* The Bach concludes that the view of the Ran should be normative. Shaar Hatziyun (648:27) elaborates upon the Bach (see also Beiur Halacha 645:2). The Chazon Ish (147:1), however, claims that there never was a dispute and everyone really subscribes to the view of the Rashba. See Mishna Brurah (648:26), who discusses the status of an etrog if the area where the outermost peel was removed became discolored.
* The Terumat Hadeshen (Responsa 99) writes that if a hole was made while the etrog was growing but the flesh and peel subsequently grew over it, it is valid. Rama (648:2) agrees. </ref>
# If the pitom falls off or the stem on the bottom of the etrog is completely removed, the etrog is invalid. <ref> The Mishna (34b) establishes that if the pitom fell off an etrog, the etrog is invalid, but if the oketz fell off, it is valid. The Gemara (35b) explains that the pitom is the rod-like protrusion (“buchanto”). Rashi (s.v. Tani) cites a dispute between his teachers about how to explain what the pitom and oketz are. Rabbeinu Yaakov explained pitom as the protrusion on top of the etrog and the oketz as the thick stem on the bottom. Rabbeinu Yitzchak, however, explained that oketz refers to the outer part of the thick stem on the bottom, while pitom refers to the inner part of that stem, meaning that the etrog would be invalid only if the stem on the bottom is totally removed, even the part that penetrates the etrog. Rashi sides with Rabbeinu Yaakov.
* The Rabbeinu Chananeil (36a) explains that the Gemara was not explaining the Mishna at all but rather adding another potential disqualification. According to his view, the pitom is on the top of the etrog and “buchanto” is on bottom. He adds that the oketz is the outer part of the stem on bottom, and if that is removed, the etrog remains valid. The Rif (17b) and Rambam (8:7) agree. The Rosh (3:16) writes that the minhag was to follow Rabbeinu Chananeil. Shulchan Aruch (648:7-8) concurs. Mishna Brurah (648:31) writes that if the bud on top of the pitom falls off, one should avoid using the etrog unless it is the nicest one available.
* The Rosh adds that if the etrog grew without a pitom in the first place, it is valid. Rama (648:7) codifies this. Mishna Brurah (648:32) explains that the reason an etrog without a pitom is invalid is either because its lacking or is not “haddar.” Accordingly, if an etrog grew that way initially, it is valid. </ref>
# Some poskim invalidate an etrog that has black dots found on its chotam, while others deem it valid. <ref>The Mishna (34b) explains that an etrog upon which there is a protruding growth (“chazazit”) that covers the majority of the etrog is invalid. The Gemara (35b) adds that if the growth is found in two or three separate places, it invalidates the etrog, since it appears “spotted.” Additionally, the Gemara states, if the growth is found on the chotam, it invalidates the etrog regardless of its size. The Rosh (3:20) writes that a discoloration of white or black has the same status as a growth. Therefore, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (648:12) write that a discoloration of any size on the chotam would invalidate the etrog.
* What is the chotam? Rashi (35b s.v. Ubechotmo) explains that the line at which the etrog begins to slope inwards is the chotam. See Halachos of the Four Minim (p. 10) for a diagram. The Rosh explains that the Rif holds that the chotam is the entire slope up to its pitom. The Beit Yosef (648:12) writes that the minhag was to be strict for both Rashi and the Rif. The Beiur Halacha (648 s.v. Mimakom) explains that the Rif, and by implication Shulchan Aruch, agree that the pitom itself is included in the chotam.
* The Pituchei Arbaat HaMinim (p. 266-7) discusses black dots that are caused by bug sprays that farmers use. He suggests two reasons to be lenient. First, he argues (based on the Terumat Hadeshen responsa 99) that since these black dots are part of the normal appearance of the etrog, they do not present a problem. Furthermore, the black dots are external to the etrog. Nonetheless, he concludes that one should be strict unless the dot can be removed. Similarly, Rav Dovid Miller (“Hilchot Arba Minim”) and Halachos of the Four Species (p. 22) say that a black dot on the upper part of the etrog invalidates it.
* Rabbi Zvi Sobolovsky (ibid. min 4-5), however, explained that most of the etrogim we have do not have any issue with discoloration; the little black dots are just specks of dirt. Similarly, Rabbi Eliakim Koenigsberg (“A Practical Guide to Purchasing Daled Minim,” min. 32-3) quotes the Chaim Ubracha (p. 33 note 87), who says that black dots invalidate the etrog only if they develop because of rotting, which is not usually the case. Mishna Brurah (648:46) writes that a discoloration disqualifies an etrog only if it is noticeable upon a normal glance without staring at it carefully. </ref>
# An etrog that is completely green is invalid. If, however, if it started to become yellow, it is valid. <ref> The Mishna (34b) cites Rabbi Yehuda’s view that an etrog that is as green as grass is invalid. The Rosh (3:21) cites Tosfot’s assertion that an etrog that is green but will turn yellow over time is valid, since it must be a complete fruit in order for it to turn yellow. Shulchan Aruch (648:21) codifies this view. Mishna Brurah (648:65) writes that the Achronim decided that one should not rely on the fact that the etrog might potentially turn yellow later on unless it has begun to start doing so. Chazon Ovadia (p. 256) agrees. Rabbi Hershel Schachter (“The Halachos of the Daled Minim,” min. 33-5) cited the Mishkenot Yaakov’s opinion that the etrog is invalid even if it started to yellow.</ref>
# See note for a list of other ideal qualities. Besides for the qualities that Chazal specified, the niceness of an etrog includes its subjective beauty. <ref> Bumpy: Rama (Responsa 126) writes that the differences between a grafted etrog and a real etrog include: 1)A real one is bumpy, while grafted ones are smooth. 2)A real one has an indented oketz, while grafted ones has an oketz that protrudes. 3)A real one has a thick peel with very little juice, while grafted ones have a thin peel and a lot of juice. The Tiferet Yisrael (Mishnayot Sukka 3:6) says that a person ideally should look for an etrog that is very bumpy and has an indented oketz. Nitei Gavriel (p. 140) as well as Kashrut Arbaat Haminim (p. 8) codify this view.
