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Vayikra/Leviticus 23:40

וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן, פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים, וַעֲנַף עֵץ-עָבֹת, וְעַרְבֵי-נָחַל
; וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם--שִׁבְעַת יָמִים.

On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days

It talks about taking ‘pri etz hadar’, ‘kapot t’marim’ and ‘v’anaf etz avot’, ‘v’arvey nachal’..

In these times of Corona, could I take any Citrus (fruits of a beautiful fruit tree), date palms, twigs of a plaited tree and willows of the brook. Or does it necessarily has to be an Etrog, hadas (myrtle) etc. like we normally would take for our lulav set?

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The OK website here talks about when Lulavim are hard to source. It writes:

When No Kosher Lulav Is Available

There were many times in our history that it was impossible to purchase a kosher lulav. Sometimes this was due to war or import limitations, drought or disease of the plants, and, more commonly, extreme poverty. If one cannot obtain a kosher lulav, one should use a non-kosher one without a brocha (see OC 649:6). If the lulav is not kosher because it is dried out, it is permissible to recite the brocha over it if there is no other kosher lulav available. However, a non-kosher species of lulav should not be used even if no kosher one is available (see Mishna Berurah s.k. 53). Obviously, one may not substitute an entirely different item as a substitute for a kosher lulav, since it may cause another person to mistakenly use the wrong plant.

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  • Why would an Etrog for example be considered more kosher as a lemon, pampelmuse or grapefruit? – Levi Aug 16 '20 at 14:10
  • That's a different question than the one he's asking, it's discussed in the Gemara, one of the answers below mentions the sugya. – Ploni Almoni Aug 16 '20 at 16:39
  • See here for the opnion of the Saba Kadisha that maybe a lemon does fulfill the status of an etrog. For halacha l'maaseh it is not done.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14677&st=&pgnum=218 – sam Aug 17 '20 at 3:12
  • @sam well, he held a lemon was a variety of etrog. not quite the same thing as the op's suggestion – H. Eugene Walters Aug 17 '20 at 3:17
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You must take only a hadas, etrog, arava, and lulav, as usual.

Pri eitz hadar and anaf eitz avos are not merely general descriptions that include multiple plants, of which we normally use esrogim and hadasim; they are very specific descriptions which only apply to the minim that we usually use. There is an entire chapter of Talmud (the 3rd chapter of tractate Sukkah) dedicated to figuring out which plants they refer to.

For example, regarding anaf eitz avos the gemara (Sukkah 32b) states:

תנו רבנן (ויקרא כג, מ) ענף עץ עבות שענפיו חופין את עצו ואי זה הוא הוי אומר זה הדס ואימא זיתא בעינן עבות וליכא

The Sages taught: It is written: “Boughs of a dense-leaved tree” (Leviticus 23:40); this is referring to a tree whose leaves obscure its tree. And which tree is that? You must say it is the myrtle tree. The Gemara suggests: And say it is the olive tree, whose leaves obscure the tree. The Gemara answers: We require a “dense-leaved” tree, whose leaves are in a chain-like configuration, and that is not the case with an olive tree.

ואימא דולבא בעינן ענפיו חופין את עצו וליכא

The Gemara suggests: And say it is the Oriental plane tree, whose leaves are in a braid-like configuration. The Gemara answers: We require a tree whose leaves obscure its tree, and that is not the case with an Oriental plane tree.

This is only the beginning of the Gemara's discussion. Similar discussions are found throughout this chapter of Gemara for the other minim. (For arava see 33b, for esrog see 35a. Lulav is scattered from 29b to 32a, but see 31b - 32a for the main discussion.)

Therefore, it's obvious that bringing any other plant is at best meaningless; at worst it may be a violation of baal tosif. Indeed, the Gemara states this explicitly on Sukkah 31a:

ארבעת מינין שבלולב כשם שאין פוחתין מהן כך אין מוסיפין עליהן לא מצא אתרוג לא יביא לא פריש ולא רמון ולא דבר אחר

With regard to the four species of the lulav, just as one may not diminish from their number, so too, one may not add to their number. If one did not find an etrog, he should not bring a quince, a pomegranate, or any other item instead.

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  • This doesn't address the OP's question of what to do in a b'dieved circumstance where the usual is unavailable? – Dov Aug 16 '20 at 14:30
  • @Dov "You must take only a hadas, etrog, arava, and lulav, as usual" "Therefore, it's obvious that bringing any other plant is at best meaningless; at worst it may be a violation of baal tosif." – H. Eugene Walters Aug 16 '20 at 14:33
  • I appreciate that but in times of difficulty there are different corresponding piskei halocho. (FYI I didn't downvote). – Dov Aug 16 '20 at 15:26
  • Your source sounds like any species that has certain characteristics of dense-leavery is fine – Double AA Aug 16 '20 at 15:47
  • @Dov "in times of difficulty there are different corresponding piskei halocho"? Really? What other species can you bring? As you indicated in your answer, the only thing that can be compromised is the hiddur or kashrus of the min, but you definitely can't use something else – H. Eugene Walters Aug 16 '20 at 16:07

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