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

Thermometers on Shabbat

Question: Is it permissible to use a thermometer on Shabbat? Answer: Clearly, there is no room to take one’s temperature with an electronic/digital thermometer. Our discussion will revolve around using a thermometer that is not electronic and contains mercury which expands and rises as it h......

Read Halacha

Widows and Orphans

The Torah states (Shemot 22): “You shall not oppress any widow or orphan. If you oppress them and they call out to me, I shall surely hear their cry. My anger shall flare and I shall kill you with the sword; your wives shall then be widows and your children orphans.” The Torah explains t......

Read Halacha

Sleeping on Shabbat is Enjoyable- An Incident Regarding Maran zt”l During His Visit to the United States

Question: Is there a Mitzvah to sleep on Shabbat in order to fulfill the edict of “Sleeping on Shabbat is enjoyable” or is it preferable to delve in the holy Torah all day long? Answer: We find that the Rishonim already mention that there is a Mitzvah to sleep on Shabbat, for “s......

Read Halacha

A Driver’s License-“Lashon Hara”

Question: If an individual wishes to obtain a driver’s license and I am aware of a medical problem that will impair him from driving, may I relay this information to the Department of Motor Vehicles? Answer: The Rambam (Chapter 1 of Hilchot Rotze’ach) writes: “Anyone who has the......

Read Halacha


Various Dangers- A Car on the Road

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the positive Torah commandment for one to make a railing around one’s roof so that no one falls from there. After explaining this Mitzvah, the Rambam (Chapter 11 of Hilchot Rotze’ach U’Shmirat Nesfesh) adds: “Similarly, it is a M......

Read Halacha

An Orphaned Student and a Divorced Woman

Question: I am a teacher and I have an orphaned girl in my class. How must I act when she misbehaves? Similarly, a colleague of mine is a divorced woman. Is there any special prohibition to cause them pain? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that Hashem has commanded us not to oppr......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

A Woman Scholarly in Torah

In the previous Halachot we have discussed the laws of rising for an elderly man or woman as well as the obligation to rise before a Torah scholar and the wife of a Torah scholar. In the previous Halacha we have explained that Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that a female student mu......

Read Halacha