Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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A Word for Succot

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

(Mishnah Succah 3.7) The minimum size for an estrog, Rabbi Meir says, is the size of a walnut. Rabbi Yehudah says, (the size) of an egg --- and the maximum size, for one to hold two (the esrog and lulav together) in one hand, in the words of Rabbi Yehudah. Rabbi Yossi says, even one (it takes) both hands (to hold) is valid.

(Baraita from Gemora Succah) Rabbi Yossi said, it happened that Rabbi Akiva entered synagogue with an estrog (so big he had to carry it) on his shoulder. Rabbi Yehudah said to him, is this proof (that a huge esrog is kosher)? They (the Sages) told him (told Rabbi Yossi), this lacks hadar (it's not pretty, and the Torah says to take a pri etz hadar, a beautiful tree fruit).

Whether a tiny esrog the size of a nut, or an egg, or a large esrog that takes two hands and a backpack to carry it, may you be blessed with a kosher and beautiful estrog this Succot.

(Sefer HaMinhagim of Lubavitch, Succos, gives an interesting kabbalistic custom) One only takes one esrog, one lulav, and two aravos (willow twigs) [that's straight halacha] - but more than 3 haddasim (myrtle twigs) may be taken. (as per the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 651)

(the words of the sefer say) I have heard of various individuals being instructed to take 4, 12, 13, or 26 haddasim (myrtle twigs), but NOT 9, 68, or 69. (custom cited per the sefer Kol Bo)

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