©2018 BY DAVID Z. MOSTER.

ETROG

Palgrave Macmillan (2018)

Every year before the holiday of Sukkot, Jews all around the world purchase an etrog—a lemon-like fruit—to participate in the holiday ritual. In this 2018 book, I track the etrog from its evolutionary home in Yunnan, China, to the lands of India, Iran, and finally Israel, where it became integral to the Jewish celebration of Sukkot during the Second Temple period. I explain what Sukkot was like before and after the arrival of the etrog, and why the etrog’s identification as the “choice tree-fruit” of Leviticus 23:40 was by no means predetermined. I also demonstrate that once the fruit became associated with the holiday of Sukkot, it began to appear everywhere in Jewish art during the Roman and Byzantine periods, and eventually became a symbol for all the fruits of the land, and perhaps even the Jewish people as a whole. 

  

 

“THERE IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE EXPERIENCE OF PICKING OUT AN ETROG FOR THE HOLIDAY OF SUKKOT.”

David Z. Moster

 

“WHEN IT COMES TO LEVITICUS 23:40, EVERY WAY OF INTERPRETING IS A WAY OF NOT INTERPRETING TOO.”

David Z. Moster

 

David Z. Moster

“THE LULAV AND ETROG WERE ETHNIC MARKERS THAT SERVED TO DISTINGUISH JEWS AND SAMARITANS FROM ONE ANOTHER. IN THIS SENSE, THE LULAV AND ETROG—AND NOT THE MENORAH, SHOFAR, FIREPAN, OR ARK—BELONGED TO THE JEWS ALONE.”

 

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