Daled Minim Purchasing Guide

The Lulav

The identity of the Lulav:

  • The canary palm: Use of the canary palm Lulav is under debate in the Poskim as to its validity and it is thus not to be used.
  • How to identify a canary: 1. The spine of the canary palm bends when held. 2. Its leaves grow closer together. 3. It has a very short spine.

Length:

  • Minimum length: The length of the spine of the Lulav must be four Tefach [32cm.]. If the Hadassim or Aravos are more than three Tefach, than the spine of the Lulav must be at least one Tefach higher than the Hadassim and Aravos.
  • How to measure the four Tefachim: The 32 cm is measured from the bottom of the spine [in the area that a pair of leaves begin to grow on each side] until the top of the spine. The top area of the spine where the spine splits into two leaves [i.e. the Tiyomus] is not considered part of the spine, and thus one must have 32cm of spine from below this area.
  • Is there a maximum length for the Lulav? No. Furthermore, some Poskim rule that that it is a Hiddur Mitzvah to have a long Lulav.]

Must the leaves be bound together:

  • It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to purchase a Lulav which its leaves have not separated at all from the spine and are thus completely bound. If the leaves began hardening and separating from the spine, it is valid so long as the leaves are still potentially able to be bound to the spine. If majority of the leaves have separated to the point that they have hardened and can no longer be joined to the spine of the Lulav, it is invalid.

 

A split leaf:

  • The leaves of the Lulav grow in a pair of two leaves which are parallel to each other. The two leaves are attached to each other by their back and open in their front. If majority of the leaves of the Lulav have separated in the majority of their length, the Lulav is invalid. If the majority of the leaves grew without being double paired on majority of their length, the Lulav is invalid. The same applies if majority of the leaves grew with separated pairs, it is invalid. [If, however, the leaves are double sided in majority of their length, the Lulav is valid.]

The law of the Tiyomus:

  • What is the Tiyomus? In Halacha, special attention is given to the Tiyomus of the Lulav, and the criteria it must fulfill for the Lulav to be Kosher. The term Tiyomus comes from the word “twins,” and refers to the back area of the leaf of a Lulav, where the leaves are attached as pairs, or twins. More specifically, the Poskim explain that the Tiyomus refers to the top center leaf, which is higher than all the other leaves, and extends from the spine of the Lulav. [If a Lulav has two middle leaves of equal height, some Poskim rule that both leaves have the status of a Tiyomus.] This leaf, being that it grows in the center of the Lulav and is the highest leaf, is considered the head of the Lulav. Therefore, special laws and criteria are given to this top center leaf. In this Halacha, we will discuss the law if the Tiyomus leaf split by its back, and separated from its pair.
  • The law if the leaf split entirely: If the Tiyomus grew without a double-sided leaf, the Lulav is invalid on the first day(s) of Sukkos even if all the other leaves are double sided. Likewise, if the Tiyomus grew double sided and afterwards split entirely from the top until the spine, it is invalid.
  • The law if the leaf partially split: Lechatchila, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to buy a Lulav whose double leafed Tiyomus is completely attached to each other (at their back) from its top to the point the other leaves begin shooting out from the spine. If this is not available, or it split after buying it, then the Lulav remains valid so long as the leaf is not completely separated from top to bottom [where the other leaves begin growing from it]. Furthermore, even if one has a friend who owns a Lulav with a complete Tiyomus, one is not required to use it on the first day of Sukkos and rather may use his Lulav that has a partially split Tiyomus.
  • Must the Tiyomus be double leafed throughout its entire length? It is implied from Admur that it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar for the Tiyomus to be entirely double leafed from the top of the Tiyomus until the area of the spine, and so rule some Rabbanim. However, others learn that it is not necessary for the Tiyomus to be entirely double leafed and so is the ruling of other Rabbanim.
  • What if the Tiyomus is split only at its tip as is common to occur? It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to purchase a Tiyomus that is completely closed, including its tip.
  • If the split of the Tiyomus is only noticeable after close examination is it initially invalid? Initially one is to purchase a Lulav that its Tiyomus is completely closed even after close examination. [However, it is not necessary to use a magnifying glass.]
  • Gluing a split Tiyomus leaf back together? Some Poskim rule it is valid to glue the Tiyomus together.
  • On Chol Hamoed: All the above discussion of invalidation, and initial practice, regarding a split Tiyomus, only applies on the first day(s) of Sukkos, when the Mitzvah of Lulav is Biblical. However, on Chol Hamoed, a Lulav which has a deficiency of not being complete, is valid. Accordingly, during Chol Hamoed, a Lulav which contains even a completely split Tiyomus, is Kosher.

