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Tuesday
Oct152019

Why Not an Esrog from Israel?

An answer of the Rebbe (written in 5730) to someone who asked why it is the Chabad custom to use Esrogim from Calabria and not from Eretz Yisrael, which would support the Yishuv in Israel?

The Rebbe responded:

הטעם – ובקיצור עכ”פ [=על כל פנים]: ממש אותו הטעם שממשלת ישראל משלמת במטבע זר (המוכרח על אתר) ובסכומים מבהילים ומשתדלת בכל האמצעים שיקבלו הכסף ממנה – לקניית נשק בארצה”ב [=בארצות הברית] ובאשכנז [=גרמניה] וכו’, ואינה מסתפקת בהרובים וכיו”ב שהיא מייצרת בארץ ישראל עצמה. ואין פוצה פה ומצפצף. ואדרבה. והטעם כי כשרוצים להגן על עם ישראל – צ”ל [=צריך להיות] נשק ומצות כדבעי. וא”א [ואי אפשר] להחליף פענטאם – ולהבדיל, אתרגום שיש בו מסורת אבות – ב”עוזי” ולהבדיל אתרוג בלי מסורה. והרוצה להחליף כו’ וד”ל.

כנראה לא מסרו הסיום (במענה לא’): יתירה מהנ”ל: בכל צבא ישנן כמה מחלקות וסוגים: רגלי, אלה ברכב ואלה גו’, ולכאו”א [=ולכל אחד ואחד] נשק המיוחד לו ורק בנשק המיוחד לו יצליח, והרוצה להכריח שסוג אחד יהיה מזוין בנשק השייך לסוג אחר (מצות הקשורות ותלויות במסורת אבות) – ה”ז [=הרי זה] מעמיד בסכנה כל ענין ההגנה וכו’. וד”ל [=ודי למבין].

The reason for this custom – at least briefly:

It is for the same exact reason that the Israeli government buys weapons in the U.S.A. and in Germany, etc., and pays foreign currency (a requirement in the respective producing countries) and shocking sums of it and tries in all possible ways that the money should be accepted from them for the weapon deals to go through.

They don’t suffice with the guns and other weaponry that they alone manufacture in Israel itself, and no one protests this policy.

On the contrary, the policy is universally supported! Because when you wish to protect the Jewish people, you need proper weapons and properly fulfilled mitzvos:

You can’t replace a phantom plane – and l’havdil, an Esrog which has a Masores Avos* — with an Israeli Uzi and l’havdil, an Esrog which has no Mesora.

A discerning individual understands himself what is wrong with one who still insists on switching for locally produced weapons….

It appears that after the Rebbe’s reply was orally transmitted to the questioner, and he seems to have understood from the Rebbe’s answer that an Esrog from Israel has no Mesora at all. He continued to question how we can say that of an Esrog used by so many Jews:

The Rebbe added the following clarification:

Probably the end of the answer was not transmitted accurately to …:

Moreover: every army has several divisions and units: foot troops, These in chariots, and those on horses, etc.” Each division has its specific ammunition, and they can only be successful with their designated weapon.

One who wants to impose on one division to be armed with the arms of another unit (— to impose changes on mitzvos performed by a particular community in a manner connected and dependent upon a Masores Avos) – is thus endangering the entire defense system, etc., ודל.

 

* “We have a tradition from the Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch, that one should specifically seek an esrog grown in Calabria, or Yanova, “for a reason known to him.” He once said: “When Gd told Moshe Rabbeinu,
ולקחתם לכם פרי עץ הדר גו’ — ‘You shall take for yourselves the fruit of a beautiful tree…,’ emissaries were seated on a cloud and dispatched to bring esrogim from Calabria.” (See also the sichah of Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah 5710, which appears in Kuntreis 85.) — Sefer HaMinhagim on Sukkos, sec. 3

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