A brief history of the Kfar Chabad Calabrian Esrog

Did you know that Calabrian esrogim are also grown in Eretz Yisroel?

Since the mid 1950’s Calabrian esrogim have been grown in Eretz Yisroel with kedushas Eretz Yisroel thanks to a Gerrer chassid named Rabbi Nachman Elbaum, z”l.

As a child, Reb Nachman was blessed with a fiery love of Torah, learning under Harav Elchanan Wasserman Hy”d and successfully passing the entry test on 500 dapim of Gemara to enter Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. After the outbreak of World War II, Rabbi Nachman Elbaum was sent on an arduous journey to Eretz Yisroel as one of the Yaldei Tehran. Reb Nachman began to learn in Yeshivas Sfas Emes of Ger in Yerushalayim and later was one of the first ten talmidim of Yeshivas Ponovez.

Reb Nachman also carried out secret missions between the Beis Yisroel of Ger and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. R’ Nachman knew that Chabad chasidim had a custom to say a bracha on a Calabrian esrog. Among other reasons, Calabrian esrogim have the chazaka of being from trees that were not ‘murkavim’ (grafted). Reb Nachman therefore suggested to the Lubavitcher Rebbe that his father-in-law, who was a major esrog dealer, could import these esrogim to be grown in Eretz Yisroel on a large scale.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe not only encouraged Reb Nachman to do so, but also personally supervised the entire process. By the summer of 5716, Reb Nachman had arrived in Eretz Yisroel with about a hundred young, tender saplings. These saplings were eventually transplanted to Kfar Chabad with the Rebbe’s bracha.