* Ball-like: The Gemara (36a) says that an etrog that is round like a ball is invalid. This is quoted by Tur and Shulchan Aruch (648:18). Mishna Brurah (648:59) explains that a round etrog is invalid since it is not a normal shape of an etrog. Beiur Halacha (648:18) elaborates that it is not necessary to be stringent for the opinion of Tosfot that a cylindrical etrog is invalid, since most authorities disagree. Kaf Hachaim (648:113), however, says that ideally, one should accommodate this view of Tosfot.
# An etrog whose pitom falls off is not valid to be used for the mitzva of daled minim, see footnote. <ref> Mishna Sukkah 34b. for the following discussion see [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Etrog_diagram.jpg Diagram of Etrog]. Shulchan Aruch OC 648:7 rules like the Rabbeinu Tam Tosafot Sukkah 35a and Rambam Hilchot Lulav 8:7 that as long as the dad is intact, the etrog is still valid. However, the Rif Sukkah 17b according to the Ran there d"h "Gemara" says that if the shoshanta falls off, the etrog is invalid. Rama 638:7 says that one should preferably be stringent and follow the opinion of the Rif, that if the shoshanta falls off the etrog is invalid. However, Mishna Berura 648:31 explains that the Rama only refers to a case where one has a choice of purchasing two equivalent etrogim, but one has a broken shoshanta but if the etrog with the broken shoshanta is a nicer etrog, one should purchase that one. The Levush 648:8 disagrees and says that the etrog is invalidated if any part of the dad breaks off. Mishna Berurah 648:30 quotes the opinions of Taz 648:11 that the etrog is invalidated only if the entire dad is broken off and the Magen Avraham 648:9 that if any part of the dad remains protruding from the etrog it is still valid, but does not rule conclusively on the matter. Rashi Sukkah 35b "Nitla" quotes an opinion that the pitom refers to the bottom of the etrog and therefore if what we usually call the oketz falls off the etrog would be invalid. </ref> According to some poskim, this invalidation only applies for the first day of sukkot since that is the only time that it's diorayta. <ref> Tosafot Sukkah 29b "Bainan" writes that an incomplete etrog is valid from the second day onward but an etrog which lacks hadar is invalid throughout [[Sukkot]]. Rambam Hilchot Lulav 8:9 disagrees saying that an etrog that lacks even hadar is valid from the second day onward. Shulchan Aruch OC 649:5 rules like the Rambam but the Rama there rules like Tosafot. Therefore, according to Shulchan Aruch an etrog which lost its pitom is kosher after the first day. However, according to the Rama it would be a problem if it's a problem of hadar. Rabbeinu Yerucham Sefer Adam 8:3 says that an etrog whose pitom broke is similar to an incomplete etrog and is valid starting on the second day. However, Rav Avraham of Prague cited in Darkei Moshe 649:5 says that an etrog whose pitom broke lacks hadar and is therefore invalid throughout [[Sukkot]]. Rama rules like Rabbeinu Yerucham, and therefore according to him it would be mutar to use an etrog with a broken pitom after the first day. However, the Magen Avraham 649:17 rules like the Rav Avraham of Prague since the Maggid Mishneh Hilchot Lulav 8:7 rules that way and therefore an etrog with a broken pitom would be invalid even after the first day. Mishna Berurah 649:36 concludes based on the Elia Rabba 649:15 that even if Rav Avraham of Prague and the Magen Avraham are correct, you can rely on the aforementioned Rambam that lacking hadar is still permitted for after the first day, but he adds that one shouldn't recite a beracha on such an etrog unless it's something that would be permitted to recite a beracha on the first day as well. </ref> However, all this only applies if the etrog had a pitom from the outset. If it never had a pitom, then it is valid. <ref> Rosh Sukkah 3:16, Rama, OC 648:7. Mishna Berurah 648:32, explains that since it grew without the pitom, it isn't in the category of lacking hadar or incomplete. </ref>
==Trumot and Maaserot==
# Trumot and Maaserot must be taken off for the Etrog be to be used for the mitzvah, otherwise the Etrog is pasul for all seven days of [[Sukkot]]. <Ref> Rambam (Hilchot Sukkat 8:9), Kolbo (Siman 72), Eliyah Rabba 649:4, Pri Megadim A”A 649:20, Bikkurei Yacov 649:29, S”A HaRav 649:15, Mishna Brurah 649:45, Natai Gavriel 36:2, Chazon Ovadyah [[Sukkot]] (pg 248) </ref> Therefore, one must be careful in finding a reliable seller. <Ref>Kaf HaChaim 649:41, Natai Gavriel 36:2 </ref>
# If one cut an etrog from a non-Jew’s field in Israel that etrog should not be used unless one forgot to take off Trumot and Maaserot and it’s already [[Yom Tov]] (when it’s forbidden to take off trumot and masserot). <Ref> Chazon Ovadyah (pg 246) </ref>
==Eating the Etrog==
#It’s forbidden to eat an Etrog all the days of [[Sukkot]] and if one does take a bite out of the Etrog it’s unfit <ref> Rama 649:5 </ref>
#In Israel, it's permissible to eat the Etrog on Shemini Aseret, and in Chutz LeAretz (outside Israel) one may eat it on the ninth day of [[Sukkot]]. <ref> Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 444) </ref>