04. The Status of the Four Species After the Festival

As we have seen (5:8 above), during the festival the four species are set aside (muktzeh) for mitzva purposes and may not be used for any other purpose. Therefore, even after one has taken the lulav on Hoshana Rabba and is finished with the mitzva until next Sukkot, he may not eat the etrog or smell the hadasim (unless he had made a condition before the festival). With the completion of Hoshana Rabba, they are released from the prohibition, and they may be smelled or eaten (Tosafot, Sukka 10b, s.v. “ad”; BHL 665:1, s.v. “etrog”). In fact, if one has no further use for the four species after fulfilling the mitzva on the final day of Sukkot, he may leave them in the yard or anywhere that people leave grass clippings or yard trim. Since they are considered tashmishei mitzva (objects used in a mitzva), they need not be buried (as do tashmishei kedusha – objects with intrinsic sanctity, like a Torah scroll, tefilin, or mezuza). Nevertheless, they should not be thrown in the garbage or left where they will be trampled. Since they were used to perform a mitzva, they may not be treated disrespectfully (SA 664:8).

As for the aravot that were beaten on Hoshana Rabba, some have a custom to leave them atop the ark. Perhaps this was to ensure that they are not thrown on the ground outside of the synagogue where they would be trampled. Ultimately, however, it is preferable to protect the dignity of the ark and not leave the aravot there. Instead, they should be left on the side of the yard or wherever yard trim is left. Some set aside the aravot until Erev Pesaḥ, at which point they burn them together with the ḥametz or use them to fuel the oven for baking matzot (Rema 664:9). Some keep the aravot in their house or yard as a protective charm.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman