?מרכב
בֶּן כִּלְאַיִם?

Grafted or not grafted?

Cross hybrid breeding or not?

ADDENDUM: Please note that grafting and cross-hybrid-breeding are two different concepts. May/2009

OUR IDENTIFICATION OF THE YEMENITE EHTROG AS THE ONLY SPECIES WITHOUT A DOUBT IS BASED ON TWO SOURCES:

 

1-   Talmud Bavli lists signs (simonim) for an Ethrog as follows: The ethrog is described as the only tree in which the fruit and the tree have the same taste. In addition, the ethrog is considered unique in that the fruit will stay on the tree past its "season" and continues to grow and thrive year-round.

2- RaMb"M: "If even the slightest amount of an Ethrog is missing, as a result of a hole, it is posul." (Hilchoth Shofar/Sukkah/Lulav 8)

CONCLUSION: Based on this alone,  we would only rely upon Yemenite Ethrogim, which contain no juice whatsoever. Inside the fruit, there is only rind, which in fact tastes identical to the vine of the tree.  I have verified this with the 9 trees we have growing on our family’s property. By the way, not all were picked this year, and continue to grow to this very day.

The rest of the article that appears below is merely commentary:

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We also content that grafted or cross breed etrogs (especially where lemon stock is suspected), because we are convinced that this certainly does (and in most cases DID) ALTER the Ethrog in different ways.

Many studies (on other non-citron fruits or vegetables) have concluded that grafting does indeed effect the DNA (and more). While Torah may not be based on DNA, no one can honestly say it does not effect the interior of the fruit.

One such study: "Tomato rootstock effects on gene expression patterns in eggplant scions."
Call Number : REP.TM-1487 Author : Zhang, Z.J.; Wang, Y.M.; Long, L.K.; Lin, Y.; Pang, J.S.; Liu, B.; Source : RUSSIAN JOURNAL OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, v.55(1):93-100, 2008. Language : Abstract : The grafting technique has been used in agriculture since ancient time to improve horticultural crops. Nonetheless, the mechanism by which the rootstocks impact the traits of scions remains elusive. Here, using carefully produced "tomato + eggplant" grafts, we studied a possible effect of tomato rootstocks on gene expression of eggplant scions. By taking strict precautions, including using inbred lines and employing both ungrafted and self-grafted controls, potential confounding influences were confidently ruled out. It was found that the tomato rootstock could up- or down-regulate gene expression of the eggplant scions. The effected genes are related to diverse functions, including general metabolism, signal transduction, stress-response, cell cycle/division, and transcription/translation. Possible mechanisms of the rootstock effects on gene expression of the scions are discussed.

There are other examples - like the chimaera - that should certainly warrant closer study,

Throughout the ages, our wise men were already aware of the alterations caused by grafting. In Yemen & certain places in Europe, they actually warned about it in Jewish (legal) codes/writings.

Some modern rabbis believe that grafting effects seed position (inside the fruit). Others believe that grafting creates spots and/or changes the indentation of the stem on the fruit. Many have suggested that an authentic ethrog should have ridges on it's exterior - and not be totally smooth. I am not sure if there is a basis to that or not. However, I know this. The citrus INDUSTRIES are most certainly monetarily motivated. To date, they have provided no evidence that grafting has no effect on the content of an ethrog. I believe the "onis probandi" rests on them to prove their case. Until they can 100% guarantee that their grafts have/had no effect on the ethrog, we will continue to avoid them (at all costs). Instead, we opt for Ethrogim (ie: seeds) that have a tradition of being "non-grafted". We also avoid using Ethrogim that exhibit features of being cross-hybrid-bread with lemons.

A full discussion of this topic appears here: http://www.chayas.com/sheela.htm#ethrog

ROW #1: Compares conditions of seed chambers (IE: radial cross-section) of various ethrogim. RaShY says these chambers must be clear and in tact (IE: not broken). RaShY compares this to checking a cow's lungs/pipes (in the kosher laws). This row also compares the amount of juice to meat in the fruit. Some experts feel that juice/pulp is a give-away sign for hybrid cross breeding with lemons - בֶּן כִּלְאַיִם.

ROW #2: Compares (un-torn/natural) stem length and basic shape. This is the side that is opposite the pitom. Also whether there are tiny black spots on stem and/ or skin. Some have stem indentations or crowns. According to people in the citrus industry, this is an indication of grafting מרכב.  Although I admit, I don't see understand this relationship.
 

 ROW  TEMANI / YEMEN
תימני
 YANAVER/Italian
ינבר

 LEMON
לימון
 

CHAZON ISH/ Iraqi
Lefkowitz-חזן אש-
CHAZON ISH/ Iraqi
Halperin 
חזן איש
 
MORROCAN
מרוקני
ISRAELI
ישראלי
בד"ץ החרדית
 ROW #1      

  

   
 ROW #2      
 #3            

Below: NUSAKH TEMAN: Large Yemenite Ethrog (non-Melon type)

Below: Large Yemenite Ethrog (Melon Looking Type)

PHOTO GALLERY OF FLORIDA / YEMENITE ETHROG TREES