Anyone who has owned a lulav set knows the difficulties in keeping the aravot fresh for the entire chag. The etrog, haddasim, and lulav generally survive with little maintenance, but the aravot invariably dry and disintegrate by at least the 5th day, leaving behind a messy trail of leaves. In fact, some people specifically purchase two sets of aravot and switch in the middle of the chag to avoid any halakhic problems of the aravot drying out on Sukkot.
However, for the rest of us who are either cheap or don’t want to grow our own there is that annual question of what is the best way for keeping aravot fresh for the whole chag?1 As you’d expect with Jews we’ve got several different theories. So far these seem to be the favorites I’ve heard:
- Water + plastic bag and refrigerate.
- Wet towels + tinfoil and refrigerate.
- Wet towels only and refrigerate. Quoth Yossi, “You gotta let ’em breathe.”
Question for the day: What’s your favorite method?
1. Cute and quickie devar torah: The aravot represent those who lack Torah and good deeds (Vayikra Rabbah 30:12). Just as the aravot demand extra effort to keep them fresh, so too we must put in the extra effort to keep those individuals in the community.