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From this M.Y. answer:

On the first two days of Sukkot, the mitzvah can be fulfilled only using one’s own Four Kinds. As such, if using someone else’s set, it needs to be given as “a present, conditional on its return.” You can then use the set—your set—and then you return it, as a gift, to its original owner.

For many years, the shul bought an arbah minim set to be used by all those who attended shul services on Succot. If the shul uses part of the membership dues to pay for the set, would this mean that every member is automatically an owner of the set, thus making the above procedure unnecessary? I.e., one person uses the set, and when he is finished, he can just pass it to the next person without any declaration?

Or is the shul the owner? If so, who "owns" it - the rabbi? If it is him, after he gives it to the 1st person, does he have to return it to the rabbi, or can he pass it to the next person, directly?

  • How would this help? It still wouldn't be your own set. The answer you reference says "each one must own all four (alone) at the time he takes them to make the bracha" – Double AA Sep 28 '16 at 16:43
  • he.wikisource.org/wiki/… – Double AA Sep 28 '16 at 16:44
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    @DoubleAA according to the Rama you cite in your comment, the "alone" you cite in your other comment can be qualified in a way that's relevant here: possibly, the minim can in fact be shared with implicit rather than explicit transfer of ownership. – msh210 Sep 28 '16 at 16:49
  • @msh210 Implicit understandings in groups are arbitrary. The group can also implicitly understand to only allow members whose last names start with H to use it. Is the OP asking about what implicit understandings are present in his community? How would we know? The only interesting question here AFAICT is what is the fundamental law. – Double AA Sep 28 '16 at 16:51
  • As far as your last question goes, the implications of the halacha seems to be that each owner can pass it to the next one on the same basis. In some shuls (when this was done), the gabbai (as the shaliach of the shul) had the authority to hand it to each person on this tnai. I recall when I was a child that the first method was used in the shul where I grew up. I have not seen it done since at least when I was married almost 50 years ago as I have not been in a shul where individuals were not able to get their own. At the most, a father will get one set for all of his children. – sabbahillel Sep 28 '16 at 17:01
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My understanding from how my rav explained this scenario, after asking him this morning:

The verse regarding taking the 4 species (Vayikra - will edit in, later) says, ולקחתם לכם - "You shall take for yourselves". This implies that each person must individually acquire it and own it individually. There is no such thing as partial or co-operative ownership.

Thus, when a shul purchases the 4 species, it is purchased for ritual use by the rabbi, and thus, the rabbi owns it and is in charge of this set. It is for his use while he is in the shul. The understanding is that the rabbi will allow congregants to use his shul set. To do this, the rabbi transfers ownership by giving it to a congregant as a present, as described in the above procedure.

Since that first person owns it, he may transfer it directly to another congregant as a present, again, as described. This can continue indefinitely. The last person transfers it back to the rabbi as a gift.

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