Is it permissible to use more than the prescribed number of each of each Min
(e.g. ten Hadasim)?
(a) Many Rishonim rule that one is allowed to add as many of each Min as one
wants. They reason as follows. First, the Gemara earlier (31a) explains that
according to the Rabanan, who maintain that the Lulav does not have to be
bound with the other Minim ("Lulav Ein Tzarich Eged"), the Minim all stand
alone, and by adding an extra one of any Min, it is considered to be
standing alone and there is no problem of "Bal Tosif."
Even though a Beraisa there says that one is not allowed to add to the
Arba'as ha'Minim, and the Beraisa seems to be according to the Rabanan, that
Beraisa is referring to non-Minim, and the Isur of adding such an item to
the Arba'as ha'Minim is mid'Rabanan. That Isur d'Rabanan does not apply to
adding an extra one of the Arba'as ha'Minim themselves. The Isur d'Rabanan
was enacted in order to prevent one from thinking that the extra Min that
one added (such as a eucalyptus branch) is one of the Arba'as ha'Minim
required by the Torah. Obviously, this Gezeirah does not apply when one adds
a Min which *is* one of the Arba'as ha'Minim. (RITVA 31b)
Since we rule that a Lulav does not need to be bound with the other Minim,
it should be permitted to add more of the Arba'as ha'Minim. (According to
the opinion that a Lulav must be bound with the other Minim, adding another
type of Min is Asur mid'Oraisa, and adding another one of the Arba'as
ha'Minim is Asur mid'Rabanan. The only reason one may use a Lulav leaf to
tie together the Lulav, Aravos, and Hadasim is because it is not standing
upright like a Lulav, and thus there is no "Bal Tosif.")
Second, even if the reason for the Isur d'Rabanan to add a different type of
Min is because of "Bal Tosif" (that is, it is an Isur of "Bal Tosif"
mid'Rabanan, and not because of the fear that one will mistakenly think that
this Min is one of the four which the Torah requires), it is still permitted
to add one of the same Minim because some Rishonim rule that "Bal Tosif"
does not apply when one performs a single Mitzvah twice, but only when one
adds a different item (which is not an item of the Mitzvah at all) to the
A third reason the Rishonim permit adding extras of the Arba'as ha'Minim is
because the Torah does not specify the number of Esrogim, Lulavim, Aravos,
and Hadasim that one must use. Rather, the Torah merely gives the minimum
number that one must use (that is, one must use at least one Esrog, one
Lulav, two Aravos, and three Hadasim). One may use more, if he wants, for
the Mitzvah. Therefore, there is no problem of "Bal Tosif" if one adds more
than the prescribed number. (RITVA 31b)
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Lulav 8:7) rules that one may add only to the number
of Hadasim, because Hadasim add to the beauty of the Lulav. When one adds to
a Mitzvah in order to beautify it, there is no problem of "Bal Tosif." This
is also the opinion of the RASHBA (Teshuvos 1:75). However, there are
different Girsa'os in the Rambam. According to some texts (see the RAN here)
the Rambam says that an Aravah may also be added because it, too, adds to
the beauty of the Mitzvah.
(c) The SHIBOLEI HA'LEKET (#358) rules that one may add to the Hadas and
Aravah but not to the Lulav and Esrog. When the Torah mentions the Hadas and
Aravah, it mentions them in the plural, while it only mentions the Esrog and
Lulav in the singular form (Gemara, 32a and 35a). This teaches that using
more than one Esrog or more than one Lulav is not permitted. Therefore, a
person may not add to those Minim.
(d) According to all of the above-cited opinions, it is permissible to add
more Hadasim to the Lulav. However, the ROSH cites some GE'ONIM who permit
adding Hadasim only if they are Meshulashim. A Hadas which is not Meshulash
(such as a "Hadas Shoteh") is a different species and therefore one may not
add it to the Hadasim.
The RITVA (31a) gives another reason why one should not add a "Hadas
Shoteh." As the Ritva explains (see (a) above), the reason one may not add a
non-Min to the Arba'as ha'Minim is because one might think that the non-Min
is the Min required by the Torah for the Mitzvah. Therefore, one may not add
a "Hadas Shoteh" which may not be used for the Mitzvah, lest one think that
it may be used for the Mitzvah.
The Shulchan Aruch concludes that those who are scrupulous in their
observance of the Mitzvos do not add to any Minim, even the Hadasim and
Aravos. The MISHNAH BERURAH (651:60) adds that one who wishes to add to the
Minim should have in mind specifically that he is adding for the sake of
beautifying the Mitzvah.