A cut leaf:

  • Tiyomus: Lechatchila, if the Tiyomus leaf was even partially cut at its top, the Lulav should not be used. If, however, no other Lulav is available, then if its majority length is still intact, it may be used with a blessing. If majority of the Tiyomus has been cut, it is invalid according to all opinions. [Thus, one is to avoid buying a Lulav with a very pointy top as it is easily possible for this point to break and invalidate the Lulav for initial use.]
  • Remaining leaves: If the remaining leaves of a Lulav, other than the Tiyomus have been cut at their top, it remains Kosher.
  • What is the law if the cut of the Tiyomus is only noticeable after close examination? Some Poskim rule that a cut Tiyomus only invalidates a Lulav if its missing area is viewable and recognizable from a fair distance to all people. If, however, one must discern with his eye in order to notice it, then it is not an invalidating missing piece, and the Lulav remains Kosher. Other Poskim, however, rule the Lulav is initially invalid if any amount of the Tiyomus is missing, even if it is a very small amount that is not discernable at first glance, and requires contemplation to be noticed, and so is implied from the Poskim.
  • Many Lulavim grow a needle like wooden point at the top of the Tiyomus. If this area is cut off the Lulav remains Kosher, as this area is not considered part of the actual Lulav.

I. A dry Lulav:

  • A Lulav which majority of its leaves have withered, or majority of its spine has withered, to the point it has turned whitish, should not be used unless absolutely no other Lulav is available. If it has dried to the point it can be broken by touching it with one’s nail, it is Pasul according to all opinions.
  • What is the law if the Tiyomus has dried? Seemingly according to Admur the Lulav remains Kosher and Mehudar, however other Poskim rule that one should not use a Lulav with dry Tiyomus. A sunburned Tiyomus is not considered dry even according to those who are stringent.
  • What is the law if the dryness of the Lulav is only noticeable after close examination? Some Poskim rule that it is valid, as the invalidation of Hadar is only applicable if viewable at first sight.

J. A Lulav with wrinkles:

  • If the spine contains needles or if the Lulav is wrinkled it is invalid.

K. A bent Lulav/Kneplach: 

  • Spine is bent: If the spine of the Lulav is bent towards its front making it appear like a hunchback, it is not Kosher. Similarly, if it is bent to its side, it is invalid. If the middle of the spine is bent towards its back, meaning towards the side of the spine, it is Kosher. If the middle of the spine itself is straight while the top of the spine is bent like a Hegmon, the Lulav is invalid. This applies whether the Lulav is bent backwards or forwards.
  • Leaves are bent: If majority of the leaves of a Lulav are slightly bent or curved at their top, it may not be used unless there is no other Lulav available, in which case it may be used with a blessing. If only a minority of its leaves are curved, it may be used even Lechatchila. If [majority] of the actual leaves [not just the top] are very bent in a way that each leaf appears like two leaves, the Lulav is invalid according to all.
  • On Chol Hamoed: Even if majority of the leaves are bent or curved it is Kosher even
  • What is the law if only the Tiyomus is bent? From Admur it is implied that the Lulav remains Kosher according to all opinions if majority of the leaves are not bent, even if the Tiyomus is bent. However, some Poskim are stringent.
  • Kneplach-Rounded tips: Based on the above, the top leaves of the Lulav should not have rounded tips known as Kneplach.

Kura:

  • Some are particular to purchase a Lulav with the brownish leaf covering. Others are particular not to purchase such a Lulav. The Rebbe was particular to purchase a Lulav which its top leaves are attached with a brownish leaf called a Kara.

