Placing plants and trees in the Shul and in one’s home on Shavuos

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Placing plants and trees in the Shul and in one’s home:[1]

It is customary to spread plants[2] and stand trees[3] in Shul and in one’s house in honor of Shavuos. [However, some Poskim[4] abolished this custom due to it being simialr to the gentiles.[5] Other Poskim[6] defend its practice. Practically, while some are no longer accustomed to place plants and trees in the Shul or home for Shavuos, many are accustomed to do so[7], and each person is to follow the custom of his community.[8]]

Setting it up on Yom Tov:[9] It is permitted to spread the predesignated plants [in one’s home or shul] even on Yom Tov, even if the plants are not edible.[10]

Setting it up on Shabbos Erev Shavuos:[11] When Shavuos falls on Motzei Shabbos, one may not set up the plants on Shabbos.[12]

See Supplement at the end of Sefer for the detailed laws relating to plants and flowers on Shabbos and Yom Tov!


May one cut the branch of a fruit tree for decoration on Shavuos?[13]
It is forbidden to destroy a fruit bearing tree due to the Biblical prohibition of Baal Tashchis, as well as due to danger.[14] Accordingly, some Poskim[15] rule it is forbidden to break a branch off from a fruit bearing tree [without one of the above-mentioned justifiable reasons]. Other[16] Poskim however rule it is permitted to be done [in all cases].[17] Other Poskim[18] are lenient for the sake of a Mitzvah. Practically, one may be lenient for the sake of a Mitzvah through asking a gentile to cut it off.[19] [Thus, if one needs to cut branches for Sechach, ideally one should cut the branches of a non-fruit bearing tree. If this is not available, then he is to ask a gentile to cut the branches.]


[1] Admur 494/14-15

[2] Admur 494/14; Rama 494/3; Maharil Shavuos

The reason: Plants are spread in remembrance of the joy of Matan Torah. [Admur ibid; Rama ibid]

[3] Admur 494/15; M”A 494/5; Chok Yaakov 494/7; M”A 494/10

The reason: As on Shavuos the fruits of the trees are judged and we thus place them in Shul and in our homes in order to remember to pray for their good judgment. [494/15]

[4] Gr”a, brought in Chayeh Adam, M”B 494/10; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad

[5] The reason: It The Gr”a nullified the custom of doing so because of  the similarity it shares with the festivals of the Christians. [M”B ibid]

[6] Daas Torah 494 based on Yosef Daas Y.D. 348 and Rivash 158; Likkutei Maharich Minhagei Erev Shavuos

[7] Likkutei Maharich ibid that this custom has spread throughout all Jewry.

[8] Chabad custom: It is not the custom in 770 and many other Chabad Shuls to place trees and plants in the Shul. Nevertheless, in the Shul of the Rebbe’s father in Yakaterinoslav the custom was followed to place trees and plants [Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 293]

[9] Admur 494/14; M”A 494/5

[10] The reason: The plants are not considered Muktzah being they were designated before Yom Tov for the purpose of spreading them on Yom Tov. See 308/50! [Admur ibid]

[11] Admur 494/14; M”A 494/5; Maharil

[12] The reason: Although the plants are not Muktzah and hence may be moved nevertheless one may not spread them on Shabbos, as when one spreads them on Shabbos for the sake of Yom Tov he is preparing on Shabbos for Yom Tov, and it is forbidden to preapare anything from Shabbos to Yom Tov, even a matter that does not contain any nuance of a Melacha, as explained in 503/3 [and 455/11]. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid]

[13] See Darkei Teshuvah 116/51; Piskeiy Teshuvos 629/12

[14] Admur Shemiras Guf Venefesh Baal Tashchis Halacha 16-17; Bava Kama 91b-92a; Bava Basra 26a; Makos 22a; Pesachim 50b; Semak 229; Rambam Melachim 6/10; Taya of Rav Yehuda Hachassid 45 and Sefer Chassidim 53; Taz Y.D. 116/6; Beir Heiytiv 116/8; Pischeiy Teshuvah 116/6; Taz ibid writes that this law is omitted in Tur and Shulchan Aruch, however see Tur Y.D. 349-350; C.M. 383; See also Avodas Hagershoni Y.D. 116 and Shaves Yaakov 1/159 who question this assertion of Taz; See Shivim Temarim 53

[15] Beir Sheva, brought in Mishneh Lamelech Issurei Mizbeiach 7/3; Mahariy Besen 118; Beis Yitzchak 1/144

[16] Mishneh Lamelech Issurei Mizbeiach 7/3; Beis Yaakov 140, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 116/51; Sheilas Yaavetz 1/76

[17] The reaosb: As the prohibition only applies to destroying the entire tree. [ibid]

[18] Divrei Chaim Y.D. 2/59; Beis Yitzchak ibid; Dovev Meisharim 1/134; Har Tzevi 2/102

[19] Har Tzevi 2/101-102; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1/376; Piskeiy Teshuvos 629/12

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