61 Etrog case


Kiev, 1690

Carved coconut body contained in a silver frame

Donated by Tivadar Salamon, 1936

The coconut case set in silver straps was used to keep Etrog. The Etrog is a part of the Sukkot bouquet made of the four species,and, according to the tradition, it has to be shaken together with the date palm leaves, and the leaves of myrtle and willow on the Feast of Sukkot which commemorates the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The Etrog can be used ritually only if it is kosher, i.e. the top is unharmed, and therefore it should be stored with extreme care. Using a fine, shapely Etrog is ‘hiddur mitzvah’, which means that the commandment is fulfilled. There are no rules as to the shape or visual appearance of the container, so at the moment of shaping it, decorative techniques specific to each community can prevail. To use the finest possible materials is also within the scope of the ‘hiddur mitzva’. We know the function of the container carved from the exotic coconut because in 1690 in Kiev Shmuel’s son Hayim, apart from engraving his own name on the silver straps, also recorded the text of the Sukkot blessing which should be said at the moment of shaking the bouquet.