 

The Esrog:

An Esrog with a hole or missing piece:

  • Hole, but no missing piece: If there is a hole in the Esrog without any piece of the Esrog missing, such as a hole that was created by sticking a large needle into the Esrog, then if the hole does not reach the seed box, or go from side to side, and is smaller than an Issur, the Esrog remains even initially valid. If it reaches seed box, or goes side to side, or is size of an Issur then it is only valid with a blessing if no other Esrog available.
  • Missing piece-1st day of Yom Tov: An Esrog which is missing any part from its body, even the smallest amount, is Pasul. This applies even if the hole does not reach from one to the other and is not the size of an Issur. However, there are opinions who rule that even a hole with a missing piece is valid if it is not larger than an Issur and does not go from side to side. Practically, one may rely on this opinion if there is no other Esrog available, and one may use it with a blessing. If the missing piece is as large as the circumference of an Issur coin, it is Pasul according to all opinions.
  • How small of a missing piece invalidates an Esrog? Some Poskim rule that a missing piece only invalidates an Esrog if its missing area is viewable and recognizable from a fair distance to all people. If, however, one must discern with his eye in order to notice it, then it is not an invalidating missing piece, and the Esrog remains Kosher. Other Poskim, however, rule the Esrog is invalid if any amount is missing, even if it is a very small amount that is not discernable at first glance, and requires contemplation to be noticed, and so is implied from the Poskim.
  • Checking with a magnifying glass if a piece is missing: According to all opinions, a missing piece that is unnoticeable to the naked eye and can only be seen through a magnifying glass, does not invalidate the Esrog.
  • Doubt: If one is in doubt whether a piece is missing from the Esrog or if it is just an indentation, the Esrog is permitted [so long as the hole is not the size of an Issur and is not Mefulash from one side to the other, or to the seed box].
  • The missing piece has changed color: If a change of color, from its natural born color, occurred in the missing area of the Esrog, see Halacha F!
  • A piece missing from the outer membrane: The above invalidation only applies if there is a piece missing from the actual body [white thick peel] of the Esrog. If, however, the Esrog is only missing part of its thin outer membrane [i.e. skin/rind] and its inner white thick peel remains complete, the Esrog is Kosher. If, however, the entire outer peel is missing the Esrog is invalid.
  • If the missing outer membrane has caused a change in color which differs from the color of the rest of the Esrog, it receives the same Halachic status as a blister, and hence the Esrog is invalid unless the color change is not within the Chotem of the Esrog and is not majority of the Esrog and it is not within 2-3 areas of the Esrog.
  • If the green external peel of the Esrog has been removed, thus revealing the white underlying peel, but without removing any part of it, is the Esrog still valid? Some Poskim rule that although the Esrog is not considered to be missing any piece, [and is thus not invalid due to Chaser, as explained above], nevertheless, it is viewed as containing a color change, and follows all of its invalidating rules. Other Poskim rule that the white rind of the Esrog is a natural color, and is not defined as a color change.
  • Scars and scabs: A hole which was caused by a thorn while the Esrog was still on the tree, is Kosher even if a piece of the Esrog is missing as a result of the prick, if the entire area of the hole is covered by scar tissue. This applies even if there remains piece visibly missing from the Esrog, being that the missing area is fully covered by the scab. If, however, the scab is not fully covering over the hole, or there is no scab at all, and one can tell that there is a piece missing, the Esrog is invalid.
  • Yom Tov Sheiyni Shel Galuyos: On the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora, if an Esrog is missing a piece the size of an Issur coin one may use it if no other Esrog is available, but without a Bracha. If the hole is less than the size of an Issur, it may be used with a blessing if no other Esrog is available, as ruled regarding the first day.
  • On Chol Hamoed: On Chol Hamoed an Esrog is Kosher even if it is missing a piece, and even if the missing piece is much larger than an Issur coin, so long as the Esrog retains its minimum size.

Blisters:

