Historic communal treasure!
Magnificent Esrog Box of Congregation Anshei Shalom in Chicago with Engraved Inscription. 1920
A large, impressive wooden esrog box which formerly belonged to the members of Congregation Anshei Shalom in Chicago, IL.
The cover features a round glass window protecting a paper inscribed with the Hebrew text: “The year of “U’lakachtem lachem bayom harishon pri etz hadar v’kappos T’M’R’M’ = 5680 (1920).”
Glued to the inside of the esrog box cover is an original handwritten note regarding the donation of the esrog box to the shul and an inscription by Dovid Eisik ben Yehuda Leib Cohen, shochet and bodek of Chicago and formerly of Shchelkovo, Russia.
His dedication is written in an acrostic that forms his name.
Engraved on the façade of the box is the name
“Congre Anshei Shalom”.
This esrog box is fashioned of a wooden base and frame. It is entirely coated with wooden strips reminiscent of parquet in assorted shades and hues that form attractive geometric patterns. Some of the wooden strips are glued to the box while others are fastened with metal nails. The box is lacquered in clear, shiny lacquer that affords it extra protection and durability, and features a spring lock.
Dimensions: Length: 27 cm; width: 16 cm; height: 14 cm.
Several wooden strips and part of the bottom frame, which forms a stand of sorts, is missing. The condition of the box is used and has several defects. inner cloth lining in need of restoration.
The Shul Esrog
Not long ago, esrogim were both hard to find and exorbitantly priced, many Jews could not afford the expense. To facilitate the observance of the mitzvah, most congregations used shul funds to purchase a single esrog for the entire congregation.
The present esrog box was used to store the community’s esrog year after year, and it was used and enjoyed by all members of the shul throughout the seven days of Succos.
Nestled inside the esrog box is an old esrog that was presumably used many years ago, although it is impossible to know exactly when, along with remnants of the flax used to protect the esrog while in storage.
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