Wednesday, October 03, 2007

101 Uses for a Used $125 Citron

As all God-fearing, segulah-loving frum people know, biting the pitem of an etrog after Sukkot is a segulah for an easy labor. As opposed to the many segulot our people are enamored of, this minhag actually has a authentic and trustworthy source.

Taamei HaMinhagim (p. 621) writes that this segula is based on Genesis Rabbah 15, which states that the Tree of Knowledge which Adam ate from was an etrog tree. To repent for humankind’s original sin, i.e., eating from the Tree of Knowledge, a woman should bite the pitem of the etrog, In exchange, the God of Pain and Suffering will grant her an easy labor. As with all segulot, this only works if the biting of the pitem ceremony is done today, Hoshana Raba. Should you miss partaking of this minhag today, be prepared to undergo 36-hours of painful labor, possibly a breech birth aided with forceps, to be followed by a Cesarean section with no anesthesia.

As with all segulot worth their salt, this one comes with a special prayer. This is the most accurate nusach, which seems to be preferred by the God of Pain and Suffering:

“Master of the Universe, since Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, her sin brought death to the world. If I had been alive at that time, I would not have eaten from it, nor taken any benefit. Just as I did not wish to invalidate this etrog during the seven days of Sukkot, I waited until today when the commandment (of lulav and etrog) is completed…I have enjoyed seeing the Tree of Knowledge, from which God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat. However, I would not have violated His command. Accept my prayers and supplications with good favor…rescue me that I may give birth with ease, and without pain, and that neither I nor my child suffer any harm, for You are the God of Salvation.”

That covers pregnant women. Women who are not yet pregnant, but wishing to conceive a male son, should eat the entire etrog. Preferably raw and not cut with a metal utensil. For obvious reasons, there are no segulot for having female babies. If you're practicing birth control (for medical reasons only, but please check with your local rabbi), the advice given is to double up on your contraception methods during this auspicious time of efficacious fertility rites.

What can you do with your very expensive citron if you’re a man?

The Talmud brings a few methods of nullifying the snake venom in exposed water. One proven method is to make a hole in an etrog, fill it with honey, heat it over coals, and then eat it. Alternatively, one may drink 170 cc of urine which has sat for 40 days. Please call Poison Control for further details.

For the sake of brevity, I will not include any recipes for etrog marmalade, which reportedly has the segulah of turning female fetuses into males.

If you know of any more segulot attributed to etrogim, please be kind and share them with your fellow readers.

Stay tuned for our next post, which will cover 101 Uses for Pop-Up Sukkahs.


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