At the suggestion of my Chabad rabbi, I decided that I want to have my own lulav and etrog set for the holiday of Sukkot so that my entire family can take part in the observance.
When the holiday is over, should I just throw it in the garbage?
I commend you and your family for taking on this additional observance. Uniting your entire family in observing Jewish traditions brings positive energy to the Jewish experience in your home.
One may discard of the lulav and etrog set following the holiday of Sukkot; however, out of respect, it should be wrapped before placing it into the garbage. According to Jewish law, one should show respect for an item that was used for a Jewish observance.
However, the best thing a person can do with an item like this is to use it for another Jewish observance. Here are some ideas for the lulav and etrog set:
- Burn it with leavened bread (and other leavened products, known as chametz) on the eve of Passover.
- Use the myrtles (hadassim) together with other spices as a fragrance (the besamim) at the traditional havdalah ceremony said at the conclusion of the Sabbath.
- Some insert cloves into the citrus (etrog) and let it dry, and use it as a fragrance during the havdalah ceremony.
- If you are creative with your hands, you can make a basket out of the palm branches and place the spices in there.
- Others fry the citrus and eat it on the New Year for trees (Tu B’shvat).
- Make a jelly from the citrus and eat it on the Sabbath.
- Using the lulav to feed the fire that bakes the matzah, the thin cracker-like, unleavened bread eaten on Passover.
Or you could come up with your own ideas to continue making use of the lulav and etrog set for the good.