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Q&A From the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline
In a Bind
Dayan Yosef Greenwald
September 17, 2021
Q Given that women are not obligated in the mitzvah of arba’ah minim, may a woman bind the minim together in the koishekel?
A R’ Yehuda (Mishnah, third perek of Sukkah) maintains that “lulav tzarich egged”—the lulav must be bound together with the hadasim and aravos. Though the halacha doesn’t follow his view, and one can actually fulfill the mitzvah by picking up the minim consecutively and never holding them together in the hand, the minhag is to bind them together with a koishekel made of lulav leaves.
While we would think that this is only decorative and in fulfillment of the precept of noy (beautifying mitzvos), it appears from the poskim that binding the three species together is in fact the lechatchilah manner of fulfilling the mitzvah of netilas lulav, even though we don’t follow R’ Yehuda’s view that it is mandatory. The binding, per the Gra (O.C. 651), requires a “kesher gamur,” which consists of a double knot, one tie atop another (which isn’t about beautification). To accomplish this, we tie the minim with the koishekel and then tie another lulav leaf around the koishekel.
The Rambam (Hilchos Lulav 7:12) even rules that there should be no chatzizah interrupting between the minim, which, as the Brisker Rav notes, further suggests that this is not just about noy; rather, it is the lechatchilah manner of fulfilling the mitzvah.
Another proof that the binding is about more than noy can be adduced from Rabeinu Tam in Tosafos (Gittin 45b), which—directly answering your question—says that the binding of the minim should not be done by a woman, because she isn’t obligated in the mitzvah. However, the matter is subject to a dispute among the Rishonim.