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?

  • So it seems do you know any other who have this minhag groups you can name? wait do Yekkis do it Oct 16, 2011 at 23:01
  • This answer to another question may be useful as well: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7236/…
    – Menachem
    Oct 18, 2011 at 4:15
  • See Rambam Lulav 7.7. See also multiple rishonim in Succah 31b and Sanhedrin 88b. There are also rishonim that allow two Lulav. Indeed there is a question is a problem of bal tosif with the number of pieces of the right species or only with a fifth specie. Moreover there is a question if there is bal tosif with a piece that is added for decorating only
    – kouty
    Sep 11, 2021 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 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? Oct 16, 2011 at 23:00
  • 1
    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, 2011 at 23:02
  • 1
    @Alex the point is we don't add Aravos. Oct 16, 2011 at 23:05
  • 1
    @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, 2011 at 0:50
  • @simchashatorah: If you follow the quote onto the next page, he continues by saying that the Bach says not to add anything, and the Polish custom is to follow the Bach when it comes to Aravot. --- It is definitely the custom the Rebbe followed (to only add to the number of Haddasim), since it is written that way in Sefer Haminhagim (quoted on the page as well) - hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=30510&pgnum=287
    – Menachem
    Oct 17, 2011 at 5:08

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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