Halacha for Wednesday 24 Tishrei 5780 October 23 2019

Etrog Jam

Question: Is there any Segulah (auspicious practice) in eating Etrog jam? What is the proper blessing on such jam?

Answer: There are women who customarily eat part of the Etrog (which was used for the Mitzvah) after the Sukkot holiday claiming that it is a Segulah to deliver one’s babies easily. Similarly, women who have difficulty conceiving customarily eat from such Etrogim as a Segulah to bear children. However, we have not found an early source for this custom. Indeed, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yaakov Loberbaum of Lisa zt”l writes in his Sefer Mekor Chaim (Chapter 669) that this custom is quoted in Sefer “Tzenah Ur’enah” (a book written in Yiddish meant for women) but adds, “Fortunate are we that such customs have been uprooted from among us.”

On the other hand, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yaakov Chaim Sofer zt”l writes in his Kaf Ha’Chaim (ibid, Subsection 60) that it is customary to make a jam out of the Etrog and serve it on the night of Tu Bishvat, the Rosh Hashanah for trees, along with the other fruits we recite blessings upon on this night. If a pregnant woman eats from an Etrog which was blessed upon during the Sukkot holiday, this is a Segulah that she shall give birth easily and painlessly. Hagaon Rabbeinu Chaim Palagi zt”l quotes a similar custom regarding a pregnant woman biting the Pitom off an Etrog after the Sukkot holiday as a Segulah for easy childbirth in his Sefer Mo’ed Le’Kol Hai.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l would mention this Segulah in his lectures and he would add that it is a special Segulah to eat from an Etrog used by a G-d-fearing Torah scholar. In his Chazon Ovadia- Sukkot (page 450), which was published in his later years, Maran zt”l adds his own personal recollections:

“I, the servant, know that the Etrog I recited a blessing upon and used for the Mitzvah during the Sukkot holiday was divided into pieces by members of my household and distributed to several women who were childless after eight to twelve years of marriage and they were blessed with beautiful boys and girls that same year. The merit of this Mitzvah is very great and can bring about great protection.”

Thus, we see that there is reason behind this custom. Although nowadays we do not have many Torah giants on the caliber of Maran zt”l, there is nevertheless a Segulah to eat from an Etrog which was used to fulfill the Mitzvah of the Four Species, especially when this Etrog was known to belong to a G-d-fearing Torah scholar.

Regarding the blessing on Etrog jam, this topic is subject to a great debate among the Poskim. Halachically speaking, Maran zt”l rules (in his Halichot Olam, Volume 2, page 97) that if only the outer yellow peel of the Etrog was used to make the jam, the proper blessing is “Shehakol” since this peel is basically inedible making the sugar and other ingredients in the jam primary relative to the Etrog. However, if the jam was made in the usual manner by using the inner fleshy portion of the Etrog as well and especially if the outer yellow peel is completely removed (as many people do), the jam will then require the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing since the primary part of the Etrog is white fleshy pulp on the inside.

Similarly, when partaking of Etrog jam for the first time that season on Tu Bishvat or any other time, one should not recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing before eating it, for one has already exempted this blessing when reciting the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on the Mitzvah of the Four Species during the Sukkot holiday (Chazon Ovadia, ibid.).

Summary: On jam made from the white, fleshy pulp on the inside of the Etrog, one should recite the “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing. Upon eating only the outer yellow peel of the Etrog, one will recite the “Shehakol” blessing.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Honoring One’s Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law

The Yalkut Shimoni states: “David told Shaul, ‘My father, you shall surely see the corner of your coat in my hand’” (which means that David called Shaul his father). Our Sages derived from here that one is obligated to honor one’s father-in-law just as one is obligated ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Similarly, if one, G-d-forbid, loses a son, daughter, brother, or sister, one should recite Kaddis......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Honoring Parents After Their Passing

Just as one is obligated to honor one’s parents during their lifetime, one is likewise obligated to honor one’s parents after their passing. One may certainly not disrespect one’s parents after their death. The Baraita (Kiddushin 31b) states: “Whenever one mentions a Torah......

Read Halacha


Who Must Bear the Financial Burden of Caring for One’s Parents?

We have discussed previously that part of the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is serving one’s parents food and drink as they wish. Included in this is that when one’s parents are elderly and can no longer care for themselves, their sons and daughters must care for their physical......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Rising Before One’s Father or Rabbi- Maran zt”l’s Response to his Grandson

All of the laws of honoring and revering one’s parents apply equally to both a son and daughter. When we sometimes focus on a father and son or a mother and daughter, this is meant as a mere example and illustration. When one sees one’s parents passing in front of him, one must rise b......

Read Halacha

A Father Who Absolves His Son from Honoring and Revering Him

The following discussion is crucial to understanding important laws regarding honoring one’s parents. In the previous Halachot, we have discussed some laws pertaining to honoring and revering one’s parents. There are certain laws that relate to a child’s obligation to honor his ......

Read Halacha

Calling One’s Father or Mother by Name

Question: May one call one’s father by his first name? Also, may one call a friend with the same name as one’s father by his first name? Answer: A child may not call his father or mother by their first name. For instance, if one’s father’s name is “Shmuel,” the......

Read Halacha