Abstracted from Guidelines, by Rabbi Yitzchok Jaeger and Rabbi Elozor Barclay
1. Must the arba minim be bound together?
- There is a mitzvah to bind together the lulav, hadassim, and aravos. In addition, there is a mitzvah to bind the lulav leaves to its spine.
2. How should the species be positioned?
- The lulav should be in the center with the spine facing the person, the hadassim on the right, and the aravos on the left.
- The spine of the lulav should extend at least 8cm beyond the tips of the hadassim.
- The tips of the hadassim should extend slightly beyond the tips of the aravos.
3. How should a left-handed person position them?
- In the same way.
4. With what should one bind the species?
- The custom is to use lulav leaves. One may remove a leaf from the bottom of his lulav, split it, and use it like string. Care should be taken to ensure that the lulav retains its minimum length.
5. How should the lulav itself be bound?
- The custom is to bind it in three places, corresponding to the three Avos. The highest knot must be at least 8cm below the top of the spine, to allow the leaves to rustle when the lulav is waved.
6. How should the other species be bound to the lulav?
- The widespread custom is to insert the hadassim and aravos into a braided lulav leaf holder, commonly called a koshikel. Care should be taken when inserting them that leaves do not break off. In addition, it is preferable to bind the three species together using a lulav leaf tied with a double knot. Some dispense with the koshikel and only bind the species together with lulav leaves. Note: According to most opinions, the three knots on the lulav itself are in addition to the above.
7. When should the arba minim be bound together?
- They must be bound before the first day of Succos, since it is forbidden to tie a double knot on Yom Tov. In Eretz Yisroel, when the first day of Succos is on Shabbos and the arba minim are not taken, they may be bound on motzai Shabbos.
8. Who should bind them together?
- Preferably, a Jewish man. If a woman, child, or gentile bound them, they should be untied and retied by a Jewish man, if possible. (See also question 7.)
9. What if the species were not bound before Yom Tov?
- The custom is to wrap a lulav leaf around the three species and tuck it in, without tying it. After Yom Tov, the leaf should be retied with a double knot.
10. May one detach a leaf from the lulav on Yom Tov?
- Some opinions permit this, but it is preferable to do so in an unusual way, e.g. using one’s teeth.