To the Greater Chicago Jewish Community , שיחיו
Hadassim are an integral part of the Arba Minim. Among the Torah requirements for Hadassim is that they be “Meshulash,” that the leaves grow in sets of three leaves in line with each other, for the length of the Hadas, i.e. 3 Tefachim (approximately 11 inches, according to R. Moshe Feinstein). If that is not available, as long as more than half of the length has leaves which are Meshulashim, the Hadas may be used.
Most Hadassim sold nowadays, come packaged and graded, with a Hechsher on the package. Examining many of these packages, it has been found that often the Hadassim they contain are substandard. While the situation in Chicago has greatly improved in the past couple of years to the credit of many local vendors, there may still be some substandard Hadassim being sold locally. Therefore, it is important to remain vigilant.
Just as one would not eat food relying on a K on the package, or buy meat from a butcher because the word Kosher appears on the window, one cannot rely on the word Kosher when it appears on a package of Hadassim. Please examine the Hadassim you are about to purchase to ensure that they are indeed Meshulashim for the prescribed length.
People spend much time examining many Esrogim to find one they find acceptable. Care must be exercised in selecting Hadassim as well. If your vendor is going to charge a bit extra for better quality Hadassim, we recommend that you spend the few dollars. There is no point in spend $70, $100 or $200 on an Esrog, and then risk not fulfilling the Mitzvah properly because the Hadassim are not kosher or are acceptable only Bdi’eved. If necessary, we recommend that you spend $10 less on
your Esrog and get one almost as good, and use that $10 to ensure that your Hadassim are Kosher Lechatchila.
What to look for: When buying Hadassim, the leaves should grow in sets of threes over the entire length of each branch, or at least a minimum of three Tefachim (9.6 to 12 inches, depending upon whose Psak is followed).
Other Lechatchila requirements of the Hadas to be aware of:
• The leaf at the tip should be intact.
• The leaves should be fresh and green
• The sets of leaves should overlap each other
• The leaves should lie on the stem
In the merit of properly fulfilling this Mitzvah, may we speedily merit the coming of the Moshiach and the building of the Bais Hamikdash. (See Vayikra Rabba 30:16)
Signed – Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst. Dayan, Agudath Israel. Signed – Rabbi Yona Reiss. Ave Beth Din Chicago Rabbinical Council