Esrogei Rieger Holds Sale Tonight, Helps Everyone to Find the Perfect Esrog
By Yehudit Garmaise
Esrogei Rieger, at which beautiful, clean, and properly-shaped esrogim are hand-picked and pre-priced, is hosting a sale tonight-only from 7 to 11:30pm at Beth El Hall, at which customers can buy esrogim for $75.
“Usually, the prices of esrogim start at around $140,” explained owner Shloimy Rieger, and just for tonight we are doing a special sale in which customers can buy for $115 their esrogim, their haddasim, which are free, and their lulavim, which he described as “long, tall, fresh, and green,” and which start at $35.
For those who want the most perfectly shaped, cleanest, and the most muhudar estrogim, $300 is as high as the prices go at Esrogei Rieger.
“Nothing is hidden, or kept under the tables,” said Shloimy Rieger, who nine years ago, along with his older brother Tuli, wanted to make the esrog business much more transparent and user-friendly.
Although some esrog sellers keep most of their esrogim under wraps, show customers only one esrog at a time, and may determine prices based on customers’ perceived wealth, Shoimy and Tuli make sure to spread out, for all to easily inspect, their hundreds of clearly priced esrogim that come all the way from Eretz-Yisroel, Italy, and Morocco.
“People should feel comfortable coming to us,” said Mr. Rieger. “Our customers are always going to find knowledgeable and helpful people on our staff who are there to help them look through as many esrogim as they like.”
For those who like to look at esrogim on their own, the Riegers and their two staff members don’t mind how many esrogim customers consider.
“Customers can spend a few minutes, or they can spend an hour,” Mr. Rieger said. “They can stay as long as they want, or as short as they want to find their perfect esrogim and come out happy.”
However, customers shouldn’t have to stay long at Esrogei Rieger looking through hundreds of esrogim because the Rieger brothers, since the week before Rosh Hashana, have been sifting through boxes of esrogim to select only the best for customers.
“Our customers usually find what they are looking for within the first few esrogim that they see because we only sell what we know people want. “
“To find the ‘ultimate esrogim,’ for what are the Rieger brothers looking as they sift through boxes and boxes of the fragrant, yellow fruit?” BoroPark24 asked.
“Esrogim should have a nice shape,” said Mr. Rieger, citing the Shulchan Aruch. “They should be straight from top to bottom, and they should be pretty clean: with no spots or blotches.”
Although the elongated, “tower” shape of an esrog is typically a Bobover preference, the Riegers have found, over the years, that many other customers, as well, favor “a longer shaped esrog that do not curve or go sideways.”
But no matter what shaped esrog customers have in mind, Esrogei Rieger has the perfect esrog for every customer.
“We welcome anyone who wants to come and look at our esrogim,” said Mr. Rieger. “In a nice air-conditioned space, our customers get all the help they want in choosing the most kosher, most muhudar, and best esrog, and we will help them decide on which one is best.”
Although every esrog that the Riegers sell reflect the highest standards, the brothers do sell some less expensive esrogim that perhaps are not as clean the more expensive estrogim, but “are still pretty nice: straight from top to bottom and have decent shapes,” Mr. Rieger explained.
While halachah says that no one should impoverish themselves to do a mitzvah, at the same time, buying an esrog is one of the mitzvos about which the chachamin say that Yidden should look away from prices,” Mr. Rieger said. “You should buy something nice to fulfill the mitzvah of owning a beautiful esrog.”
Perhaps because an etrog is so visible throughout Sukkos every day for week, many Boro Parkers tend to enjoy spending their hard-earned money on beautiful esrogim, Mr. Rieger said, he has noticed over the years.
“Even if it costs a little extra money,” he said. “People feel proud of the mitzvah of buying a better esrog.
“They enjoy having a pretty esrog. It is something that we see when we hold it during Hallel and when we shake it when you bensch lulav every day, so people want to enjoy having a nice one.”
While Esrogei Rieger’s $75 esrogim sale will be held tonight-only from 7 to 11:30pm, the Rieger brothers will be set up at Young Israel Beth El, which is at 4802 15th Ave., every day, from 5 to 11pm until Sukkos: except for Yom Kippur and Shabbos.
On Motzei Yom Kippur, Esrogei Rieger will be open from 10pm to 1am, and on Sunday, Sept. 19, the brothers will be selling esrogim from 12pm to 12am.