How to Use a Koishekle on Your Arba Minim!
Jews all across the world are busily preparing for the joyous holiday of Sukkos. In addition to dwelling in a Sukkah we are commanded to shake the Arba Minim. And so, when it comes to the selecting and purchasing of the Arba Minim, there are laymen to scholars who spend countless hours—let alone days—searching for the most beautiful objects that comprise the Arba Minim (the Esrog, Lulav, Hadasim and Aravos).
When it comes to putting ones Hadasim and Aravos together with the Lulav, there are various traditions that have been preserved for hundreds of years. The common practice for many Sephardim and some Chassidim is to simply wrap their Hadasim and Aravos directly to the Lulav. However, the Minhag that I practice is to place the Hadasim and Aravos in a 3-branched holder that is woven from frond slats and then dried. This device is commonly referred to as a: Koishekle. That said, this device may create serious Halachic problems.
One has to be extremely careful when placing the Hadasim and Aravos into the small holes of the Koishekle. As an aside, being that these Koishekle are at times made by children who are unaware of the minute halachic nuances, the holes are very small. As such, when one places there Hadasim and Aravos into the Koishekle—the leaves are invariably going to tear and break—thus perhaps nullifying or at the very least altering the Mehudar status of the Hadasim (Aravos there is room to be a bit more lenient).
Additionally, each day after using the Arba Minim, many people commonly remove the Hadasim and Aravos and place them in the refrigerator to make sure that they remain fresh throughout the week long holiday. Sadly, one is setting themselves up for a scenario in which they may further damage their Hadasim and Aravos. After all, each day more and more leaves will invariably fall off. Indeed, if one does use the refrigerator to keep these items fresh, I always recommend that they simply place the entire Koishekle as 1 unit into the refrigerator. In so doing, no Hadasim or Aravos will be “injured” in the process!
However, there is a second solution. One can order or make their own Koishekle with wide holes. It follows that one can easily slip their Hadasim and Aravos in (and out as well) and no/to minimal leaves will fall off in the process. And so, if you have the Minhag to use a Koishekle, I encourage you to be aware of the above points and wish you a Chag Kosher V’Sameach!