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The torah commands us in Parshas Emor (Leviticus 23:40) “Vilakachtem Lachem Bayom Horishon …”— “and you shall take for yourself on the first day” ;

1) “Pri Eitz Haddar”a fruit of a beautiful tree   THE ESROG (citron)
2)“Kapos Temarim”date palm branches   THE LULAV (palm)
3)“Vianaf Eitz Avos”twigs of a plaited tree   THE HADDAS (myrtle)
4)“Viarvei Nachal”willows of the river   THE ARAVAH (willow)

To fulfill the commandment (the Mitzvah) we need all four species and not one can be missing. The Rabbis have interpreted the Mitzvah as follows:
One (1) Esrog
One (1) Lulav
Three (3) Haddassim (this is the minimum but many people add more to beautify the Mitzvah)
Two (2) Aravos

What to look for when selecting the Arbah Minim.
There is the Mitzvah (Torah commandment) and then there is Hiddur Mitzvah which in essence translates to not just purchasing any Kosher Esrog set to satisfy the bare minimum, but trying to purchase the most beautiful one.

What is beauty?
Beauty in a Etrog could mean many things; Cleanliness, bumps and ridges, no stains, no scratches, no holes etc.
The shape also plays a major roll in the Etrog, some look for a shape of a “Migdal” or tower, wider on the bottom and narrower on top – almost to a point. Others prefer the shape of a heart, wider on top and smaller on bottom (in the Midrash the Etrog is compared to the heart of a person).
Many Etrogim grow with a Pitum (a wood like growth on the top of the Etrog.) Most of the Yanover Etrogim(from Calabria, Italy) grow without it, as it dries up during the first few weeks of growth. The Esrog remains 100% kosher if it falls off while still growing on the tree, but if the Pitom falls off after the fruit has been cut from the tree it will make the Etrog unfit. Some Yanover Esrogim do have a Pitum, but they are more costly because of the rarity.
Most of the Esrogim from Israel do have a Pitum and the cost is generally the same for ones with or without.

Beauty in a Lulav, means that it should be green, fresh, straight and not bent. The middle leaf should be mostly closed (but don't worry – even if it opens up 1/3 of the way down, its still Kosher.)

Beauty in the Haddas (a myrtle twig) means that it has three leaves growing out of the stem on the same level and those leaves cover the entire wood of the stem. The minimum requirement is just three branches but some add extra branches.

Beauty in the Aravah (willows twig) means branches with a red stem, and leaves with smooth edges.

At GotEtrog.com we strive to be the number 1 source for all your Lulav and Etrog needs, we take care to do our best and satisfy our customers. Please let us know if you have any suggestions.