- Question: If someone stole an esrog on Sukkos and returns a different one of lesser value during Sukkos why is that ok but if one stole a garment with tzitzis on it and he returns a garment with tzitzis on it of lesser value it is not good enough? Background:
- The Mishna LiMelech (Hilchos Maaseh Korbanos 16:7) questioned whether the owner can claim I want to perform the mitzvah in the best possible way which is why I bought this expensive esrog, or can the thief claim back that since you already fulfilled the mitzvah at least once, the first time being the Torah level mitzvah and the rest rabbinic then he isn’t obligated in giving him back the nicest esrog. The Mishna LiMelech brought down the Maharam Mintz who proved from the 7th chapter of Bava Metzia that the owner has no right to claim that he wanted to perform the mitzvah in the best possible way.
Answer: The esrog itself is really not worth anymore that a few dollars but because of the holiday it is worth a lot more so one cannot claim the full amount he bought it for since it is inflated he just is entitled to a kosher esrog that can be used on Sukkos. However the garment has an intrinsic value and the tzitzis tied onto it just adds to its intrinsic beauty and value so the full value has to be paid back.