Come on baby, bite my pitom….

Post by Melissa

On Erev Shemini Atzeret, I heard a drash that featured an odd custom.  The friend I was sitting with and I were both a bit baffled and discussed it while walking to dinner.  In the end, neither of us knew much about it but were fascinated by it, so I decided to blog a bit and see if anyone else had any great insights.

Apparently, there is a minhag (custom) that a woman will bite the pitom off her husband’s etrog as a segula (sign – for lack of better translation) for easy childbirth.

The story told had to do with resisting the temptation of the etrog until then, showing that the woman is now stronger than Chava/Eve and thus worthy of not having the curse of painful childbirth put upon her.

So dear friends and readers — who knows more about this? I’m intrigued…

Where does this come from? Is it widespread? Does it only work if you are pregnant, or can I start doing it now? 😉 (I’ll take all the segula’s I can get on that one!)


Also, I just need to note that I am not unoved by or ignoring the release of Gilad Shalit (as anyone who follows me personally or the blog on twitter has seen).  However, I am still not quite able to process my thoughts into a coherent post.  Once I do, b’li neder, there will be a post full of emotions and reflections.  For now, life goes on for us and, baruch hashem, for the entire Shalit family.


6 thoughts on “Come on baby, bite my pitom….

  1. I’d never heard of the segulah before S’s drash, literally LOL’ed when he first raised it, and absolutely loved how he tied everything together. I also LOL’ed when, at the prodding of his older brother, he recounted tasting the lulav as a child.

  2. I have heard of it, and offered up my etrog this year for a friend as I am not pregnant–I don’t think it has to be your husband’s. I don’t know why, though.

  3. There are two, sort of parallel, customs/segulahs- both involving biting off the pitom of the etrog- one is for an easy labor, and the other is to conceive, if you’re having trouble. So, if you believe in such things, I wouldn’t do so unless you’re ready…

    There are, interestingly, extant tkhines for the occasion of doing this.

  4. The primary source, in the Mateh Efraim, says she “takes” the pitom, and he quotes a Tefilo to accompany this, where the woman declares that she is NOT going to be like Chavah. So the biting seems to be a misunderstanding, and against the entire point of the minhag. Further in the Mateh Efraim, the woman is meant to Pasul the Etrog after the Holiday – at a mutar time – also unlike Chavah, who ate from the Tree when it was not allowed (yet.) So when The Mateh Efraim says “litol” he must mean “break off.” But NOT biting.

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