Is This Esrog Kosher?


    Jerusalem- The unusual Esrog in the picture above is called a Buddha’s Hand Esrog or Fingered Esrog since it grows into finger-like sections, resembling those seen on representations of Buddha. The origin of this kind of Esrog is commonly traced back to the Far East, probably northeastern India or China, where most domesticated citrus fruits originate.

    This particular specimen was grown in a Jerusalem garden specializing in rare and unusual species.

    Is such an Esrog kosher? The generally accepted halachic ruling is that since we are not accustomed to using such Esrogim, they would not be kosher for our use, but Rabbi Abdallah Somekh, the teacher of the Ben Ish Chai, ruled in his responsa Zivchei Tzedek (no.37) that such an Esrog could be used on Sukkos, since such Esrogim were commonly grown in his area.

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    1. Now that the Succot holiday is approaching, I am reminded about an event which occurred about 12 years ago. There were reports from EY that there was a shortage of Lulavs and Esrogs. It sent everyone into a panic mode, and prices kept going up. Finally, the Israeli police investigated and found up that an Israeli and an Egyptian businessman, with access to plenty of Lulavs and Esrogs in Egypt, were artificially driving the price up, by conspiring to withhold the supply. When the Israeli was arrested, his defense was “Nu, business is business”. Now, I know where the term chutzpah comes from.


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