  • An Esrog must look beautiful, otherwise known as Hadar. This is not just a subjective form of beauty, but a beauty that carries Halachic definition and invalidations. Due to the obligation of Hadar, an Esrog which contains blisters is potentially invalid, depending on the form of the blister, its size and its location on the Esrog.
  • What is a Chazazis? A Chazazis is a scab like protuberance made up of two small blisters. If it only has one blister, it is not considered a Chazazis and is valid even if the blister is on the Chotem.
  • Apparent at first sight: A Chazazis is only problematic if it is casually noticeable when held in one’s hand without deep concentration. One is not required to contemplate and search for blisters [and if he does not see it with a regular look then the Chazazis is valid even if it is on the Chotem].
  • The law on the First day of Sukkos: If there is any Halachically defined blisters in the top area of the Esrog, called the Chotem, then the Esrog is Pasul. The Chotem is defined as the area [on the upper half of the Esrog, towards the Pitam] from the point that it begins to slope inwards towards its top and becomes narrow and gradient. [See illustration below]
  • If there is a Chazazis below the Chotem, then if there is only one Chazazis, the Esrog remains Kosher so long as the Chazazis does not cover majority of the Esrog. If there are two or more Chazazis, then it is disputed as to whether the Esrog remains Kosher under certain circumstances, or is always invalid, and initially one should be stringent like the latter approach to not use such an Esrog even if the two blisters are near each other.  If, however, the two Chazazis are so close to each other that there is no room for another Chazazis to grow between them it is considered like one Chazazis. Likewise, if between the two Chazazisim there isn’t the natural color of the Esrog, it is all considered one Chazazis. In a time of need that no other Esrog can be found, one may use an Esrog that contains two blisters below the Chotem, if from the beginning of the first blister until the end of the second color change it only covers minority of the circumference of the Esrog’s width or length, such as if the two blisters are on the same side of the Esrog. If, however, it covers majority of the circumference of the Esrog’s width or length, such as if the two blisters are on different sides of the Esrog, then it is Pasul according to all opinions. 
  • Second day in Diaspora: On the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora, an Esrog with an invalid blister is disputed if it is invalid, just like on the first day, or retains the leniencies of Chol Hamoed [as explained next]. Practically, one is not to use such an Esrog, and if no other Esrog is available, and one cannot borrow an Esrog from another person, then one is to use it without a Bracha. 
  • On Chol Hamoed: The law on Chol Hamoed: During Chol Hamoed, an Esrog with an invalid blister is disputed if it is invalid, just like on the first day. Practically, one may not initially use an Esrog with an invalid blister even during Chol Hamoed, however if no other Esrog is available, then one may use such an Esrog [even with a Bracha].
  • Koshering an Esrog-Peeling off the blister: An Esrog that contains an invalidating blister may be validated/Koshered through peeling off the blister from the Esrog. This is permitted to be done even initially. This applies even if the Esrog contains many blisters. The following conditions, however, must be met for it to be considered Kosher through peeling off the blister: One is to peel off only the external thin green skin of the Esrog in a way that the white body of the Esrog does not become revealed, thus assuring that nothing is missing from the body of the Esrog. [If the white skin of the Esrog becomes revealed, then it is invalid due to Chaser and possibly also due to Menumar.] After the invalidating blister is peeled off, the color of the peeled area must be similar to the color of the rest of the Esrog for it to be Kosher.
  • May one peel off a blister on Yom Tov? It is forbidden to peel a blister, or any other matter, off the Esrog on Yom Tov.

Color Changes/spots:

