It turns out this is what a mature esrog looks like, and the lemon-size fruits we’re all used to are baby esrogim, picked at a size that best fit in the palm of our hand. Only the Yemenites, I’m told, prefer the full-impact esrog, which, cone to think of it, could be used both for spiritual and security purposes (“A suspicious guy came up behind me so I knocked him down with my esrog.”).
Because of my relatively rare name, I’m always asked if I’m related in any way to the renowned Yanover Esrogim. I’m not. The Calabria esrog is named after the city of Genoa, Italy, which Jews pronounced as Yanova, and so the esrogim became Yanover (from Yanova).
My own namesake iss the town of Janow in Poland which couldn’t possibly sustain citrus orchards on account of the freezing winter.
You have to admire those Yemenites who pray every Sukkot day with a couple of kilos worth of Four Species in their hands. I’ll bet they smell good, though, and when you cook them after the holiday, it probably is actually edible.
I know it’s weird to be talking about Sukkot from this side of Yom Kippur, but I’ll do Yom Kippur tomorrow. For now, I’m dreaming of my first Sukkot back home.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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