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Oct 5, 2006

mehadrin lulavs and esrogs

Somebody showed me his lulav last night. He had bought a mehadrin set and paid the price of a mehudar set.

The lulav he showed was very nice. Nicely green, straight as an arrow, tight (some like it tight because it does not break as easily), and it looked like a clean tip.

Upon closer inspection the tip was slightly split. It was difficult to see and it had only been caught by the Rabbi he showed it to. While the lulav remains kosher, it is not considered mehudar.

This is the problem with the system of selling lulavs and esrogs. The guy selling the merchandise categorizes it as he wishes (note: pre-boxed items are categorized by the wholesaler) rather than by the actual quality of the item. The guy selling it might not (and is usually not) be an expert at evaluating whether the lulav/esrog is mehudar or not. Yet he sells the lulav as a mehudar lulav.

Now that the Rabbi has said the lulav is not mehudar you would think the buyer should be either given the difference (between mehudar and non-mehudar) in price back, or allowed to exchange it for one that is actually mehudar.

But that is not the case.

The way the system works is that the guarantee is only that the item is kosher, not mehudar. The lulav has to be declared passul (completely unfit for use) for the buyer to get his money back. Yet he still paid the mehudar price for a non-mehudar product.

What a scam.


  1. rafi - it's like cubs fans. as long as consumers continue to purchase from that vendor, that vendor has no reason/incentive to change their practice.

    If your friend stands in front of the shop and tells everyone he was ripped off, the guy might get him a new one to shut him up. Or if enough people got fed up. Otherwise, your friend is continuing the reason why that shmuck is in business, and continues to give honest vendors a bad rap.
    It's the people who refuse to take action that aid those that steal.

  2. Before I select my set I learn all of the halachos and then i closely inspect everything. I have a friend who sold them that reclassified them after he got them from the wholesaler because he said that the wholesaler does not look carefully. They have thousands of these that they go through and because of that it is impossible for them to be accurate with their separations. I am not sure where you got your information that experts select the different categories.

  3. shaya - that is the general policy. You will not find a seller acting otherwise, unless it is your personal friend. It is like collusion. That is the way it works here...

    frumwith - I said exactly that. They are not experts usually and are simply classifying it as they see it with their untrained eye and quick glance. You pay for mehudar but do not get mehudar...

  4. rafi - I understand that is how they work. my point is, people need to stop allowing the system to work like that. Various industries behave like that here. Over time, enough complaints get things changed. If everyone approaches it with your attitude, nothing ever will change!

  5. shaya - true but that is the way it has always been here...
    it might be reasonable to force change in the system when the businesses are open all year round and you can tell them you will not buy unless xyz. The lulav/esrog industry is open intensively 1 week a year and up to 3 weeks sort of. Plus you have to buy the product. You can't say no at the end of the day.
    I think that being the case it will be much harder to force change

  6. a: you can go to another vendor.

    b: standing up to him and getting just a little loud, using some key words, will cause most vendors to rethink their position, if only for that unsatisfied customer to shut him up so as not to have anyone else walk out.

    c: no, you do not HAVE to buy one. we all know the halacot and we all know what else you can do. Especially as the chiyuv is missed this year and the rest is kiyum!

  7. The only time in all of Shas we find the concept of doing something "L'mehadrin" is regarding chanukah candles.


    Kupot Cholim
    Chewing Gum
    Bus Services

    can all go to Hell.

  8. actually anon - WE are all probably going to hell for the way we make ourselves crazy over these things. We treat others poorly so we can do a better mitzva. How many elbows are used to push a yid out of the way to grab that "mehudar" lulav? etc....

  9. Nice new blog. Always interesting hearing the ways of inspecting the lulav.

  10. I think mehadrin, like "glatt" is like being a little pregnant. Something is either kosher or not. If it is kosher it cannot be more kosher or less kosher.


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