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The Shulchan Aruch in siman 657 says that a child which knows how to shake the lulav properly, his father is obligated to buy a lulav for him (because of chinuch).

The Beur Halacha d"h keday lechancho bemitzvos states that it's obvious that arba minim you buy for your child must be kosher, just like they are for a gadol.

My question is: If my child did not yet reach the stage of chinuch for this mitzvah, may I buy pasul arba minim? What about non-arba minim, like buying a lemon for the esrog?

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    Why would you want to buy him anything? Have him give the money to his favorite charity if you want to spend it on teaching him good values. I'm sure he'll do just fine catching up on Lulav and Etrog later when he's old enough for Chazal to think it worth teaching him. – Double AA Oct 8 '14 at 8:30
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    A lemon is more fun then a bouncy-ball? I'm still not understanding your motivation for wanting to do this? – Double AA Oct 8 '14 at 8:48
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    Back when i was a little kid, before i got a real set, we had a "stuffed" set, made out of the same stuff as teddy bears. The lulav and etrog could be Velcroed together. – Scimonster Oct 8 '14 at 8:51
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    @DoubleAA He learnt about lulav and esrog in gan all week, his daddy and all the big boys have them, it's a major theme of succos... I think there is a certain cultural significance that will make this more meaningful/fun for him than a bouncy ball. – Gavriel Oct 8 '14 at 8:58
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    @DoubleAA I also think it would be more fun than a soccer ball, for that matter! – Gavriel Oct 8 '14 at 9:42
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The Ritva in Sukka 2b basing himself on the story regarding Helene Hamalkah that when children reach the age of Chinuch, the parents are obligated to provide real kosher mitzvos ie. Lulav and esrog.

The Gemara in Sukka:

אמר רבי יהודה מעשה בהילני המלכה בלוד שהיתה סוכתה גבוהה מעשרים אמה והיו זקנים נכנסין ויוצאין לשם ולא אמרו לה דבר אמרו לו משם ראייה אשה היתה ופטורה מן הסוכה אמר להן והלא שבעה בנים הוו לה ועוד כל מעשיה לא עשתה אלא על פי חכמים למה לי למיתני ועוד כל מעשיה לא עשתה אלא על פי חכמים הכי קאמר להו כי תאמרו בנים קטנים היו וקטנים פטורין מן הסוכה כיון דשבעה הוו אי אפשר דלא הוי בהו חד שאינו צריך לאמו וכי תימרו קטן שאינו צריך לאמו מדרבנן הוא דמיחייב ואיהי בדרבנן לא משגחה ת''ש ועוד כל מעשיה לא עשתה אלא ע''פ חכמים

The Ritva points out that by the fact that the Gemara tried to prove from the young children of Helene Hamalkah whom have reached the age of Chinuch that her Sukka was kosher implies that Helena Hamalkah and parents in general are obligated to provide their children with fully kosher mitzvos.

The obvious implication is that if her children were below that age than one could not assume that her Sukka was kosher. Thus we see that below the age of Chinuch a parent is not obligated to acquire kosher mitzvos for their children.

Rav Ovadia Yosef quotes this lehalacha:

ואף שהריטב''א בריש סוכה כתב, דקטן שמחנכים אותו למצות צריך לעשות לו המצוה בהכשר גמור כמו הגדול, ובעי' סוכה מעלייתא. י''ל שהחפצא של המצוה צריך שתהיה בהכשר גמור, אך א''צ לדקדק בפרטי המצוה במצות חינוך לקטן. וכמ''ש בביאה''ל (ס''ס תרנז). וראה בחזון עובדיה סוכות עמוד תג].

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If your child is truly below the age of chinuch, he can have a lemon. If your child is of chinuch age, he must use a kosher set, but his set does not need to have additional d'rabbannan stringencies. These chinuch sets are also ok for adults if there are no other sets to be had.

Source: I am a L & E vendor.

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    Were you trained as a vendor by someone with halachic authority? Otherwise I don't see why that is relevant. – Double AA Oct 8 '14 at 14:46
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    @DoubleAA, I think it's fine. You don't have to rely on Clint's claimed expertise for Pesak, but it is relevant enough to indicate that he's at least considered this and has some experience with it. I wouldn't trust Ben's Tallit Shop's proprietor to Pasken on my Tzitzis, but I'd at least accept his answer about what he says people actually do and what his shop recommends to customers (which would, presumably, include rabbis). – Seth J Oct 8 '14 at 17:00

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