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Designer Lulavs and Luxury Etrogs Sweep Israel

Fancy versions of the Four Species go for more than $100

Liel Leibovitz
October 08, 2014

Sure, you may have a Birkin bag, Miu Miu pumps, or shades by Dior, but what brand is your lulav? That, increasingly, is the question many in Israel are asking: in special Sukkot-themed pop-up markets, customers are paying top shekel for the best of the Four Species, and certain brands have emerged as the must-have luxury items this Tishrei.

While a generic set of lulav, etrog, hadass, and aravah goes for about NIS70, or $18, some customers prefer to buy each species separately. Citing hiddur mitzvah, or the desire to go beyond the mere halachic requirement and invest in an aesthetically pleasing experience, Sukkah connoisseurs are putting their money where their joyful heart is.

“Deri’s lulavs are like a Facconable shirt, and others are like Polo by Ralph Lauren, or Nautica,” one smiling customer in a recent Sukkot fair said of his favorite brand. A Deri lulav—nicely packaged and firm—goes for NIS200, or $54. That’s also the price for a single etrog from Gross or from Kfar Chabad, both of which sell citrus that’s large, bumpy, and beautiful. Hadassim are somewhat cheaper: for $16, you can get a single branch of the sensational Nov brand, harvested in the Golan Heights, or opt to put your trust in Boaz, whose hadassim are sold in a lovely plastic sleeve that promises “the most hiddur.” And if you’re an entrepreneur, you might want to get into the aravot business: alone of the four species, they’ve been unclaimed by brand-aware marketers, and sell for just a few shekels a pop.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.