The Laws of the Four Species

by Rabbi Mordechai Becher
(Lulav and Esrog)
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Arava Haddas Lulav Etrog
Species Willow Myrtle Date-palm Citron
Number 2 3
(Sefardim may add more)
1 1
Minimum size 3 tefachim

30 cm,
11.8 inches

3 tefachim

30 cm,
11.8 inches

4 tefachim

40 cm (spine)
15.8 inches

1 beitzah

100 gram
3.5 oz

If unavailable 24.5 cm
9.7 inches
24.5 cm
9.7 inches
32.7 cm (spine)
12.9 inches
57.6 gram
2.1 oz
Characteristics Elongated, smooth-edged leaves Leaves cover branch. 3 leaves sprout from same place on branch. Long double leaves, covering spine, extending beyond spine Elongated shape, skin not smooth, indented stem
Color Green leaves, reddish stalk. O.K. if still green Green leaves, green stalk Green or greenish yellow Yellow or light green
General disqualifications Stolen. Borrowed (on first day).
Dried out.
Prohibited - e.g., from temple of idol worship.
Same as previous column. Same as previous column. Some lenient in times of great need. Same as previous column. Dried out.
Specific disqualifications Top cut off.
Majority of leaves missing.
Dried out. Leaves round, "serated" edges, stalk never red - indicate wrong species.
Top cut off (if nothing else available, O.K.).
Leaves don't grow in groups of 3 (if nothing else available, O.K.).
Dried out leaves.
Split top leaf.
Leaves spread out, hardened or hanging down.
Dried out leaves or spine.
Top cut off.
Curving to the side.
Top of spine, bent down.
Missing substance. Holes - where some of the peel is missing.
"Pitom" missing (except where it grew without).
Dark spots on upper sloping part of etrog.
Dry spots on upper slope.
Stem missing.
Spherical shape.

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