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01 Aug '23

Mystical meaning behinde the four species

Posted by shmuel haskelewitch in Etrog, Lulav, sukkos, sukkot
Sukkot is a joyous festival that celebrates the harvest and commemorates G-d protection of the Israelites during the 40 years that they spent wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt. One of the most significant customs of Sukkot is the waving of the four species: the lulav (palm branch), the etrog (citron), the hadas (myrtle), and the aravah (willow). These four species are held together and waved in all six directions during the Hallel prayer on each of the seven days of Sukkot.
The four species represent different parts of the body, and each has its own symbolic meaning. According to Jewish mysticism, the four species are also said to represent different spiritual qualities, and each is associated with one of the four letters of God's holy name: Yud, Hei, Vav, and Hei.
The etrog, which is often considered the most important of the four species, represents the heart. Its shape is said to resemble the human heart, and it is associated with the emotion of joy. The four species are also said to represent the unity of the Jewish people, as it is made up of different types that come together.
The lulav, which is made up of a palm branch, represents the spine. It is associated with the trait of kindness, and symbolizes the righteousness and uprightness of the Jewish people. The hadas, or myrtle, represents the eyes. It is associated with the trait of knowledge, and symbolizes the importance of learning and understanding. The aravah, or willow, represents the lips. It is associated with the trait of humility, and symbolizes the importance of speaking with humility and kindness.
When the four species are brought together and waved, they symbolize the unity of the Jewish people, and the different spiritual qualities that each individual brings to the community. By waving the four species in all directions, we remind ourselves that God's presence is everywhere, and that we should strive to bring holiness and joy into all aspects of our lives.
In addition to their spiritual significance, the four species are also a symbol of nature and the harvest, reminding us to be grateful for the bounty of the earth and to appreciate the beauty of God's creation. The mitzvah of the four species is a tangible reminder of the blessings that surround us, and a call to celebrate life with joy and gratitude.
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.