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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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This question is directly answer in :סוכה מו...

"ואמר רב זירא לא לימא איניש לינוקא דיהיבנא לך מידי ולא יהיב ליא משום דאתי לאגמוריה שיקרא שנא' למדו לשונם דבר שקר"

“And Rav Zeirah says: A man should not say to child that I will give you something and then not give it to him, as it will teach the child to lie, as it says; ‘They taught their tongues to speak lies’ (Yirmiya 9:4).”

HoRav Yaakov Ettlinger זצ״ל, in his famed opus the עורך לנר, asks a fundamental question on our גמרא. The גמרא reads that by telling a child you will give him something and then failing to do so, this teaches him to lie. But in reality it is the father who is doing the lying. So why does the גמרא not say that the father is transgressing the עשה of מדבר שקר תרחק? The עורך לנר answers that in our case the father is not in fact lying. The גמרא was talking in the context of taking לולבים. It instructs that a person should not give his לולב to his child on the first day of יום טוב because whilst the child has the power to be מקנה (acquire) the לולב he does not have the Halachic capacity to give it back. Should this happen, the father will be without his ארבע מינים for the rest of יום טוב. Says the עורך לנר; a father can still give the לולב to the child not as a מתנה, but temporarily, for חינוך purposes. The father is consequently not lying as his intention is not to fully hand over the לולב but rather to show his child what to do with it. However, when the child grows up and learns the הלכות he will see that he never really fulfilled the מצוה since he did not actually own the לולב. The עורך לנר writes: “ועל ידי זה מלמדו לדבר שקר במרמה” – “And through this he will learn to speak falsehood in deceit”. This means that whilst his father had good intentions, it nevertheless created a situation whereby the child feels deceived by his trusted teacher – his father. This being the case, he might come to learn that lying is justified, and this is why the גמרא had to specifically state that it will teach the child falsehood.

So taking this within the context of your question it is perhaps best practise to acquire at least a kosher set (doesn't have to be מהדרין מן המדרין) so when he becomes more familiar with the halochos he will be happy that it was done כדת וכדין.

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