How to shake

How to Bentch Lulav:
When: One is to awaken early in the morning to perform the Mitzvah of Daled Minim.[1] One may begin shaking Lulav from sunrise. If one is traveling he may shake Lulav starting from after Alos.[2]
Eating prior to shaking:[3] It is forbidden to eat before shaking the Lulav. If however one will not be able to shake until after midday he should eat beforehand.
Where: [4] One is to shake the Lulav inside the Sukkah.
How to hold it:[5] All the 4 minim must be held top side up [the Esrog with its Pitum facing up]. A right handed person holds the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in his left hand, while a left handed person holds the Lulav in his left hand and the Esrog in his right hand. The exact order of when the Lulav and Esrog are lifted will be explained next.

The blessing process:

  1. One faces east [not specifically towards Jerusalem[6]] throughout the blessing and shaking process.
  2. One takes hold of the Lulav in his right hand [if he’s right handed, as explained above].
  3. The spine of the Lulav faces the person.
  4. The Esrog remains on the table and is not lifted until after the blessing. One then says the Bracha of Al Netilas Lulav and lifts the Esrog in his left hand [if he is right handed as explained above. A lefty lifts the Esrog in his right hand]. On the first day of Sukkos one now says [after lifting the Esrog] the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
  5. One then adjoins the top third of the Esrog [thus having the Esrog in a slightly slanted position] with the Lulav/Hadassim and Aravos. Throughout the shaking one remains holding the Lulav in his right hand and the Esrog in his left hand [for one who is right handed].
  6. One then shakes the Lulav with the adjoined Esrog three times in six different directions. One first shakes three times southeast [towards one’s right], then three times northeast [towards one’s left], then three times east [frontwards], three times up, three times down, and three times west.
  7. When shaking towards west, the first two times one shakes to southwest [towards one’s back on his right side] and then shakes it completely towards west.
  8. Throughout the shaking, the Esrog remains covered by ones hand, until the last shake where one reveals the Esrog slightly.
  9. The Lulav remains facing upwards throughout all of the shakings. It is not to be turned upside down when one shakes its downwards.
  10. The Lulav is to be shaken after each Holacha prior to the Hovah.[7]

[1] Sefer Haminhagim p. 141 [English]
[2] 652/1
[3] 664/1
[4] Siddur based on Per Eitz Chaim, as it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to shake the Lulav in the Sukkah. This is for two reasons: a) One is to do all his normal actions inside his Sukkah just as he would do in his house. Hence it is a Hiddur in the Mitzvah of Sukkah. B) The dwelling in the Sukkah is what sanctifies the Holiday including the first day which one is obligated to shake Lulav. Hence it is proper that the shaking of the Lulav be done within the Mitzvah which to begin with gave it its significance. Hence it is a Hiddur in the Mitzvah of Lulav. [Likkutei Sichos 19]
Why we do not shake before Halel in a Sukkah: Although the best option available is to go to the Sukkah between Shemoneh Esrei and Halel and shake the Lulav then. By doing so one accomplishes both the best timing of the shaking [right before Halel] and also the best place for the shaking [in a Sukkah]. Nevertheless Admur negates this option saying that it is not possible due to that one is unable to leave Shul prior to Halel due to the onlookers. Vetzaruch Iyun as to what is the meaning. Is it due to embarrassment, and hence due to embarrassment Admur is suggesting that one diminish his Hiddur? Or Is it due to a Halachic issue as just like one may not pass a Shul without entering into it during prayer time, as this is an evident belittlement to the onlookers, so too perhaps learns Admur that it is forbidden [and even more so] to leave in middle of the Minyan due to it being a belittlement to the onlookers. Vetzaruch Iyun as we do not find such a ruling anywhere in Shulchan Aruch. Furthermore from the different rulings regarding when one may leave by Kerias Hatorah it is evident that such a prohibition was not even thought of.
Opinion of Admur in the SH”A: In the Shulchan Aruch [644/1] Admur rules one is to shake the Lulav directly prior to Halel.
[5] 651/12
[6] Meaning if the direction of prayer is not east, one nevertheless faces east during the shaking. The same applies when shaking in Shul by Halel, that if the direction of East is different than that of the Aron, one nevertheless faces east. [Hiskashrus 949]
[7] Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5/35 “custom of Rabboseinu”


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