: Cyrus Adler I. M. Casanowicz
The citron; fruit of a tree of
the orange and lemon family. It
is oblong in shape, and sometimes
as much as six inches in length.
The skin is thick, somewhat hard,
fragrant, and covered with protuberances;
the pulp is white and subacid.
Modern naturalists assume the
north of India to be its native
home; but it passed to the countries
of the Mediterranean from Media
or Persia; hence the name of the
tree, "Citrus medica,"
and of the fruit, "Malum
medica," or "Malum Persica"
(compare Pliny, "Historia
Naturalis," ii. 3; μηλον
Josephus, l.c. iii. 10, § 4: της
It is therefore possible that
the Jews brought the tree with
them from Babylonia to Palestine
on their return from the Captivity.
(see image) Citron-Tree with Etrogim. (From
The etrog is used with the "lulab"
at the Feast of Booths, or Sukkot.
Of the four species of plants
enumerated in Lev. xxiii. 40 (R.
V.), on which the carrying of
the lulab is based, tradition
takes "the fruit of the goodly
tree" ( , properly "the
fruit of a fair or noble tree")
to designate the citron. For the
haggadic justification of this
interpretation see Suk. 35a, and
for a further discussion of the
subject see Lulab. It is evident
from Josephus and the Talmud that
the custom of carrying the lulab
and the etrog was well established
in the time of the Maccabees.
Josephus ("Ant." xiii.
13, § 5) relates that once, while
Alexander Jannaæus was ministering
at the altar on the Feast of Booths,
the people pelted him with their
citrons, reproaching him with being
the son of a captive woman and
therefore debarred from the priesthood.
In Suk. 48b the episode of being
pelted with etrogs is related
of an unnamed Sadducee who wrongly
poured out the water libation at
the foot of the altar.
The etrog is also called "Adam's
apple," or "paradise
apple," and in Gen. R. xv.
7 among other fruits the etrog
is suggested as having been the
forbidden fruit of which Adam
and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden;
"for it is said, 'the tree
was good for food' (Gen. iii.
6). Which is the tree whose wood
can be eaten as well as its fruit?
It is the etrog."
(see image) Etrog.(From Kirchner,
To see an etrog in a dream is
regarded as an assurance that
one is "precious  before
his Maker" (Ber. 57a). It
is a wide-spread, popular belief
that a pregnant woman who bites
into an etrog will bear a male
In modern times, especially since
the anti-Jewish demonstrations
of 1891 at Corfu, a movement was
inaugurated to boycott the etrog-growers
of that island and to buy etrogim
raised in the agricultural colonies
of Palestine. Isaac Elhanan SPECTOR
favored the Palestinian fruit
iv. 293), while others contended
that the etrogim of Palestine,
being raised on grafted trees,
were prohibited ("Peri 'Eẓ.
Hadar," ed. Solomon Marcus,
The etrog was occasionally the
object of special taxation. Empress
Maria Theresa demanded
from the Jews of the kingdom of
Bohemia July 17, 1744, an annual
tax of 40,OOO florins ($16,000)
for the right of importing their
etrogim, which tax was later on
reduced to 12,000 florins ("Oest.
Wochenschrift," 1901, p.
727). Some Galician Jews in 1797
offered to pay 150,000 florins
for the privilege of levying a
tax on etrogim, but Emperor Francis
II., in 1800, refused to interfere
with a religious practise ("Israel.
Oct. 10, 1901).
(see image) Copper Coin of Simon
Maccabeus, Bearing an Etrog.(After,
Madden, "History of Jewish