Black-Market Lulavs On the Rise at Sukkot
In the Mishnah on the subject of lulav and etrog, the species blessed on the upcoming festival of Sukkot, there’s a statement that one may not fulfill the mitzva of the lulav with a stolen lulav (palm branch). Well that’s largely been academic, as there isn’t much of a black market for lulavs and etrogs…. or so we thought.
But earlier this week, customs officials at Ben Gurion International Airport seized 300 smuggled etrogim, which were lacking the necessary Agriculture Ministry clearance and which were being brought into the country without being declared to customs officials. As this article reports, 200 shofars were also seized by customs officials.
It seems that chagim-related crime goes beyond etrogs and shofars, and runs to that other holiday favorite, honey. As reported here, one conman has been a busy bee. He made 11 tons of fake honey — a cheap syrup mixture sold as bees’ honey. The “honey” has been destroyed but the conman is still at large.