Thursday, October 02, 2008

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Buying the 4 Species from Children

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Many people start shopping for their four species, the arba minim, for the Succos holiday, before Yom Kippur. Please note this halachic issue.

Be Careful when buying the Four Species (Arba Minim). Do not buy them from children for use on the first day of the holiday.

Each year in many Jewish religious neighborhoods young boys are on the streets trying to earn a few coins by selling willow branches or myrtle branches for the holidays. Adults often enjoy buying from them as a kindness to the children (and a way to save a few dollars or shekels versus the local Judaica store or Sukkot shop). However there is a severe legal problem when you do this.

Whereas according to the strict Torah law a minor can neither acquire nor transfer ownership of an item, by a rabbinical enactment they do legally acquire items. This rabbinical concession was enacted to (for instance) allow parents to send their young children to the store and for the shop keepers to be able to finalize the sale when giving the item to the minor.

The problem comes about on the first day of the Holiday of Succos when the mitzvah of taking the Four Species is from the Torah and not a rabbinical enactment as it is on the rest of the holiday. In order to fulfill this commandment one must own the Four Species when he shakes them. If you bought any of them from a child, that child was not legally capable of transferring his rabbinical ownership to you. This means that you will not be able to fulfill the mitzvah on the first day with those items.

The problem also comes about when on the first day you “give” your Four Species” to a minor to allow him to shake them. He will not be able to legally return them to you. This means that you will not be able to “give” them to others on the first day to allow them to carry out the commandment.

The primary mitzvah of the holiday of Succos is to be happy. When taking the Four Species this should be your intention. The Torah commands, “You shall take for yourselves on the first day (the Four Species) and you shall rejoice before Hashem …”[i] If we are to be strict with the smaller details of the holiday, then how much more so must we be strict with the primary commandment.

May Hashem bless you with the happiest holiday ever.

[i] Leviticus 23:40

1 comments:

josh waxman said...

check out my post on this topic.

http://parsha.blogspot.com/2008/10/may-one-buy-lulavesrog-from-minor.html

Kol Tuv,
Josh

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