As Italy’s Citron Crop Fails, an Archaeologist Looks to Fruit’s 2,500-Year History in Israel

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10 Aug 2017

For the past 70 years, Lubavitcher Hasidim around the world have had only one choice for their citron — required for ritual use as one of the four species during the autumn pilgrimage holiday of Sukkot — the Calabrian or Yanover (Genoa) etrog. But due to an unexpectedly destructive January frost, it doesn’t look like there will be enough to go around this year.

There are some 12 strains of citron considered suitable for use in the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles celebration. However, at the bidding of the late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, adherents of Chabad Hasidism from around the globe have only purchased the Calabrian fruit since the 1950s.

Chabad’s connection to the Calabrian citron goes back even further, to the movement’s foundation in the 18th century when Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812) controversially taught that when God told Moses that the Jews should take an etrog for the Sukkot holiday, he sent messengers on clouds to gather them in Calabria, according to an article on

But that may be a problem as this year’s crop is in danger after four days of below-zero weather in the region has destroyed some 80 percent of the citron trees.

Read the full article on Times of Israel :

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.