בבני כרכין שהיו מורישין את לולביהן לבני בניהן אמרו (להם) משם ראיה אין שעת הדחק ראיה
involving city dwellers who lived in an area distant from the region where the four species grow, who would bequeath their lulavim to their grandchildren, even though they were completely dry. The Sages said to him: Is there proof from there that species that are dry remain fit for use? Actions taken in exigent circumstances are not proof. In typical circumstances, it would be prohibited to use those species.
קתני מיהת רבי יהודה אומר אף יבשין כשרין מאי לאו אאתרוג לא אלולב
In any event, the Tosefta teaches that Rabbi Yehuda says: Even dry species are fit for use in fulfilling the mitzva. What, is it not referring to an etrog as well, indicating that in his opinion an etrog does not require beauty? No, he was stating only that a dry lulav is fit for use.
אמר מר כשם שאין פוחתין מהן כך אין מוסיפין עליהן פשיטא מהו דתימא הואיל ואמר רבי יהודה לולב צריך אגד ואי מייתי מינא אחרינא האי לחודיה קאי והאי לחודיה קאי קמ"ל
The Master stated in the baraita cited above: Just as one may not diminish from their number, so too, one may not add to their number. The Gemara asks: That is obvious. Why would it be permitted to add an additional species? The Gemara answers: Lest you say: Since Rabbi Yehuda said that a lulav requires a binding, and that requirement is a fundamental component of the mitzva, and if you bring another additional species, this species stands alone and that species stands alone, i.e., because the additional species is not bound with the others, its presence is insignificant, and causes no problem, therefore, Rabbi Yehuda teaches us that this is not the case. In fact, one may not bring an additional species.
אמר מר לא מצא אתרוג לא יביא לא רמון ולא פריש ולא דבר אחר פשיטא מהו דתימא לייתי כי היכי שלא תשכח תורת אתרוג קמ"ל זימנין דנפיק חורבא מיניה דאתי למסרך
The Master stated in the baraita cited above: If one cannot find an etrog, he may not bring a pomegranate, a quince, or anything else instead. The Gemara wonders: This is obvious. The Gemara answers: Lest you say: He should bring these fruits so that the halakhic category of the etrog will not be forgotten, therefore, Rabbi Yehuda teaches us that it is in fact prohibited because on occasion, damage will result from this practice. Some may come to be drawn to this practice and use these species even when etrogim are available.
ת"ש אתרוג הישן פסול ורבי יהודה מכשיר תיובתא דרבא תיובתא
The Gemara proposes: Come and hear another proof that, with regard to an etrog, Rabbi Yehuda does not require beauty: An old etrog is unfit. Rabbi Yehuda deems it fit. This is a conclusive refutation of the opinion of Rava, who holds that everyone agrees that an etrog requires beauty. The Gemara concludes: It is, indeed, a conclusive refutation of Rava’s opinion.
ולא בעי הדר והא אנן תנן הירוק ככרתי רבי מאיר מכשיר ורבי יהודה פוסל לאו משום דבעי הדר לא משום דלא גמר פירא
The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Yehuda not require beauty in an etrog? But didn’t we learn in a mishna: With regard to an etrog that is leek green, Rabbi Meir deems it fit and Rabbi Yehuda deems it unfit? The Gemara asks: Is it not due to the fact that Rabbi Yehuda requires beauty in an etrog? The Gemara answers: No, it is due to the fact that in the case of a green etrog the fruit did not ripen, and it is inappropriate to fulfill the mitzva with an unripe fruit.
תא שמע שיעור אתרוג קטן רבי מאיר אומר כאגוז ר' יהודה אומר כביצה לאו משום דבעי הדר לא משום דלא גמר פירא
The Gemara cites an additional proof. Come and hear: What is the minimum measure of a small etrog? Rabbi Meir says: It may be no smaller than a walnut-bulk. Rabbi Yehuda says: It may be no smaller than an egg-bulk. The Gemara asks: Is it not due to the fact that Rabbi Yehuda requires beauty in an etrog? The Gemara answers: No, it is due to the fact that in that case of an etrog smaller than an egg-bulk, the fruit did not ripen.
