17 votes
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If the lulav and etrog are biblically mandated, how were people in cold climates able to obtain them before modern times?

It seems, according to this article, that people found a way. It would seem that as long as Jews stayed in the moderate climate on the shores of the Mediterranean, there was no difficulty obtaining ...
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13 votes
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How to grow your own aravos

After Sukkos is over (and you don't need them for mitzvah purposes anymore), collect your leftover aravah branches that you used for ד' מינים and הושענות. (You may also want to collect other's ...
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12 votes

Why is the wording of the beracha upon shaking the arba minim only on lulav?

The Gemara (Sukkah 37B) asks the same question: R. Jeremiah enquired of R. Zerika, Why in the blessing do we say only ‘To take the palm-branch’? — Because it towers above the others. Then why ...
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  • 7,343
11 votes

Which etrog is closest to the gemara's description of "the taste of the tree trunk and its fruit are alike"?

I had an opportunity for the first time today to see the inside of four common etrogim. I found it fascinating ... and surprising. Here's a Moroccan etrog Here's a Hazon Ish etrog (for more details, ...
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10 votes
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Gezerah D'Rabbah in the Beit Hamikdash?

An additional application is the prohibition to sprinkle purifying water on a tamei meis on Shabbos, even if that would allow him to offer his Korban Pesach. Pesachim 69a והזאה מאי טעמא לא דחיא שבת ...
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9 votes
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How do you maximize your aravot's period of freshness?

I've tried the paper towel/aluminum foil (my father's method) idea, keeping them in the fridge, and keeping them in water. One year I got a whole lot of them and experimented with around seven ...
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9 votes
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Who are the מאמ"ר and the כה"ח?

The Ma'amar Mordechai can be found here. The Kaf HaChayim can be found here.
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8 votes
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Eretz Yisrael Esrog (Ordang)

So it writes here the following about a Rov called Rabbi Eliezer Aliner, Libava, Latvia, (1904-1980): Rabbi Eliezer Aliner was born in the city Leipaja/Libava on the coast of the Baltic Sea. This ...
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7 votes
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Seventy Aravos on Succos

The reason for taking seventy aravot on Succot was to signify the additional seventy bulls which were sacrificed on the holiday (cf. Sukka 52b); such was the custom of the Sura Academy as attested to ...
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6 votes

Customs for waving arba minim three times in each direction

The Yerushalmi Sukka 15b halacha 8 seems to be the source for shaking three times : דף טו,ב פרק ג הלכה ח גמרא הא בהודו לא. להוציא אף באנא ה' הצליחה נא. רב חייה בר אשי בשם רב זה שהוא משכים לצאת ...
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6 votes

Giving a lulav on condition to return, but in a chain where the last person keeps it

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 658:5) rules explicitly that only if the last person returns the esrog is the first one (and all others) yotzei. Interesting sidebar: The Biur Halacha is in doubt whether ...
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6 votes

The Saba Kadisha's opinion on using a lemon for an esrog

In Orach Chaim 4 siman 123, Rav Moshe stronglly asserts that a lemon is not kosher for an esrog and says kol shekein a canary palm is not good for lulav. Later in the tshuva he quotes the Saba ...
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6 votes
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Waving the lulav during all first four verses of Psalm 118

It happens to be that I personally have never observed the custom you are describing. Nevertheless, I was able to find a source. The Beit Yosef (OC 651) cites that this practice was defended by Tosfot ...
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5 votes

How do you maximize your aravot's period of freshness?

I was just referred to "How to keep your aravos fresh throughout sukkos: The definitive guide for frustrated palm-frond wavers", an apparently anonymous document describing a series of nine ...
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5 votes
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What is the correct order of directions for shaking the lulav?

Qitzur Shulhhan 'Arukh, Yalqut Yosef (Orahh Hayim 651:45) states (my translation): אחר שבירך, ינענע הלולב ומיניו שלש פעמים לכל צד. ואף על פי שהוא עתיד לנענע בשעת ההלל, יעשה הנענועים גם עתה אחר הברכה, ...
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  • 7,343
5 votes

Can a court declare a minor's lulav ownerless? Has one?

It is indeed a problem to "give" the lulav to a minor for the reasons you have stated. Lending somebody a lulav does indeed mean that they have not performed the mitzvah as they must own it. However ...
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5 votes

Why do we wave the Lulav / etrog?

Waving the lulav represents our victorious emergence from the judgment of Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur. The following Midrash appears in Midrash Tanchuma on Parshat Emor # 18: ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון ...
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5 votes

Blessing for lulav and esrog

Sukkah 37b א"ל ר' ירמיה לר' זריקא מאי טעם לא מברכינן אלא על נטילת לולב הואיל וגבוה מכולן ולגבהיה לאתרוג ולבריך א"ל הואיל ובמינו גבוה מכולן Rabbi Yirmeya said to Rabbi Zerika: What is the reason ...
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5 votes
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Four Minim at the time of the Great Revolt

In the context of the other coins minted during the revolt and siege of the 1st century, it is not surprising that the depiction of the species is less photographic of "full sets" and more ...
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5 votes

Hadas fruit tastes like tree

Ritva (c. 1300 Spain) changes the girsa: the defining feature is not fruit tasting like wood, but rather the branches cover the wood. Rashash (19th century Lithuania): Read the word "anaf" ...
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4 votes
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What does having a Mehudar Etrog and Lulav mean over just having a kosher set?

There are a number of ways in which hidur is applied to esrog (and acc to the Magein Avraham other mitzvos like seffer torah and shofar as well), all of them enumerated in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim ...
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4 votes
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(How) Are these aravos kosher?

Small serations are kosher, large ones are not. See Halachipedia's entry on aravos.
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  • 42.8k
4 votes

According to the Rambam, how do you shake the lulav?

From his Laws of Lulav, chapter 7: ויוליך ויביא ויעלה ויוריד וינענע הלולב שלש פעמים בכל רוח ורוח. כיצד מוליך ומנענע ראש הלולב שלש פעמים ומביא ומנענע ראש הלולב שלש פעמים וכן בעליה וירידה and he should ...
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  • 73.5k
4 votes

A different Lulav set?

The OK website here talks about when Lulavim are hard to source. It writes: When No Kosher Lulav Is Available There were many times in our history that it was impossible to purchase a kosher lulav. ...
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  • 20.2k
3 votes
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What ages are you considered a minor

The age/status of minor calls forth a general rule but occasionally depends on the situation. The standard is that a boy is a minor before his 13th birthday, and a girl is a minor before her twelfth. ...
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  • 36.6k
3 votes

Can one wet the lulav-towel on yom tov?

Shmiras Shabbos Kehilkhasah discusses this in chapter 26 siff 27. After discussing the allowance to replace the lulav in its water as found in Shulchan Aruch O'ch siman 654 he says 'it is also muttar ...
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  • 32.3k
3 votes

Where to get etrogim in the US after Sukkot

I know what I state will seem "over simplified", but seriously, I would contact some shuls immediately after Yom Tov, esp. Hoshannah Rabbah morning, if you can. Most congregants leave their etrogim ...
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  • 68.9k
3 votes

Where on the date palm tree does the lulav come from?

Here is a picture (linked from here). There are several per tree. Picture http://hamafitzesrogim.com/media/igallery/u/n/untitled_event_-_10_1.jpg
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  • 31.3k
3 votes

Buying pasul arba minim or non-arba minim for your small child

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. ...
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