Sukkot Day 2023 is on Monday, September 18, 2023: What is the meaning of Sukkot as you understand it?
Monday, September 18, 2023 is Sukkot Day 2023. Sukkot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Judaica 101: Sukkot".
...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD. -Leviticus 23:34
The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu , the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R'galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu'ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif , the Festival of Ingathering.
The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is "Sue COAT," but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with "BOOK us." The name of the holiday is frequently translated "Feast of Tabernacles," which, like many translations of Jewish terms, isn't very useful. This translation is particularly misleading, because the word "tabernacle" in the Bible refers to the portable Sanctuary in the desert, a precursor to the Temple, called in Hebrew "mishkan." The Hebrew word "sukkah" (plural: "sukkot") refers to the temporary booths that people lived in, not to the Tabernacle.
Sukkot lasts for seven days. The two days following the festival, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, are separate holidays but are related to Sukkot and are commonly thought of as part of Sukkot.
The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33 et seq. No work is permitted on the first and second days of the holiday. (See Extra Day of Holidays for an explanation of why the Bible says one day but we observe two). Work is permitted on the remaining days. These intermediate days on which work is permitted are referred to as Chol Ha-Mo'ed, as are the intermediate days of Passover.
why didn't jewish have a Thanksgiving Day ?
Sukkot was the original Thanksgiving. Jews celebrate TWO Thanksgivings -- the Jewish Thanksgiving and the American Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims were extremely religious and had lived among the Jews of Holland learning Hebrew and much about Jewish holidays. When landing in America, they used Sukkot as a guide for the American holiday.
Many Americans, upon seeing a decorated sukkah for the first time, remark on how much the sukkah (and the holiday generally) reminds them of Thanksgiving. This may not be entirely coincidental: I was taught that our American pilgrims, who originated the Thanksgiving holiday, borrowed the idea from Sukkot. The pilgrims were deeply religious people. When they were trying to find a way to express their thanks for their survival and for the harvest, they looked to the Bible for an appropriate way of celebrating and found Sukkot. This is not the standard story taught in public schools today (that a Thanksgiving holiday is an English custom that the Pilgrims brought over), but the Sukkot explanation of Thanksgiving fits better with the meticulous research of Mayflower historian Caleb Johnson, who believes that the original Thanksgiving was a harvest festival (as is Sukkot), that it was observed in October (as Sukkot usually is), and that Pilgrims would not have celebrated a holiday that was not in the Bible (but Sukkot is in the Bible). Although Mr. Johnson claims that the first Thanksgiving was "not a religious holiday or observance," he apparently means this in a Christian sense, because he goes on to say that the first Thanksgiving was instead "a harvest festival that included feasts, sporting events, and other activities," concepts very much in keeping with the Jewish religious observance of Sukkot. See Religious Beliefs of the Pilgrims and Debunking a Popular Internet Lesson Plan.
Jewish people - What is a succah and why do you build one for Sukkot? Thanks?
Following on the heels of the High Holidays is Sukkot, a seven-day festival (8 days in the Diaspora) characterized by the outdoor Sukkah-huts that we sit in, and the "Four Species" of plants waved together each day.
Sukkot is a holiday of immense joy, where we express our complete trust in G-d, and celebrate our confidence in having received a "good judgment" for the coming year.
Throughout the week of Sukkot, we eat, sleep and socialize in a Sukkah, reminding us that:
* The Israelites lived in huts during the 40 years of wandering in the desert.
* G-d is our ultimate protection -- just as He protected the Israelites in the desert with the Clouds of Glory (Exodus 13:21).
The Four Species
On Sukkot, we are commanded to wave the Four Species, each noted for its special beauty:
* Esrog – the citron, a fragrant fruit with a thick, white rind. It is often picked from the tree while green, and then ripens to a bright yellow.
* Lulav – the palm branch, which is defined in beauty by having a straight shape and leaves tightly bound.
* Hadas – the myrtle branch, which has a beautiful plated pattern of three leaves coming out from the same point in the branch.
* Arava – the willow branch, which should have oblong leaves with a smooth edge.
We bind all the branches together -- two willows on the left, one palm branch in the center, and three myrtles on the right. We then lift them together with the Esrog and shake it in all directions, as a symbol of G-d's mastery over all Creation.
The Four Species are waved each day (except for Shabbat) in the synagogue, during the recitation of the Hallel prayers of praise. Hallel is followed by Hoshanot, where everyone circles a Torah scroll held on the Bima.
It is a special tradition to "beautify" this mitzvah by getting the nicest species available. At the very least, there are specific requirements to be valid for the mitzvah. Since the details are many and technical, it is not recommended to search through the forest on your own for these species! (Particularly the Esrog, which can easily be confused with a lemon.)
The Sukkah Hut
Building your own Sukkah is a great activity to share with your family and friends. The Sukkah must be at least 27 inches by 27 inches square. It can be built in a yard, apartment balcony, or even on the back of an elephant.
Your Sukkah needs at least two complete walls and a small part of a third wall. The walls can be of any material, as long as they are sturdy enough to withstand a normal wind. The walls should be at least 38 inches high (96 cm), but not higher than 30 feet (9.6 m).
You don't have to build walls especially for the Sukkah; you can use the side of a building, or even a hedge of bushes. And if you can find an area that is already enclosed by 2 or 3 walls, then your job will be that much easier!
The roof material (S'chach) must be made from material that grows from the ground -- i.e. branches or leaves (but not metal). If you're using unfinished boards, they cannot be wider than 15 inches. Also, the material must be presently detached from the ground. This means that nothing can be overhanging your Sukkah – not a tree, a gutter, air-conditioning unit, etc.
The roof must be sufficiently covered so that it gives more shade than sun during the daytime, yet it should be sufficiently open so that the stars are visible through the roof at night. The roof material can only be added after the requisite number of walls are in place.
Since the Sukkah is designated as your "home" for the next seven days, it is customary to decorate it nicely. Many people hang fruits and flowers from the ceiling, and tape posters of Jerusalem and other Jewish themes on the walls.
It is also traditional to "welcome" the seven shepherds of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron, Joseph and David) as guests (ushpizin) into one's Sukkah throughout the festival.
More Sukkot Traditions
It is a special mitzvah to rejoice on Sukkot. To this end, the intermediate days of Sukkot are marked by celebrations called Simchat Beit HaSho'eva, commemorating the water libations that were offered during Sukkot in the Holy Temple.
Sukkot is closely connected to "water," as it is the day of universal judgment with regard to the blessings of rain and irrigation for the coming year.
Sukkot is also a time of universal blessing for all peoples -- symbolized by the 70 additional offerings brought in the Temple, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world.
The Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, is read on Shabbat during Sukkot. The theme of Ecclesiastes is the folly of pursuing temporal pleasures of this world, as opposed to more eternal spiritual pursuits. Indeed, the Sukkah's flimsy construction reminds us that material possessions are transient.
The seventh day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabba, which features seven circuits around the bima, with the Four Species in hand.