By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
So what were Rav Elyashiv zatzal’s practices when it came to the Esrog? Pitom or no pitom? Moroccan or Chazon Ish? How many did he have? What happened to the Esrog after Sukkos?
- Rav Elyashiv was careful to take an Esrog with a Pitom. Regarding an esrog without a pitom, he held that it was almost impossible to determine at what stage of its growth it had lost its pitom. If it had lost it’s pitom before it reached one third of its volume then it is completely kosher – but this is a difficult determination to make. If it had lost its pitom after it had reached one third of its volume than it is considered a chaser – a missing esrog. This, however, is only true on the first day of the Yom Tov. On the second day and onward it is permitted to recite a blessing upon it.
- Rav Elyashiv, generally speaking, had three esrogim.
- In the earlier years, Rav Elyashiv received his esrogim each year from a Chazon Ish orchard from either Rav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz or lbc”l Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Later on, however, Rav Elyashiv purchased Moroccan esrogim, because they grew in the wild and were less likely to have been artificially grafted.
- Rav Elyashiv’s preference was toward a nicely grown esrog rather than a cleaner esrog.
- He was also very careful to avoid a green Esrog – even to the point of advising owners of green esrogim to recite a bracha on a different one.
- Rav Elyashiv was careful not to purchase an excessively large esrog so that in case one needs to hold it in one hand it would be possible to do so without risk of the esrog dropping.
- Rav Elyashiv held that, in terms of how close one must inspect the esrog, there is no need to look at it any closer than one holds the esrog when one actually fulfills the Mitzvah.
- Rav Elyashiv’s esrogim were given to near-term pregnant women, as there exists a segulah to bite on the esrog’s pitom during labor in order to have an easier delivery. Rav Elyashiv warned that this not be done on Hoshana Rabbah.
The majority of the information reported above came from Rav Binyomin Kirshner (Hanhagos Rabeinu) as reported to him from Rav Aryeh Elyashiv shlita, a grandson of Rav Elyashiv.