  • An Esrog must look beautiful, otherwise known as Hadar. This is not just a subjective form of beauty, but a beauty that carries Halachic definition and invalidations. Due to the obligation of Hadar, an Esrog must be a single solid color and may not contain spots, and certainly shades, of other colors. This Halacha will discuss the details regarding color changes and spots found on an Esrog, what is its definition, and when does it invalidate.
  • The law on the First day of Sukkos: If there is any Halachically defined color change in the top area of the Esrog, called the Chotem, then the Esrog is Pasul. This applies even if the color change is a very small amount [i.e. a small black dot]. The Chotem is defined as the area [on the upper half of the Esrog, towards the Pitam] from the point that it begins to slope inwards towards its top and becomes narrow and gradient. [See illustration below]
  • If there is a color change below the Chotem, then if there is only a single color change [i.e. one black dot or one white dot], the Esrog remains Kosher so long as this color does not cover majority of the Esrog. If there are two or more color changes, then it is disputed as to whether it remains Kosher under certain circumstances, or is always invalid, and initially one should be stringent like the latter approach to not use such an Esrog even if the two color changes are near each other.  However, in a time of need that no other Esrog can be found, one may use an Esrog that contains two color changes below the Chotem, if from the beginning of the first color change until the end of the second color change it only covers minority of the circumference of the Esrog’s width or length, such as if the two spots are on the same side of the Esrog. If, however, it covers majority of the circumference of the Esrogs width or length, such as if the two spots are on different sides of the Esrog, then it is Pasul according to all opinions. 
  • The law on the second day in Diaspora: On the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora, an Esrog with an invalid color change is disputed if it is invalid, just like on the first day, or retains the leniencies of Chol Hamoed [as explained next]. Practically, one is not to use such an Esrog, and if no other Esrog is available, and one cannot borrow an Esrog from another person, then one is to use it without a Bracha.
  • The law on Chol Hamoed: During Chol Hamoed, an Esrog with an invalid color change is disputed if it is invalid, just like on the first day. Practically, one may not initially use an Esrog with an invalid color change even during Chol Hamoed, however if no other Esrog is available, then one may use such an Esrog [even with a Bracha].
  • The definition of a color change according to Halacha: Admur records various types of color changes:
    1. If a change of color occurred after the outer skin or rind of the Esrog was removed, the color change is viewed as potentially invalidating [depending on where it is found, or as to in how many places]. This applies even if the color change is to a valid color that is commonly found on an Esrog.
    2. A natural born color change in one area.
    3. Menumar: A natural born color change of two different colors in two areas, such as black and white colors or other colors which are not the normal color of the Esrog in two different areas of the Esrog.
    4. Keminumar: A natural born color change of the same color in two areas.
    5. A black Esrog.
  • List of problematic natural born colors: Black; White; Dark Red; Dark Brown; Dark Blue
  • List of valid natural born colors: Pink; Light Brown; Light Blue
  • Apparent at first sight: A color change of any type is only able to invalidate an Esrog if it is noticeable to majority of people at first site. Meaning, that it is noticeable to the eye when it is held in one’s hand [from a normal distance, at the first time] without needing to focus one’s sight on it until he sees it.
  • The law of color changes caused by thorns: The color change is only problematic if it occurred on its own with the growth of the Esrog. If, however, thorns punctured the Esrog and caused brown juice to come out and create red areas and indented areas within the Esrog, nevertheless it remains valid.
  • Blet Lach-Leaf marks: A Blet Lach [leaf mark] is not considered a color change or blister and is thus valid even if it protrudes above the skin of the Esrog.
  • What is the law if one’s Esrog became brownish due to it being used by many people? The Esrog remains valid, and on the contrary, this is its beauty when it becomes browned due to the Mitzvah.
  • Koshering an Esrog-Peeling off the color change: An Esrog that contains an invalidating color change may be validated/Koshered through peeling off the color from the Esrog. This is permitted to be done even initially. This applies even if the Esrog contains many areas of color changes. The following conditions, however, must be met for it to be considered Kosher through peeling off the color: One is to peel off only the external thin green skin of the Esrog in a way that the white body of the Esrog does not become revealed, thus assuring that nothing is missing from the body of the Esrog.  [If the white skin of the Esrog becomes revealed, then it is invalid due to Chaser and possibly also due to Menumar.] After the invalidating color is peeled off, the color of the peeled area must be similar to the color of the rest of the Esrog for it to be Kosher.
  • May one peel off a color change on Yom Tov? It is forbidden to peel a color change, or any other matter, off the Esrog on Yom Tov.
  • If the green external peel of the Esrog has been removed, thus revealing the white underlying peel, but without removing any part of it, is the Esrog still valid?
  • If the green external peel of the Esrog has been removed, thus revealing the white underlying peel, but without removing any part of it, is the Esrog still valid? Some Poskim rule that although the Esrog is not considered to be missing any piece, [and thus not invalid due to Chaser] it is viewed as containing a color change, and follows all of its invalidating rules. Other Poskim rule that the white rind of the Esrog is a natural color, and is not defined as a color change.

Shape:

  • An Esrog which does not have the general Esrog shape, (i.e. round Esrog), is Pasul.

Size:

  • An Esrog’s minimum size is a Kibeitza, which is approximately 56 grams.

Unripe-Green/black:

  • An Esrog which has not yet ripened to the point that part of it has begun to turn yellow is Pasul unless one is sure that the Esrog will reach this stage. The custom however is not to take such an Esrog even if certain that it will turn yellow, unless it has begun to turn yellow. [Ideally, however, the entire Esrog should look yellow. It is better to take a yellow Esrog with a Bletlach, than a green one which does not have Bletlach.]

Pitam:

