For the past several years the MKH field
staff has been observing the relative deterioration of lulavim during
Succos in relation to their owner's method of preservation. The returns
are in and we are now ready to reveal the most effective method
Two essential conditions are required: refrigeration and
moisture. With regard to moisture...if a little is good more is
not necessarily better. Why not? When a flower or any
vegetable material is cut, it will stay green and apparently fresh for
a while. This is because some of the life processes or conditions
such as maintaining hydrostatic pressure are still at work in the
detached plant. In time as those processes or conditions cease,
the plant will begin to dry out or, in the presence of moisture and
Refrigeration acts to slow down the metabolic processes of apparent life or decay. Keeping your arba minim
in the refrigerator will do the most to preserving its freshness.
Moisture, on the other hand, is working for preservation when the plant
is fresh and against it when dead. This is why we put flowers in
water. But, when the flowers finally die, the water begins to
smell as the products of decomposition dissolve in it.
The lulav frond, hadasim, and esrog usually last out the holiday in
decent shape. But, the aravos begin to shrivel up, turn black,
and fall off by the second day of chol haMoed. Even those who
wrap their lulav set in an elaborate configuration of wet towels and
aluminum foil are not immune. Those who do everything seem to end
up in the same place as those who do nothing.
We think the key is too much moisture. Once the leaves begin to
decay the wet towel only makes things worse. Our solution is
simple: take a napkin or paper towel, soak it in water, and
squeeze it out. It will have just the right amount of moisture to
last for the whole holiday.
Drop the wad into the long plastic sleeve that came with your lulav, and work it down to the bottom of the bag.
Carefully drop the lulav set into the bag so the stem end drops onto
the wad when it hits bottom. Doing this each time you return the
set to the bag will insure that it won't punch through the bottom and
destroy the semi-sealed environment of the plastic bag.