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It seems that there exists a Minhag (a practice of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal) of adding extra Hadassim or Aravos (Hashanos) — I am uncertain which, maybe both — to the standard 4 Minim regular people use.

My question is: Why is this not Bal Tosif?

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It's not only a Lubavitch custom, some sources said that the custom in Ashkenaz was to add Haddasim and Aravos. –  Shmuel Brin Oct 16 '11 at 22:58
    
So it seems do you know any other who have this minhag groups you can name? wait do Yekkis do it –  simchastorah Oct 16 '11 at 23:01
    
It quotes Mekor Chaim by R' Yitzchak the author of the Or Zarua. –  Shmuel Brin Oct 16 '11 at 23:03
    
This answer to another question may be useful as well: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7236/… –  Menachem Oct 18 '11 at 4:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The Aruch Hashulchan explains that one could add Hadasim and Aravos because the Torah doesn't say how many Hadasim or Aravos to have, it just used a plural form for "Arvei Nachal" and "Anfei Eitz Avos". Therefore one can add more Hadasim or Aravos for beauty.

Though Lubavitch custom is to add Hadasim but not Aravos.

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Thanks for the answer and sources –  simchastorah Oct 16 '11 at 22:56
    
Its funny because the lasts words seem to indicate that Minhag ashkenaz is to add to Both is it for sure that is not what the last Rebbe did? –  simchastorah Oct 16 '11 at 23:00
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It's not just Lubavitch custom, actually; Rambam (Hil. Lulav 7:7) says that you can add as many hadassim and aravos as you want, "because it beautifies the mitzvah." –  Alex Oct 16 '11 at 23:02
    
@Alex the point is we don't add Aravos. –  Shmuel Brin Oct 16 '11 at 23:05
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@Alex: said Rambam specifically says one is only allowed to add Hadasim, adding any other Min is Passul. The Raavad objects and says that that is not what the Gemara is saying, you can even add a second Lulav. (It is worth reading Kapach's opinion on The Goal of Rabad in his Hasagot - torah.org/learning/rambam/special/kapach.html). See the Or Sameach on the Rambam for a reason (I'm sure other commentaries discuss this as well) - hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=8513&rid=2391 –  Menachem Oct 17 '11 at 0:50

See Mishnah Berurah 651:59

דכתיב ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון פרי עץ וגו' משמע אחד ולא שנים וה"ה ללולב דכתיב כפות תמרים חסר וי"ו דהיינו אחד וי"א דעובר בזה גם על בל תוסיף אבל בערבה לא נתן בה תורה קצבה והאי דקי"ל דבעינן שתי ערבות משום דכתיב ערבי נחל היינו דבהכי סגי דמיעוט ערבי שתים אבל טפי ג"כ שפיר דמי וה"ה בהדס דכתיב ענף עץ עבות ג"כ יכול להוסיף כמה שירצה

In short: we have pesukim which imply only one lulav and esrog, but no such pesukim exist for hadassim and aravos.


I found two instances of the Minhag to add extra hadassim and/or aravos (above the standard 3):

As a Chabad minhag over here:

It is the Chabad custom to add at the very least an extra three myrtles (Hadasim), besides the standard three required by Halachah. (13th Tishrei 5752; Sichos Kodesh p.98)

And as a Yemenite practice over here:

The Yemenites use more than two branches of willow and three of myrtle, adding branches of myrtle that do not necessarily have triple leaves. This is mentioned by Saadiah Gaon in his prayer book (pp. 236-237): "One may add to the two branches of willow and three stems of myrtle as many as myrtle branches as one wishes that are not three-foil [meshulashim], until the bundle is filled out." Yemenite practice in this regard was ruled on by Rabbi Yihye Zalah (Mahariz), the greatest Yemenite posek, who lived in the 18th century (Takhlal Etz Hayyim, S. Zalah ed., 2, p. 334):

In this same source of Yemenite practice I found a reasoning defending that it's not Bal Tosif:

since it is a variety of myrtle [and not the addition of a fifth type to the four species], as written in Sefer Tanya by the geonim.

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