  • Many Esrogim grow a wood stem protruding on their top called the Pitam or the dud. In many Esrogim, the Pitam begins to grow from within the inside of the Esrog. In others, it grows from its very top, on its outside. On the dud/Pitam grows a stem called the Shoshanta.
  • Esrogim that grow without a Pitam: Many Esrogim grow without either a Pitam or Shoshanta and are nevertheless valid being that this is their normal way of growth, as they are formed this way from the beginning of their creation. One can identify an Esrog that grew without a Pitam through witnessing a groove or indentation on the top area where the Pitam usually grows.
  • Pitam fell off: An Esrog which grew a Pitam and the Pitam fell off [such due to a blow and the like, as opposed to naturally while on the tree] then if any area of the Esrog’s top is now revealed due to this area falling off, it is Pasul. This applies even if only part of the width of the Pitam fell off and revealed the area of the Esrog under that part while the other part remained on the Esrog. If, however, only the top part of the Pitam became removed while the bottom part of the Pitam has remained, and completely covers the area of the Esrog that the Pitam grew on, then the Esrog is valid. However, there are opinions who invalidate an Esrog with a missing Shoshanta as it is not Hadar. Practically, although we do not rule like this stringent opinion, nevertheless, it is proper to suspect for their words, and hence an Esrog with a missing Shoshanta should not be purchased if an Esrog of similar quality and beauty can be found. If, however, the Esrog with the missing Shoshanta is more beautiful than the other Esrogim, one should purchase this Esrog, as the main opinion follows the first opinion.
  • On Chol Hamoed: During Chol Hamoed, an Esrog which was invalidated due to a fallen Pitam may be used [with a blessing] if absolutely no other Esrog is available.
  • Second day in Diaspora: On the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora, an Esrog which was invalidated due to a fallen Pitam, may be used if there is no other Esrog available. It is to be used without a Bracha.

Oketz/Stem:

  • The Oketz is the stem from which the Esrog grows from on the tree.
  • Fell off: If the Oketz was removed from the Esrog in a way that none of it remained on the Esrog, hence creating a grooved area, the Esrog is invalid. [Furthermore, even if only part of the Oketz fell off and revealed part of the groove, it is invalid.] However, if the stem has been cut in such a way that an entire sliver of it remains, and the groove of the Esrog is completely covered by this sliver, then the Esrog is valid. However, there are opinions who rule the Esrog is valid even if the entire Oketz was removed, as the Oketz is not part of the Esrog and hence cannot invalidate it due to a missing piece. Practically, although we do not rule like this lenient opinion, nevertheless, if no other Esrog is available one may rely on this opinion and use it. In such a case, one is allowed to use it with a blessing.
  • On Chol Hamoed: On Chol Hamoed one may use an Esrog even if its stem has completely fallen off.

Calabria:

  • There is a tradition handed from the Alter Rebbe to use specifically the Yanover Esrog for the Daled Minim for reasons known to him. It is called Yanover in reference to the region of growth in Italy. A possible reason for this tradition may be since Italy is referred to as the fat of the earth thus making its fruits have the most beauty.

  

Tithes-Using an Esrog from Eretz Yisrael:

  • An Esrog which is forbidden to be eaten is not Kosher. Therefore, one must be certain that an Esrog from Israel has had all its tithes removed and is not Arlah (fruits grown within first three years of the tree).
  • Esrogim from outside of Israel may be used even if they are from Arlah.

 

 

Summary of conditions needed to be met for a Kosher Esrog:

1.      No missing pieces.

2.      No Chazazis or color change by Chotem.

3.      No two Chazazis or two-color changes below Chotem.

4.      Was not cooked.

5.      Was not soaked in liquid for 24 hours.

6.      Had its tithes removed.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hadassim

Length:

  • The length of the Hadassim must be at least three Tefachim [24 cm.]
  • How much is three Tefachim? Some Poskim rule that every Tefach is 4 Agudlin and hence three Tefachim is 12 Agudlin [24cm.]. Other Poskim rule that each Tefach is 3.33 Agudlin and hence three Tefach is 10 Agudlin [20 cm]. Practically, we are stringent to follow the first opinion of 24 cm. However, in a time of need, one may be lenient to use Hadassim of 20 cm. If one already used such a Hadas and then found one with 24 cm. He should shake it without a blessing being that he has already fulfilled his obligation according to one opinion.
  • Is there a maximum length for the Hadas? No. The Hadassim may be as long as desired, although one must be careful that the Lulav spine always extends one Tefach above the Hadassim, and hence the longer the Hadas-the longer the Lulav must be.

