• Major Holidays





What is Sukkot

The seven day holiday is celebrated by eating meals in a sukkah (temporary shelter), and shaking the Four Species (a citron fruit, frond of a palm tree, boughs of a willow and branches of a myrtle tree). There is an extra obligation to rejoice on this holiday.

When is Sukkot

Tishrei 15-21

Outside of Israel this holiday is celebrated for an extra day



Source and Origin of Sukkot

Alternate Names for Sukkot

  • Chag Ha’Asif – The Festival of Gathering [The Crops]
  • Chag L’Hashem – “Festival for G-d”
  • Chag – “The Festival”
  • Zeman Simchatenu – “The Time of Our Rejoicing”

Commandments (Mitzvot) of Sukkot

  • Waving the 4 Species – The Torah commands that during Sukkot the 4 species are taken. “Take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook“ (Leviticus 23:40). In Hebrew, these are known as the Arbah Minim. They are,: Lulav, Etrog, Hadassim, Aravos. Each day of Sukkot they are picked up together and waved around in all 6 directions. Some people have the custom to fulfil this while standing in the Sukkah.
  • The Sukkah Specification – To qualify as Kosher, a Sukkah has to meet certain criteria. These include; having at least 2.5 walls, having a roof made of sechach – certain qualifying organic materials, and being located under the sky.
  • Eating, Drinking, and Sleeping in the Sukkah – During Sukkot the Torah commands us that, “all citizens in Yisrael shall live in booths.” The subsequent verse expounds on the meaning: “in order that future generations may know that I made B’nei Yisrael live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I am Hashem your God.” This Biblical Mitzvah is fulfilled by “living” in the Sukkah for the duration of the festival i.e. performing all one’s essential activities inside the walls of the Sukkah. Examples of activities may include: consumption of meals, sleeping, studying Torah.
  • Hoshanos – Every day, bar Shabbos, the men praying in the Synagogue take the 4 species and circle the Bima (the raised reading table where Torah is read), and recite the Hoshanos prayers. This is in commemoration of a practice done in the Beit Hamikdash, where very tall willow branches would be lent against the Mizbe’ach (the altar), and the people would travel in a circle around it. Hoshana Rabbah, the 7th day of Sukkot, includes an extended expression of this commemoration. The Bimah is circled 7 times, and due to the atoning nature of the day, a willow branch is taken and beaten on the ground.

Customs of Sukkot

  • Simchas Beis Hasho’eva – During Chol Hamo’ed (the intermediate days, where fewer restrictions apply according to Jewish law), celebrations are held, accompanied by much fanfare and excitement. This is in commemoration of the water libation ceremony that was held in Beit Hamikdash.
  • Ushpizin – Many have the custom to invite the 7 Ushpizin, 7 guests, into the Sukkah by reciting a daily supplication unique to each Biblical figure. The 7 Ushpizin are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David.

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By: The Israel Bible Team


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