ת"ש ובגדול כדי שיאחוז שנים בידו אחת דברי ר' יהודה רבי יוסי אומר אפילו אחד בשתי ידיו מאי טעמא לאו משום דבעי הדר לא כיון דאמר רבה לולב בימין ואתרוג בשמאל זימנין דמחלפי ליה ואתי לאפוכינהו ואתי לאיפסולי
Come and hear an additional proof: And in a large etrog, the maximum measure is so that one could hold two in his one hand; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Yosei says: It is fit even if it is so large that he can hold only one in his two hands. The Gemara asks: What is the rationale for the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda? Is it not due to the fact that Rabbi Yehuda requires beauty in an etrog? The Gemara answers: No, the rationale is as Rabba said: One holds the lulav in the right hand and the etrog in the left. Sometimes, when one is handed the four species, they will exchange them for him, placing the three species in his left hand and the etrog in his right, and then he will come to switch them and place each in the appropriate hand. However, if the etrog is too large, he will be unable to hold the etrog and the lulav together, and he will come to render the etrog unfit, as it is apt to fall.
ואלא לרבי יהודה הא כתיב הדר
The Gemara asks: However, even according to Rabbi Yehuda, isn’t it written: The fruit of a beautiful [hadar] tree? How, then, can he rule that an etrog does not require beauty?
ההוא הדר באילנו משנה לשנה:
The Gemara answers that Rabbi Yehuda holds: That verse means that one should take a fruit that dwells [hadar] in its tree from year to year. It remains on the tree and does not wither and fall at the end of the season as do most fruits. That is characteristic of the etrog.
של אשרה ושל עיר הנדחת: ושל אשרה פסול והאמר רבא לולב של ע"ז לא יטול ואם נטל כשר
§ The mishna continues: The lulav of a tree worshipped as idolatry [asheira] and a lulav from a city whose residents were incited to idolatry, which must be burned along with all the city’s property, are unfit. And is a lulav of an asheira unfit? But didn’t Rava say with regard to a lulav of idolatry: One should not take it to fulfill the mitzva ab initio; however, if he took it, it is fit and he fulfills his obligation after the fact? Apparently, a lulav from an asheira is fit.
הכא באשרה דמשה עסקינן דכתותי מיכתת שיעוריה
The Gemara explains: Here, in the mishna, we are dealing with the asheira of Moses, depicted in the Torah. The mishna is not referring to a tree planted in deference to idolatry, but rather to a tree that was itself worshipped as an idol. There is an obligation to burn idolatry and destroy it. Therefore, legally, the latter tree is considered as if it were already burned. The requisite measure of the lulav was crushed, and it is therefore unfit for use in fulfilling the mitzva. Rava’s ruling does not apply to an asheira of that kind.
דיקא נמי דקתני דומיא דעיר הנדחת שמע מינה:
The Gemara notes: The formulation of the mishna is also precise and indicates that the reference is to an asheira of Moses, as the juxtaposition of the halakha of an asheira to the halakha of a city whose residents were incited to idolatry teaches that the legal status of the asheira is similar to that of a city whose residents were incited to idolatry, in which all the property must be burned. In both cases, the lulav is considered already burned and lacking the requisite measure. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from here that this is the reason that the lulav is unfit.
נקטם ראשו: אמר רב הונא לא שנו אלא נקטם אבל נסדק כשר
The mishna continues: If the top of the lulav was severed it is unfit. Rav Huna said: They taught that it is unfit only when it was completely severed; however, if the top merely split, the lulav is fit.
ונסדק כשר והתניא לולב כפוף
The Gemara asks: And is a split lulav fit? But isn’t it taught in a baraita: A lulav that is bent at the top,