Letters written by Simon Bar Kokhba, leader of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, were found in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1960.

Bar Kokhba Letter

“Send wooden beams (lulavs) and citrons (Etrogs) for the celebration of Sukkot.”

Request by Bar Kokhba for the “four kinds” required for Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles:

  1. “Shimeon to Yehudah bar Menashe to Qiryath  ‘Arab(v)aya I have sent to you two donkeys that you shall send
  2. with them two men to Yehonathan bar Be’ayan and to Masabala in order that they shall pack
  3. and send to the camp, towards you, palm branches [lulavin] and citrons [ethrogin].  And you, from your place, send others
  4. who will bring you myrtles [hadasin] and willows [aravin].  See that they are tithed [literally: set in order] and send them to the camp.
  5. (the request is made) since the army is big [in Aramaic: bdyl dy ‘okhlesa sgy].  Be well.”

Bar Kokhba Coin Front

Bar Kokhba Coin Back

Silver coin from the year 134-135 CE.  A lulav and etrog is overstruck on the still visible portrait of Roman Emperor Vespasian on a Syrian tetradrachm.  The inscription reads: “For the Freedom of Jerusalem.”  The opposite side reads “Shimon” and features the façade of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was destroyed by Vespasian’s son Titus in 70 CE.

See also: