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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Sharing an Esrog

In the 1700s there was a community that had only one Esrog[1] during Succos although they had many Lulavim. In a community that was 40 hours travel away there were no Esrogim at all. During Succos this community sent a messenger to the community with the Esrog pleading with them for the Esrog as they relied on them each year for the four species. They reasoned that since the other community already fulfilled the Biblical Mitzva, which is on the first day, and even days after that, they should now receive the Esrog so that the Mitzva shouldn’t be completely missed. This brought about a disagreement in the city as some said to send it whereas others said don’t. Since they were in doubt they didn’t send it. R’ Dovid Pardo[2] (1719-1792) was asked what should have been done.

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He replied that the Esrog should’ve been sent so that they shouldn’t be lacking the Mitzva completely.[3] He explained that the Mitzva of the four species after the first day is Rabbinical whereas Gemilus Chassadim is a stringent Biblical Mitzva.[4]

[1] The Chassam Sofer (in his Chidushim to Mesachta Succa 36a) writes that the many times an Esrog is used which causes spots (נימורים)…makes it הדר (beautiful) since it came about through a Mitzva that is its splendor and beauty.

[2] שו”ת מכתם לדוד, Orach Chaim, 6.

[3] The Chassam Sofer was asked the following: There was a person who had an extra Esrog and hung it in his Succa as a decoration. Then on Yom Tov someone from a village came where he couldn’t find an Esrog to buy. Is it Muktza or can this Esrog be given to this person so that he and his family can fulfill the Mitzva of the four species? The Chassam Sofer ruled that it is permitted to take this Esrog. Although on Yom Tov it is Muktza, on Chol Hamoed it is permitted as it is only forbidden on Chol Hamoed for benefit since it was designated for a Mitzva (שו”ת חתם סופר, Orach Chaim 184).

[4] See Baba Kamma 100a. Also Peah 1:1. אוצר פלאות התורה, Vayikra, pp. 1,085-6.

Author of Four Books including the recently released “Amazing Shabbos Insights”

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