In order to beautify the mitzvah, we fasten together the lulav, hadassim and aravot (palm frond, myrtle branches and willow branches). For those who’ve never done it before, binding the lulav can be a bit tricky. In most cases, your Four Kinds vendor will do this for you.
Though technically one can bind them together with any material, the custom is to use lulav leaves—thus no foreign substance will separate between the Four Kinds and the hands of the person fulfilling the mitzvah.
There is no single universally followed way of tying the lulav
. Different methods are employed in different communities.
In most communities, the three kinds are bound together by way of a special holder woven of lulav leaves, which slides up the bottom of the lulav and has pockets for the hadassim and aravot. This holder is then securely tied to the lulav with a strip of lulav leaf. The hadassim should be placed in the pocket to the right of the person holding the lulav (as he will be shaking it on Sukkot), and the aravot to the left. The thickish green exterior of the lulav’s spine should be facing the person.
It is customary to have three lulav
-leaf ring ties around the lulav
, symbolizing our three Patriarchs. As such, in addition to the ring with which the holder is fastened, (at least) another two rings are fastened around the lulav
Chabad custom is to bind the lulav on the day prior to the holiday, while in the sukkah.
In addition, Chabad custom is not to use the woven holders, but rather to tie the hadassim and aravot directly to the bottom of the lulav using three lulav-leaf strips (all bound within the span of one handbreadth):
A lulav bound according to Chabad tradition.
(willow branch) is placed on the right of the lulav
(meaning, to the right of the person holding the lulav
, as above) and one on the left. Then, one hadas
(myrtle) is placed on the right of the lulav
and one on the left (somewhat covering the aravot
), and a third hadas
is placed in middle—a bit towards the right side. Once these are all in place, they are all bound together with the three lulav
(Many have the custom of using more than three hadassim. In 1991, the Rebbe suggested that everyone use at least six hadassim. The extra hadassim are just added to the mix.)
Then, in addition to the three lulav ties that hold together the three species, another two ties are fastened higher up, around the midsection of the lulav itself—with the lower one covered, at least partially, by the hadassim and aravot.
- It is important to ensure that the top of the hadassim and aravot end at least one handbreadth (approx. 3.2 inches) beneath the top of the lulav’s spine (i.e., beneath the point where the lulav leaves stop protruding from its sides), so to ensure ample “shaking” area on the lulav’s top. If the hadassim and aravot are too long, they can be trimmed from their bottoms, as long as they remain at least three handbreadths long.
- If the lulav has not been bound before the holiday, it should be bound on the first day of the holiday (or the second day, if the first falls on Shabbat), but via slipknots, not regular knots (as it is forbidden to tie a regular knot on the first two days of the holiday).