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Follow up to minhag for throwing hoshanot on top of the aron:

I've noticed that nearly all the shuls that have the hoshanot on top of the aron keep them there until Erev Pesach, and then they burn it with the chametz.

Is this a halacha or a minhag, or neither (e.g. "laziness"?) Does it need to stay there until that time and must it specifically be burned with the chametz or can one just dispose of it at any time after Hoshanah Rabbah?

  • I've seen shuls where they get rid of them before pesach. I don't know what they do with them, though. – Ploni Mar 11 '18 at 18:23
  • @Ploni compost heap, maybe? I have heard of some people who "recycle" them to grow new arovot the following year. I guess they "sprout"? – DanF Mar 11 '18 at 18:26
  • They do grow, and it's cheaper than buying new ones every year. But you need a LOT of water, so it only works out if you live in somewhere like a river basin. But then you have to be careful not to plant them too close to your house, otherwise the roots will start pulling the foundations. – Ploni Mar 11 '18 at 18:42
  • There is an inyon to burn with the Chometz since it did one mitzva, you should do another mitzva with it – user218076 Mar 11 '18 at 18:51
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    @user218 so why not use it to burn Challah or cook food for Shabbat? – Double AA Mar 11 '18 at 19:33
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The Nitei Gavriel perek 79:7 writes, that there are those that throw the aravot onto the aron kodesh. On the next line, he writes:

וטוב להצניעם עד עת אפיית המצות כדי להשליכם בתוך האש שאופין מצות, הואיל ואיתעב בה, חדה מצוה ליתעביד בה מצוה אחרת.

"And it's good to hide them until matza backing time, in order to throw them into the fire, being that one mitzva was done with them, it's good to do another one using them."

I understand the above in the following way. "וטוב - it's good", meaning that it's not a must, but a good thing to do.

The next word is "להצניעם - to hide them" meaning that even though they were thrown onto the Aron, they should now be put away in a different place until pesach.

As for the opinion of burning them with the cometz, The Mishnah Berurah (445.7) writes that if you have the Hoshanos, it's good to burn them on Erev Pesach with the chometz, being that one mitzvah was done with them, therefore one should also perform the mitzva of destroying the chometz using them.

אם יש לו הושענות טוב לשרוף החמץ בהושענות הואיל ואיתעביד בו מצוה חדא ליתעביד בו גם מצות תשביתו


In conclusion:

Is this a halacha or a minhag, or neither (e.g. "laziness"?) Does it need to stay there until that time

It's a minhag to burn them, but they don't have to stay up there until pesach, rather, you can put them away in a different place.

must it specifically be burned with the chametz or can one just dispose of it at any time after Hoshanah Rabbah?

The nitei gavriel says in 79:6 that one should not place the aravot in a place where people might walk on it, or in the garage.

So it definitely has to be disposed of in an orderly fashion, and so burning it with chametz or baking matza with them seems like the best option.

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This is a minhag based on tashbisu (destruction).

The Mishna Berurah writes that it is a good practice to burn one’s Chometz together with the Hoshanos from Sukkos--since one Mitzvah was done with it, a second Mitzvah of Tashbisu should be performed with it as well. The Rema brings a different Minhag--to bake Matzos with the Hoshanos (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 445, Mishna Berurah seif katan 7, Dirshu Note 10).

Mishnah Berurah 445:7

אם יש לו הושענות טוב לשרוף החמץ בהושענות הואיל ואיתעביד בו מצוה חדא ליתעביד בו גם מצות תשביתו:

  • Curious ... תשביתו means "destroy"? I thought it means "to rest". – DanF Mar 12 '18 at 15:00
  • @DanF how would you translate the following אַךְ בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן תַּשְׁבִּיתו שְּׂאֹר מִבָּתֵּיכֶם כִּי כָּל אֹכֵל חָמֵץ וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל מִיּוֹם הָרִאשֹׁן עַד יוֹם הַשְּׁבִעִי – aBochur Mar 13 '18 at 5:51
  • The Mitzvah Of Destroying Chametz mitzvah of tashbisu (to remove and destroy the chametz from one’s possession) @DanF – sabbahillel Mar 13 '18 at 9:05
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In addition to sabbahillel's fine answer, I'd like to add something:

The Gemara (Shabbos 117b) brings a story of Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi Assi:

:רבי אמי ורבי אסי כי מיקלע להו ריפתא דעירובא שרו עליויה אמרי הואיל ואיתעביד בה חדא מצוה ליתעביד בה מצוה אחרינא

Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi Assi, when they came across the bread of an eiruv, they said a blessing over it. They said, "Since it was used for one mitzvah, it should be used for another mitzvah."

The Rema writes (664:9):

ונהגו להצניע ההושענות לאפיית מצות, כדי לעשות בה מצוה

And it is customary to put away the hoshanos for the baking of the matzah, in order to do a mitzvah with it.

The reason that the hoshanos are put away until being used in the fire to either burn the chomeitz or bake the matzos for Pesach is since they were used for one mitzvah, they should be used for another mitzvah.

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