Sukkot special: The fragility of the etrog – Israel in Translation


Today we explore the etrog, a powerful symbol of the holiday of Sukkot, through a short story by Shai Agnon and a poem by Orit Gidali.

Agnon’s story ‘That Tzaddik’s Etrog,’ translated by Shira Leibowitz and Moshe Kohn, is a parable about a rabbi who sells his tefillin in order to buy a perfect etrog for Sukkot. Gidali’s poem, translated by your host Marcela Sulak, is about the fragility of the etrog – she talks of wrapping her son in cotton wool “so that the world around you will treat you like an etrog.”

Compared to the other three Sukkot ‘species’ (lulav, haddas, and aravah), which are each deficient in either smell, taste, or both, the etrog has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds.

Wishing you all good taste and good smell, chag sameach!


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S. Y. Agnon, A Book That Was Lost and other stories. Edited and introduced by Alan Mintz and Anne Golomb Hoffman. Schocken Books, 1995

Orit Gidali, Smichut [Closing In], 2009.



Adi Ran – You are Holy

Adi Ran – דשטותא מילי

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