I went for a walk Sunday afternoon and paused beside Elat market where kids had competing lulav/etrog stands.
A nice young kid offered me a set for $35. I seized the deal.
We were immediately surrounded by other kids telling me not to buy from the young one. That his merchandise was third-rate.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I didn’t care. I was shopping on price not quality. Some years I haven’t even been able to afford a set (dating five shiksas a week gets expensive). How embarrassing was that to stand in shul while everyone else was waving their lulav and all I was waving was the latest Philip Roth novel.
Oy, the shame!
All I want is a set that will pass inspection at shul. I don’t want to be ashamed of my third-rate lulav. I just want something to wave with a bit of citrus and some twigs. I just want to do the mitzvah and then go back to the great American novel and my vivid fantasy life.
"Your etrog doesn’t even have a pitim," says one lad.
"That’s OK," I reply. "I don’t want one."
If I buy an etrog with a pitim and then it brakes off with all the energetic shaking I give it, then I get kicked out of shul and I might as well go off and tear toilet paper on Shabbat and remember just how funny I thought I was being on my blog when I condemned myself to eternally burning Jewfire.