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I would like to know the correct Sephardic procedure for binding the lulav, hadasim and aravot?

I have looked at the instructions here: http://www.midrash.org/halakha/tielulab.html

But it seems to contradict the instructions here: http://www.judaica-guide.com/the_four_species/

Basically, as I understand sephardim put one hadas to the right and one to the left, and the same for the aravot. However, the question is: Is each hadas placed above each aravah -- or is it the other way round, is each aravah placed on top of each hadas. (Of course the remaining hadas is placed on top of the lulav, slightly leaning towards the right).

If someone could please confirm the correct arrangement, it would be appreciated! If it makes any different, I am interested in the minhag according to the Ben Ish Chai.

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There are various Sephardic customs for how to arrange the arba minim. The Ben Ish Chai's halakhic works and responsa never explicitly refer to what he did. Nevertheless, the most common custom today among Sephardim is follow the Arizal, who was a primary influence on the Ben Ish Chai and many Sephardic authorities generally.

The custom of the Arizal is referenced in Magen Avraham (651:4):

הטעם ע"פ הקבל' [ד"מ מהרי"ו] עיין בלבוש ובכתבי האר"י כת' לאגוד ג' הדסים א' בימין הלולב וא' בשמאל וא' באמצע וב' ערבות א' בימין וא' בשמאל ושל"ה כת' בשם מט"מ ערבה בשמאל והדס בימין ולולב באמצע

The custom to raise the hadassim higher is according to our master R. Yaakov Weil. Also see the Levush and the writings of the Arizal, which state that one must bind the three hadassim so that one is to the right of the lulav, one to the left, and one in the middle. For the two aravot, one is to the right [of the lulav] and one to the left. The Shelah writes in the name of the Mateh Moshe that the aravah is to the left and the hadassah is to the right and the lulav is in the middle.

Ashkenazim generally follow the latter approach, where the hadassim are to the right and the aravot is to the left (Mishnah Berurah 651:12).

The Yalkut Yosef (651:10) follows the Magen Avraham in declaring it the Sephardic custom:

יתן ההדסים אחד מימין ואחד משמאל, ואחד באמצע על גבי השדרה, ונוטה יותר לצד ימין, והערבות אחת מכאן ואחת מכאן, ויקשור

One hadas is to the right and one to the left and one in the middle on the spine [of the lulav], and one aravah here and one there [left and right], and you bind them.

As noted, placing the hadassim at a higher level than the aravot is also a popular custom, particularly among Ashkenazim. The Rema (651:1) brings down R. Weil as the source (and Magen Avraham is commenting from there), and this is also a common custom among Sephardim.

  • Thanks Aryeh, however the main question I want to know is on each side, we have a hadas and aravah. But which is placed “on top” of each other. Is the hadas placed on top, i.e. I’ve heard this is to subdue the aravah -- or is it the other way round. As I noted in the referenced I gave, it seems to contradict each other, so I was not sure which is correct. When I say “on top” I don’t mean higher or lower. I know the prevalent custom is to have the hadas higher. But the question is, which is placed “on top” of each other, when binding it altogether. Thanks! – Larry Oct 8 '14 at 0:51

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