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20 Apr '23

The Tradition of Using an Etrog from Calabria, Italy for Sukkot

Posted by shmuel haskelewitch in calabria, etrog, sukkos, sukkot
Sukkot is a joyous holiday that celebrates the harvest season and the bounty of the earth. One of the most important symbols of Sukkot is the etrog, a citrus fruit that is used along with the lulav, myrtle, and willow branches in the holiday's rituals. While most etrogim are grown in Israel, there is a longstanding tradition among some communities to use an etrog from Calabria, Italy for Sukkot.
The tradition of using an etrog from Calabria dates back millennia, to a time when the Israelites were in the desert and Moses sent messengers to Calabria to bring back etrogim. Later, when it was under the rule of the Kingdom of Naples. Jewish communities in Calabria began growing etrogim for their own use, and the tradition spread to other communities throughout Italy and Europe. The Calabrian etrogim were highly valued for their unique shape, fragrance, and taste, and became a symbol of Jewish identity and pride.
Over time, the tradition of using a Calabrian etrog for Sukkot spread to other parts of the world, including North Africa and the Middle East. Today, many Jews around the world continue to use a Calabrian etrog for Sukkot, both for its historical significance and its distinct qualities.
The Calabrian etrogim are known for their elongated shape and pronounced tip, which is said to resemble a "crown" or "coronet." The etrogim from Calabria are also known for their powerful and distinctive fragrance, which is believed to symbolize the sweet aroma of the Garden of Eden. The sweet and mild taste of the Calabrian etrogim is also highly prized, and they are often used in traditional Jewish dishes and culinary preparations.
At EasyEtrog, we are proud to offer a selection of high-quality etrogim from Calabria, Italy, grown under strict supervision to ensure that they meet the highest standards of kashrut and beauty. We believe that the tradition of using a Calabrian etrog for Sukkot is an important part of Jewish heritage and identity, and we are committed to helping our customers celebrate this joyous holiday in the most meaningful and beautiful way possible.
08 Jun '22

Is an Etrog without a Pitam Kosher?

Posted by shmuly haskel in Etrog, Lulav, Pitam

This is a question we get every now and then.

Typically, a customer will contact us asking if his Etrog is still Kosher after the Pitam on his Etrog has fallen off accidentally.

Before I get to the answer, if this happens to you please contact us immediately so that we can get you a replacement as soon as possible.

What is a Pitam?
At the top of the growing Etrog there is a "Pitam". (see Picture)

In Shulchan Aruch, there are various opinions regarding a Pitam that has fallen from the Etrog.

In the case where an Etrog from which the entire "Pitam" was taken and a dimple was formed in it, this makes the Etrog invalid. Since an Etrog should not be missing a part of it.

If however the "Pitam" is cut exactly at the top of the Etrog and no dimple is formed in it, the Rama's opinion is that it is Kosher, but other Halachic authorities are of the opinion that it should not be used, and in fact on the first day of Sukkot one should try not use it and seek another Etrog.

In the case where only part of the Pitam is broken and a little wood remains above the Etrog, the Mogen Avrohom is of the opinion that one can use it, but in fact, it is good to splurge and take another Etrog.

All of the above is in regards to an Etrog that in the way of their creation and the form of their growth they had a Pitam, and only after they were picked from the tree did the Pitam fall off. But many Etrogs do not have a Pitam and grow without one at all while picking them, as the Pitam falls off the Etrog while it is still on a tree, and these Etrogs are considered Kosher and beautiful. In fact many Etrogs that grow in Calabria have their Pitam fall off while still on the tree.

In summary, if the Pitam had fallen off before the Etrog was picked from the tree the Etrog is Kosher however if the Pitam has fallen after it had been picked it may render the Etrog non Kosher.