with whom we share certain interests and whose relationship with one another may not be as close and constant as good friends. The influence we receive from a neighbor is less pronounced and direct, but nonetheless, very powerful.
One of the disqualifying features of the Arava is large jagged edges. Perhaps this symbolizes the need for neighbors to not have rough edges.  
As mentioned earlier, the arava is also likened to the mouth or speech because the quality of neighbors’ relationships requires good communication skills. Whereas good friends can enjoy just being in each other’s company; good neighbors depend on communication to forge a positive relationship.
One Who Sees the Future  
“One who sees the future [Literally: one who sees that which is born]” is related to the Sukkah, which is etymologically related to the word in Hebrew for vision, soche. More specifically, it is related to the name Yiskah given to the Matriarch Sarah because of her prophetic vision.
In addition, when the Torah introduces the commandment to dwell in a Sukkah it adds: “Every native Jew [ezrach] should live in Sukkos.” The Talmud states that this verse teaches us that “all of Israel are fit to dwell in one Sukkah. Chassidic literature relates this message of unity to the word ezrach which refers to the unifying energy that will be revealed in the future Messianic Age. Only in the Messianic Age will we be able to truly experience the unifying G‑dly nature of the Sukkah. Today we can only anticipate and approximate the Sukkah’s true value and power.
“One who sees the future” thus refers to one who endeavors to experience this oneness even in these last moments of exile.
But how does one see the future and appreciate the unity of the future when we are still in exile?
The answer is again in the Torah’s rationale for dwelling in the Sukkah: “it is in order that future generations gain will know that G‑d settled us in Sukkos when we left Egypt.” Thus the Sukkah is associated with knowledge.
In practical terms this means that we should learn and acquire knowledge about the future Redemption so that our Galus tainted perceptions should be altered. Indeed, the Rebbe asserted that introducing the concept of Redemption into our mind has the power to change the nature of our thought processes.
The power of dwelling in the Sukkah now is that it affords us a glimpse of the future.
The Good Heart
 “A good heart” corresponds to the Esrog, which, the Midrash states resembles the heart. The difference between a good eye and a good heart is the person endowed with a good eye realizes and sees  the positive in everything, whereas the one with the good heart actually experiences and lives the positive life.
The person with the open eyes sees the Redemption dynamic in front of him or her. The Sukkah personality understands the dynamic of Redemption, but a person with a good heart lives Redemption now!
We can now understand what Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai meant when he said “I prefer the words of Elazar the son of Arach [who said that the ideal approach is a good heart] to yours, for his words include all of yours.”
When a person has a good heart, i.e., he experiences the Redemption dynamic in his heart, it encompasses seeing it and understanding it, for the ultimate realization of something is to experience and live with it.