Monday, October 10, 2011

Lulav Market in Jerusalem, Part 1


Almost every Jew is busying himself with the upcoming Sukkot. Either in one or the other way. Generally most religious Jews build their own Sukkah (booth). Either in their garden, in the yard or on the porch or balcony. While building a Sukkah on a balcony, one has to know certain Halachot, as the neighbour's balcony from above can make one's own Sukkah unkosher. 

A Sukkah has to be kosher and many laws are stipulated in the Talmud Tractate Sukkah. One of the most import parts of a Sukkah is the roof called S'chach. It is forbidden that the S'chach is completely closed but one has to see the sky through it. In Israel, a popular S'chach is made of palmtree branches. 

But even if your Sukkah is kosher (three walls and a kosher S'chach), if your neighbour's balcony is located right on top of you Sukkah, the Sukkah is not kosher, as nothing may cover the S'chach. 

What we also do on Chol HaMo'ed Sukkot (the intermediate days), we shake the Lulav. Men and women alike. Those who do not have their own Lulav and Etrog, may do the shaking at Chabad places. In Jerusalem, for instance, several Chabadnikim offer the Mitzvah of shaking the Lulav publically to every Jew. At Zion Square, in front of the Hamashbir department store in King George or next to the Zemach Zedek Synagogue at the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter (Old City of Jerusalem).

Together with a friend I went to three Lulav markets in Jerusalem yesterday. Two markets didn't want to let us in and only one allowed access to men and women. One market had a Sephardi guard and when he said that women weren't allowed in, he was lying. What he didn't like were my jeans. 

The market really not letting any women inside is the Lulav market at Kikar Supnik in Ge'ulah. Right at Kikar Shabbat, the entrance to Mea Shearim. However, the guards let us take some photos of the surroundings. 

Why are no women allowed in ? Again this is a matter of modesty, as male and female could get to close to each other when the masses are storming the market.
Here are a few impressions from yesterday:

Lulav and Etrog have to be kosher and every buyer is checking his little "treasure" before the purchase. If the Lulav is split or the Etrog damaged, the entire Lulav is not kosher anymore.

Sales of palmtree branches for the S'chach. The branches are not cheap and each may cost 20 Shekels (approx. 6 Dollar) or more.

Checking the Etrog before purchasing is. Seen in Mea Shearim.

No women are allowed in !

We couldn't even have a glimpse into the market from above, as everything was covered from all sides. You can see the Dushinsky boy's school in the background.

Not on this particular market with limited access but at a stand next door.

Copyright aller Photos: Miriam Woelke

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