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    Using a lulav as a broom – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I recently visited some Asian countries where I saw people sweeping the streets with home-made brooms made of branches. Could one use an old lulav for this purpose?

    A. Not during the festival. At other times, it is not banned since outside Sukkot the palm branch is a mere palm branch, and the term lulav does not apply.

    It does not seem right, though, not to make a broom out of a used lulav, which might be seen as a downgrading of material which had been invested with a degree of holiness.

    The Talmud (Sukkah 31) reports Rava’s view that a lulav used for idolatry could not be used for the festival mitzvah. Rashi says that an example of using a lulav for idolatry is making it into a broom to sweep up in front of the idol.

    Other examples are using the lulav in an idolatrous ceremony or burning it as fuel for an idolatrous altar.

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