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With what may we bind the aravos branches for Hoshano Rabboh?

Kitzur Shulchan Oruch 138 (2) says one should use leaves of the lulav. Is that all? How about a rubber band?

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Some say that the aravos for Hoshana Rabba should not be tied together at all (Magen Avraham 664:8, brought by Mishna B'rura S"K 17), however the Mishna B'rura rules that the prevalent custom is to bind them together. Regarding what may be used to tie them, some hold (see Pri Megadim A"A S"K 4) that only aravos stalks should be used, as anything else would be a considered a chatzizta (barrier). [Using arovos should be fine because min b'mino eino chotetz; the same species is not considered a barrier]. However the Magen Avraham (S"K 4) permits using Lulav leaves to bind, because anything that is to beautify it is not a chatzizta. Although common practice is to use rubber bands, according to the above it would seem problematic.

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    Why do you assume rubber bands are not to beautify but lulav leaves are? I don't know why everyone always assumes lulav-leaf-knots are so pretty. – Double AA Oct 5 '12 at 14:16
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    Also, the rubber band is so small that even if it is a chatzitza it would only be on a small part of your hand, so it's no worse than, say, picking up the Aravot with only 4 out of 5 fingers. – Double AA Oct 5 '12 at 14:17
  • @DoubleAA Are you saying rubber bands are to beautify or that Lulav leaves are not? I can't imagine that the people find rubber bands attractive, while the Magen Avraham clearly does consider lulav leaves as decorative. Also the M"A is bothered by chatizta, and he doesn't answer that small helps. – Michoel Oct 6 '12 at 12:48
  • I think @DoubleAA means that rubber bands and lulav leaves would both beautify equally because the "beautification" is a merely a result of the aravos being held together. ("And if you say that we are talking about the particular beauty of the lulav leaves themselves," he might continue, "one could argue that such a minimal degree of beauty can be attributed to rubber bands as well." Furthermore, it would be a stretch [pardon me] to say that lulav leaves have some intrinsic beauty considering that (1.) a lulav has hiddur only in its intact state and... – Fred Oct 7 '12 at 17:25
  • ...(2.) it is not per se from a specific lulav that was used for arba minim, much less can it ever be an actual davar shebikdushah). – Fred Oct 7 '12 at 17:26

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