In Leviticus 23; 40 Moses conveys the Torah’s commandment: “On the first day [of the Festival of Sukkot] you must take hold for yourself… Fruit of the Beautiful Tree…”

This in-depth mini-series focuses on portions of Masechet Sukkah that record teachings of our Sages about the Etrog. First focusing on deciphering the Torah’s deliberate use of enigmatic language and then highlighting other issues that crop up regarding ensuring the Kashruth of this organic Mitzvah item!

In these presentations the words of our Sages are richly illuminated by earlier manuscripts and layered commentaries of the medieval, classic, and modern era.


Having completed documentation of the biblical sources that identify the Etrog (Citron) as the Beautiful Fruit mentioned in the Torah, we moved on to clarifying the legal status of Unfit Etrogim — beginning with details that disqualify.

The first item was the status of an Etrog harvested from an Oracle Tree that was idolatrously worshipped, or the fruit hailing from a “Forbidden City” that has become corrupted by mass idolatrous rebellion.

Following the resolution of those issues, in this new Episode we move on to the Prohibited Produce known as Orla, the first three yields of fruit that are Biblically Blocked from use.

This similar, yet different form of contraband merits unique analysis, and the development of independent jurisprudence or legal logic to clarify the cause for disqualification.

Colloquially speaking; To Be, or Not to Be… is that a question of Consumption, or is the issue at hand linked to conceptual legalities of Ownership and Monetary Value?

Finally, will laws governing Sacred Cohanic Food, and Second Tithe Differentiation, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, play pivotal roles in our quest for comprehension?

This is the fifth segment of an ongoing Talmud Series on The Etrog.

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