Ask The Rabbi

Myrtle Dealer

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Topic: Hadaasim

Ted Bucklin from California wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am a myrtle grower in California and I have been preparing Succot myrtle for a gentleman in New York for years, but I am still in the dark about the use of the myrtle stems we so meticulously prepare. I am also interested in exploring the marketplace to see if I can find other potential clients for this product. Could you please explain the significance of myrtle in the New Year celebration, how it is prepared and used, and could you possibly refer me to someone who knows the myrtle market or who might be interested in purchasing my product. Thank you very much.

Dear Ted Bucklin,

Myrtle is one of the "four species" of trees which Jews are commanded to pick up and hold during the Succot

tival. As the Torah says regarding Succot, "You shall take to yourselves...the fruit of an etrog tree, palm fronds, braided (myrtle) branches, and brook willows...." (Leviticus 23:40).

Myrtles are called "braided" because the leaves grow in sets of three with each set of leaves covering the set above it on the branch, giving the myrtle branch the appearance of a braided chain. The myrtle used for Succot has special requirements; for example it should be complete, and the three leaves of each set should grow from the same point along the stem. Agronomists in Israel have recently developed a method which produces myrtles of the highest standard.

For the expansion of your clientele, contact dealers in Jewish communities throughout the USA. You might do this by contacting official congregations listed in in the phone book.

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