Meshulash/Three Leaved:

  • The Torah states that the Hadas must be braided. This means that there are three leaves that extend from each area of the branch, and that these three leaves are symmetric to each other, meaning that they extend from the same horizontal line. If two leaves are symmetric but the third leaf grows higher or lower than the other two, it is not considered braided. This form of Hadas is called a Hadas Shoteh and is invalid for use throughout all seven days of Sukkos. It may not be used even in a time of need that no other Hadas is available, even if one desires to take it without a blessing.
  • How many leaves on the Hadas must be Meshulash? How many leaves on the Hadas must be Meshulash? Initially it is a Mitzvah to search for [i.e. purchase] a fully Meshulash Hadas. This means that the Hadas should be Meshulash with three symmetric leaves by every set of leaves for its entire Shiur of three Tefachim. Nevertheless, even if the Hadas is not entirely Meshulash, if it is Meshulash for majority of its length then it may even initially be used with a blessing. This means that if majority of the sets of three leaves coming out of the branch have their stems coming out from the same horizontal line throughout the Shiur of three Tefachim, then the Hadas is valid and one may even initially recite a blessing over it. [This validation applies even if the head/top leaves of the Hadas is not Meshulash.  If, however, majority of the Hadas is not Meshulash throughout its Shiur of three Tefach, the Hadas is invalid.]
  • Must majority of the Shiur be Meshulash or majority of the entire branch? Example: If the Hadas is seven Tefachim long and is majority/fully Meshulash within its Shiur of three Tefachim, but is not Meshulash for the remaining four Tefachim, what is the law? Some Poskim rule we follow majority of the Shiur of three Tefachim and the Hadas is thus valid. Other Poskim, however, leave this matter in question. According to Admur, the Hadas is Kosher as rules the former opinion.

Leaves missing:

  • If leaves fell off a Kosher Hadas, then as long as two leaves remain in majority of its sets within the Shiur of three Tefachim, it is Kosher. This applies even if the leaves of some of the sets have completely fallen off, [and even if the top leaves have fallen off], as long as there is still a majority of leaves in the majority of sets. If it does not contain two leaves in majority of its sets, it is invalid.
  • If majority of the leaves droop downwards some Poskim rule the Hadas is invalid.
  • If majority of the leaves are cut or broken to a few pieces, some Poskim rule the Hadas is invalid.

Top cut off:

  • If the top of the Hadas [its branch and its leaves] were cut off, some Poskim rule the Hadas nevertheless remains valid. Other Poskim rule the Hadas is invalid. Practically, one should be stringent to use another Hadas, if it is available. If another Hadas is not available, then one may use it with a blessing. If the top leaves alone have been cut off [or fell off] but its stem is still intact, it may be used even initially. [Nevertheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to use a Hadas which did not lose any of its top leaves.]

 

Dryness:

  • If the leaves of a Hadas have dried, the Hadas is invalid. If, however it is not Halachically considered dry, even though the leaves have withered, it still remains valid.
  • What is the definition of dry? If the leaves have dried to the point that they can be broken with one’s nail and they have lost all their greenness, becoming white, it is Pasul. If the leaves have not lost their greenness, even if they look very dry and can be broken with a nail, they are still Kosher. [If they are dry and white but cannot be broken with a fingernail, they are still valid.]
  • How many leaves must be dry to invalidate the Hadas? If the top leaves have remained completely fresh, then even if majority of the leaves have dried, they are still Kosher. However, if the top leaves have begun to whither and dry, even if they have not yet dried to the extent that invalidates them, some say it does not have the power to validate a Hadas whose majority of leaves are dry and hence the Hadas is invalid. Other opinions rule that even a withered top leaf validates a dry Hadas. Practically, one should only rely on such a Hadas from the second day of Sukkos and onwards. If majority of the leaves [including the top] have dried to the point they can be broken with one’s nail and have lost all their greenness, turning white, it is Pasul.
  • If only the top leaves are dry: If the top leaves of the Hadas have dried to the extent to make them Pasul, some opinions rule the Hadas nevertheless remains valid. Others rule it is invalid, even if the rest of the leaves have remained fresh. Practically one should be stringent to use another Hadas if it is available. If another Hadas is not available, then one may use it with a blessing.
  • On Chol Hamoed: Even if the top leaves have begun to dry, as long as they are not completely dry, the Hadas is Kosher even if majority of its other leaves have dried.
  • Second day of Diaspora: On the second day of Sukkos in the Diaspora if no other Hadas is available one may use a Hadas whose leaves have dried so long as its top is not completely dry. One is to use it without a Bracha.

Random leaves which grow wild on the Hadas:

  • Some Poskim rule that random leaves or branches which grow on the Hadas and interfere with its sets of Meshulash leaves, can possibly invalidate the Hadas and are to be plucked off. Other Poskim rule that there is no need to be particular to remove the random leaves, and that so is the custom. Practically, it is proper initially to be stringent to remove these leaves from before Yom Tov. The above dispute only applies to leaves that grow amongst the actual sets of the three Meshulash leaves. However, leaves/branches that sporadically grow between sets, according to all do not need to be removed.

