Jewish Calendar - Tishrei - Sukkot Basics
Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles), celebrated for seven days - from the 15-21
of Tishrei, is the first of the three festivals during which the Israelites
made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the days of the Temple; each of these festivals
(Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot) marks a pivotal agricultural season and commemorates
a central event in the history of the Jewish people.
the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold
the Feast of Booths for seven days....You shall hold festival for the
Lord your God seven days in the place that the Lord will choose....Three
times a year - on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the Feast of Weeks,
and on the Feast of Booths - all your males shall appear before the
Lord your God in the place that He will choose. They shall not appear
before the Lord empty-handed, but each with his own gift, according
to the blessing that the Lord your God has bestowed upon you." (Deut.
As an agricultural festival, Sukkot marks the end of the autumn fruit harvest;
another name for Sukkot is, in fact, Hag ha-Asif (Feast of the Ingathering).
Thanksgiving for the harvest is reflected in the biblical commandment to take
in hand four kinds of plants the "Four Species": lulav (palm
frond), hadas (myrtle sprigs), aravah (willow branches) and
the etrog (citron). The myrtle and willow are tied together around
the palm frond, and all four are held closely while a blessing is recited.
have been given for the Four Species. According to one, the etrog represents
the heart, the lulav represents the spine, the myrtles
suggest the eyes, and the willows symbolize the lips and mouth. In shaking
all elements together and reciting the blessing, we indicate that we are serving
God and expressing our gratitude, with every fiber of our being. According
to another, the Four Species together represent all types of Jews who, different
as they may be, are unified as one. , but each with his own gift, according
to the blessing that the Lord your God has bestowed upon you." (Deut. 16:13-17)
the agricultural aspect, the holiday commemorates the Israelites' wanderings
in the wilderness following their exodus from Egypt, during which time they
lived in booths. The central commandment related to Sukkot is to sit in the
sukkah, a temporary outdoor structure with a roof made of branches,
for seven days.
the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the
yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Lord seven
days.... On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees,
branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook,
and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days." (Lev. 23:39-40)
following blessing is recited while holding together the four species:
Barukh atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid-shanu be'mitzvotav
ve'tzivanu al netilat lulav.(Praised are You, Sovereign of the Universe,
who has sanctified us with Your mitzvot and has commanded us to take
the branch of a palm tree.)
The lulav and etrog are carried in a processional during
morning services. In these circuits (hakkafot), special prayers
of redemption, known as hoshannot, are recited.
is ushered in with the lighting of two candles and reciting of the blessing.In
the sukkah, the festival blessing over wine (Kiddush) is chanted, followed
by the Shehe'heyanu blessing and the special blessing for dwelling
in the sukkah.
shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in
booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite
people live in booths when I brought them out of the Land of Egypt..."
in the sukkah
It is customary to decorate the inside of the sukkah with branches, flowers,
fruit, plaques with biblical verses.
Another beautiful custom is to decorate the sukkah with names and depictions
of the seven righteous ancestors of the Jewish nation: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David- who are "invited" as special
guests (ushpizin) to every family's sukkah. It is also customary
to recite the benediction over the "Four Species" while inside the
It is Jewish
practice to eat as many meals as possible in the sukkah and to recite
the blessing over the Four Species every day in the sukkah (except on
atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid-shanu be'mitzvotav ve'tzivanu
le-hadlik ner shel Yom Tov
the festival falls on Shabbat, the concluding words are "ner shel Shabbat
are You, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your mitzvot
and has commanded us to kindle light for the festival.)
Shehe'heyanu: Barukh atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam, she'hecheuanu
v'kiymanu v'higiyanu lazman ha-zeh.
(Praised are You, Sovereign of the Universe, for granting us life, for
sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this day.)
Barukh atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid-shanu
be'mitzvotav ve'tzivanu le-hadlik leshev ba'sukkah.
(Praised are You, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with
Your mitzvot and has commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.)
- Stuffed cabbage and kreplach
(fried pockets of dough) filled with fruit or vegetables;
- Dishes made with honey
and fruit (such as tsimmes - potatoes with carrots, prunes and honey);
- Sweet pastries (taiglokh
made with honey).
|READING AND STUDY
Naomi. Celebration: The Book of Jewish Festivals (Jonathan David,
Donin, Rabbi Hayim Halevy. To be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance
in Contemporary Life (Basic Books, 1972).
Greenberg, Rabbi Irving. The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (Summit
Greenberg, Blu. How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household (Jason
Goodman, Philip, ed. Jewish Holiday anthologies (JPS, 1970, 1992).
Jacobs, Louis. The Book of Jewish Practice (Behrman House, 1987)
Kitov, Eliyahu. The Book of Our Heritage (Feldheim, 1978).
Klagsbrun, Francine. Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture around
the Year (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996).
Knobel, Peter. Gates of the Seasons: A Guide to the Jewish Year.
Renberg, Dalia Hardof. The Complete Family Guide to Jewish Holidays
(Adama Books, 1985).
Schauss, Hayyim. The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to their History and Observance
(Schocken Books, 1996).
Strassfeld, Michael. The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary (Harper
& Row, 1985).
Waskow, Arthur. Season of our Joy: A Celebration of Modern Jewish Renewal
(Beacon Press, 1990).
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