Sep 28, 2010

It's a Mitzva, Not a Fruit

Some people think it's crazy to spend $35, $75, $150 ... on an esrog. The problem is they are thinking it's a fruit when it's actually a mitzva and of course it's crazy to spend that kind of money on a fruit like a peach, apple, pear.  But this isn't a fruit.  It's an esrog.

I just read an anecdote that illustrates this difference in mindset:

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

Last year, a friend was flying to New York from Israel for Sukkos. Like so many other passengers on the packed plane, he was bringing esrogim with him. Six of them to be exact. When he arrived at customs control, he handed in the requisite form, which he had filled out to the best of his ability. The customs agent looked at the form and asked him, “Do you have any fruit with you?”

“No,” he answered.

“Do you have an esrog?” the agent asked.

“Yes. In fact, I have six of them,” my friend said.

“So why,” asked the agent, “when I asked if you were carrying fruit, did you say no?”

“I never thought of an esrog as a fruit,” my friend responded in all honesty. “An esrog is an esrog!”

The agent, recognizing the man’s sincerity, proceeded to examine one of the esrogim. Upon ascertaining that it was clean of fruit flies, he allowed the gentleman through with his esrogim.

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