The Aravos

Its length:

  • The length of the Aravos must be at least three Tefachim [24 cm.].
  • Is there a maximum length for the Aravah? No. The Aravos may be as long as desired, although one must be careful that the Lulav spine always extends one Tefach above the Aravos. [Thus, the longer the Aravah, the longer the Lulav must be. If the Aravah is too long and hence covers the top one Tefach area of the spine of the Lulav, then the Aravah is to be shortened from its bottom.]

Top Cut:

  • If the top of the Aravah was cut off, it is Pasul. This refers to that the actual wood branch of the Aravah became cut and not just its top leaf. Therefore, if the Aravos are very long, one must beware to cut it specifically on the bottom of the Aravah and not the top.
  • The Lavluv: If the upper Lavluv leaf was cut off, the Aravah nevertheless remains Kosher as the Lavluv is a mere leaf and only when the actual branch is cut is the Aravah invalidated. Nevertheless, some are accustomed to buy Aravos with a Lavluv, as the Lavluv proves that the top of the Aravah is still intact and has not been cut.
  • If the top of the Aravah is folded over is it Kosher? Yes.

Leaves fell off:

  • Bedieved-Letter of law: If majority of the Aravah leaves fell off. the Aravah is Pasul. One must be very careful regarding this matter, as it occurs that upon inserting the Aravos into the [binding of the] Lulav, and likewise upon shaking the Lulav, that leaves fall off. [It is thus advisable to check the Aravos daily to verify they still contain majority leaves. Likewise, it is advised to purchase a number of sets of Aravos on Erev Sukkos, which can be used in a case of need throughout Sukkos. When replacing the Aravos, one is not to stick the new Aravos into the knot of the Lulav, and rather one is to undo the knots and then place the new Aravos inside.]
  • If only minority of the leaves fell off, the Aravah is valid.
  • Lechatchila-Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar: It is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to take an Aravah which contains all its leaves. Thus, although a majority leaved Aravah is valid, as explained above, nevertheless, Lechatchila one is not to take such an Aravah if finding a fully leaved Aravah of which none of its leaves fell off, is easily attainable.
  • Must majority of the Shiur [i.e. 24 cm] still contain leaves or majority of the entire branch? Example: If the Aravah is seven Tefachim long and is majority/fully leaved within its Shiur of three Tefachim, but is not leaved for the remaining four Tefachim, what is the law? We follow majority of the Shiur of 24 centimeters and not majority of the branch.
  • If the Aravah was originally Kosher, and the leaves fell off as a result of the shaking, is the Aravah now invalid? The Aravah is invalid if majority of its leaves fell off as a result of the shaking. However, some Poskim suggest that the invalidation of an Aravah due to the falling of its leaves is only in the event that one did not yet fulfill the Mitzvah with it. If, however, one already fulfilled the Mitzvah of Daled Minim with this Aravah, such as on the 1st day of Sukkos, then it remains Kosher throughout Chol Hamoed even if the leaves fall off due to the shaking. Based on this suggestion, we can justify the custom of many to not bother to inspect the validity of the Aravos and its state of intact leaves throughout Chol Hamoed. Practically, one is to not rely on this approach, and is to perform a daily inspection of his Aravah prior to doing the Mitzvah to verify its Kashrus state.
  • Directives for Mivtzaim: Those fulfilling the great and holy Mitzvah, and directive of the Rebbe, to merit other Jews with the shaking of Daled Minim, must be very careful to periodically verify throughout the day that their Aravos remain intact with majority of leaves. This especially applies when people shake the Lulav in a very strong way. A number of sets of Aravos should be brought with the person so he can change the branches as deemed necessary.
  • If the leaves droop downwards: If majority of the leaves have become detached from their original place of growth and hence droop down, they are invalid, even though they still remain slightly attached to the actual stem.
  • Leaves have split: If majority of the leaves have split in two, in majority of their length, the Aravah is Pasul.

Dry Leaves:

  • If majority of the leaves have dried it is invalid.
  • Definition: The definition of dry is if the leaves have dried to the extent, they lost their coloring and have turned white. If they have not yet turned white, they are valid even if they are dried to the point they are withered [and can be broken with one’s fingernail].

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