Religion Magazine

How to Get a Blue and White Esrog

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
As we get closer to the holidays, it seems the authorities are aware of the increase in people attempting to smuggle fruits into the country and they therefore step up their level of inspection and enforcement. The fruits commonly being smuggled are esrogim for the upcoming Sukkos holiday.
Some bring an esrog for themselves, or a few for the members of their family, while others bring in tens or hundreds of esrogs to sell.
From the perspective of fruit being smuggled in, it does not matter if you are bringing in 1 or 100 or 1000 - the problem of importing foreign bugs along with the fruit is the same and thus possibly causing new infestations of unknown species, as is the concern of the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to Behadrei, a woman from Ashdod was just caught smuggling 40 esrogim in from Spain, after he suitcase did not arrive with her, and she reported it missing. When they found the suitcase and brought it in, they checked it and found the esrogim.
Anyways, the funny part of this is that Ministry of Agriculture statement on the matter included a note that because it is prohibited to bring in "4 species" from foreign countries, in order to avoid distressing situations, the Ministry of Agriculture will gift a "blue and white" set to any traveler who brings a set in with him or her from abroad.
The Ministry will exchange your foreign set with a local Israeli set.
That is a nice gesture. I wonder if they will do so at the equivalent value of the set confiscated, or at least a similar level of kashrut. Meaning, if someone bought a set of Mehudar aleph aleph mehadrin min hamehadrin chazin ish esrog in New York or London and tries to bring it in with him, will the Ministry give him a kosher lbracha set or a mehudar set?
While the ministry isnt obligated to, and thus I would not expect it of them, it is basically pointless if most people won't use the set given to them by the Ministry and they really should not bother wasting their money. Cute idea, but basically a waste of money
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