An Esrog For Your Wife?

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An Esrog For Your Wife?

Rav Shalom Eisen, z’tl was a dayan and moreh tzedek in Yerushalayim more than fifty years ago.  He was also known as an expert in the kashrus and hiddurim of esrogim and lulavim.  As each Succos approached, hundreds of people would appear at his house to show him the arba minim which they purchased.

One year, an avreich approached him with a beautiful esrog, mehudar in all its aspects, to receive R’ Eisen’s approval.  R’ Eisen examined it and then shook his head and said, “This esrog is not for you.”  The avreich was astounded.  He had delved into the halachos of the arba minim, and had spent a considerable amount of time purchasing such a mehudar esrog.  Why was Rav Eisen telling him that this esrog was not for him?

He asked Rav Eisen, “Is there an halachic problem with this esrog?

Instead of answering him, Rav Shalom asked him a question, “What do you do?”

The avreich answered, “I learn in a kollel here in Yerushalayim.”

“How much do you get paid?”

The avreich answered him, and told him the exact amount of money he received from his kollel.

“And how much are they asking for this esrog?” inquired Rav Shalom.

The avreich answered that they were asking a considerable amount of money.

Rav Eisen said, “This is what I thought from the beginning. You are right; the esrog itself is mehudar.  But if you listen to me, I would advise you to purchase a cheaper esrog, and with the remaining money, purchase something for your wife likvod Yom Tov.  This is true kavod Yom Tov.”    (Chayim Sheyash Bahem)

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  1. What my wife likes for Yom Tov is her own esrog [and the other 3 minims]

  2. What my wife likes for Yom Tov is her own esrog [and the other 3 minims]

  3. micha says:

    That misses my point. Not that any major conversation threat will grow
    on the blog out of your comment. It’s Aspaqlaria. But I quoted it to make the mussar point about the relative values of doing chassadim for one’s wife and having an esrog mehuderet (mehudar?).

    There is a chiyuv to buy your wife something to wear for YT. However, there is a parallel chiyuv for men to have meat. And that has a zeikher lishlamim on top of it, and there are those who bend that chiyuv if the man would feel more simchas Yom Tov without all those meat meals. I would be surprised if a similar amendment for “wearing” 4 minim couldn’t be pulled off.

  4. Jon Baker says:

    It misses the point, and yet it doesn’t. In that, it’s directly on point. Why should my desire for a fancy esrog (not that I really have one personally) override my wife’s desire for an esrog so she can do the mitzva as well. I could get a $70 esrog, or two $35 ones as I did, she could still say the bracha over mine, but it wouldn’t be what she wants.

    Debbie isn’t so much into clothes-buying, she happens to like this mitzva, so we get the extra set for her. So she gets something nice. Must it be clothing? as in, if one doesn’t like meat all that much, is simchas yom tov served by forcing down a slice of brisket?

  5. micha says:

    Isn’t that second paragraph EXACTLY what I addressed in my second paragraph?

  6. Jon Baker says:

    I didn’t get what you were saying about “wearing” 4 minim.

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