How to keep your Lulav and Etrog
Succot has arrived and you bought the perfect Lulav and Etrog set. But it’s just the beginning, since now you need your set to survive the whole holiday. Sounds easy? Well… when it comes to trips, sun, and children, you should reconsider this. Here are some tips sourced from the best experts in the world.
First of all let’s set our goal – we want our set fresh and Kosher for the whole holiday. During Succot the Four Species might get dry, become less attractive and sometimes even become “Pasul” (religiously unfit). They can also lose leaves, another way for the set to become “Pasul”. Let’s talk about each specie and explain how to keep it undamaged.
The Etrog doesn’t need to be refrigerated, so there is no point to put it in the refrigerator. Furthermore, it is recommended not to put it in the refrigerator, since it might be squashed by the other products (don’t forget that during holidays the refrigerator is over filled). It also may get frostbite from the refrigerator’s side wall.
You should keep the Etrog in a box, or special Etrog container, in a cool and dry place such as a closet. You should pad the box with sponge or cotton and make sure that you don’t shake the box. You must be even more careful when it comes to an Etrog with a Pitam, since a reckless move can break the Pitam and make the Etrog “Pasul”.
Rabbi Menachem Burshtain from the “Pua’a” institution says you can keep your Etrog fresh for next year (!) if you put it inside a bag and suck out the air with your mouth.
The Lulav, like the Etrog, needs only shade. When it comes to the Lulav, all you should be concerned about is the opening and closing of the plastic case, since a careless open\close of the case can cause damage to the Lulav. Make sure, as well, that you hold the case correctly so the Lulav’s point doesn’t slide to the top of the case.
It is recommended to keep the Hadas (myrtle) in its plastic bag or in a moist towel. In this way you can be sure it will stay fresh for the whole holiday. When you roll it in the towel, be careful and try not to tear off leaves. When you take the Hadas and Arava out of the Koishalach (holder), do it carefully and slowly otherwise the leaves may fall off.
Amongst the Arba’at Haminim, the Arava (willow) is the fastest to get dry. Sometimes, in two days, it is totally wrinkled and dry. This is why you may find youth selling new Aravot near the synagogue. But there is no need to spend money for this unnecessary purchase as with a simple act you can keep your Arava fresh for all Succot. You can put it in the moist towel with the Hadas, or inside a bucket full of water if it is really an emergency situation.