There is such a concept of something that is 'huktzah l'mitzvasa' (set aside for its mitzvah observance), I was wondering about the smelling of the esrog and how this rule would be applied to it?


1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch discusses this in הלכות לולב-סימן תרנג

הדס של מצוה אסור להריח בו אבל אתרוג של מצוה מותר להריח בו מן הדין אלא שלפי שנחלקו אם מברכים עליו אם לאו יש לא יש למנוע מלהריח בו:

One may not smell the Haddasim used for the mitzvah (I.e. from the Lulav bundle), however, one may smell the esrog used for the mitzvah by letter of the law, but in actuality one should avoid smelling it in due to the uncertainty of whether a blessing should be made on it.

The Mishna Berurah explains the prohibition concerning Haddasim לפי שעיקרו אינו אלא להריח בו ומזה הוקצה כל שבעה כמו בעצי סוכה, Haddasim are an item which only used for it's scent, and therefore (once it's usage has been set aside for mitzvah purpose) it is no longer allowed to be used for personal use, like we find by the wood used for a succah.

Whereas concerning an esrog he writes:

אבל אתרוג עיקרו עומד לאכילה ומזה לבד הוקצה ולא מלהריח אלא שנחלקו בברכה של הנותן ריח טוב בפירות די"א דכיון דלא עבידא לריחא מפני שהוא של מצוה אין לברך עליו.

However an esrog is mainly used for food, and from this alone is it huktza (set aside and not allowed to be used for personal use), but not from smelling it. However, since there is an argument if one can say the blessing 'He who gives good scent in fruits', being that it is not normally smelled as it is used for a mitzvah, one may not make a blessing on it.

This is the end of the translation.

So although the Shulchan Aruch rules like the opinion that one may smell an esrog, as it is not muktza for this purpose, he takes the other opinion which says it is muktza for into consideration, at least enough to make a safek bracha, which is why he suggests to avoid smelling it.

The Mishna Berurah ends off with pointing to the rule if one makes a stipulation: ועיין בב"י בשם הרשב"א לענין תנאי אם מהני בהדס ועיין בסימן תרס"ד ס"ט:

See the Beis Yosef in the name of the Rashba if a stipulation will help by Haddasim, brought in siman 664, siff 9.

It should be noted that this discussion is concerning the time of mitzvah usage of the esrog. Smelling it before and after is discussed in the Mishna Berurah there as well:

בעת נטילתו למצוה אבל קודם או אח"כ להריח בו לכו"ע יכול לברך וי"א דיש למנוע כל שבעת הימים ועיין לעיל בסימן רי"ו שם ביארנו כל פרטי הדין:

  • 2
    I don't think your English summaries are sufficiently precise...
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 16:56
  • Note too that saying a blessing on some other fruit first would alleviate the issue.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 16:57

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