What Is Sukkot? The History of Sukkot, Once the Most Important Jewish Holiday

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Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that falls five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot celebrates the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection God provided to the children of Israel when they left Egypt.


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What Is Sukkot? The History of Sukkot---credit:chabad

What Is Sukkot? The History of Sukkot 

We celebrate Sukkot by dwelling in a leaf-covered booth (known as sukkah) and carrying the "four types" (arba minim), four particular species of vegetation.

The first two days of the holiday (a day in Israel) are Yom Tov (from 20 September until nightfall on 22 September), when work is forbidden, candles are lit in the evening, and kiddush and honey before the festive meal. Include the dipped invoice in.

The intervening days (night on 22 September until sunset on 27 September in 2021) are semi-holidays, known as Chola hamoyeds. We live in sukkah and take four types of sukkah every day (except on Shabbat, when we do not take four types).

The last two days (until sunset on 28 September until nightfall on 29 September 2021) are a separate holiday (one day in Israel): Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah.

Importance of Sukkot

Of all the Jewish holidays, Sukkot is the only one whose date does not commemorate a historical event. The Torah refers to it by two names: Chag Hasif ("Festival of the Gathering," or "Harvest Festival") and Chag Hasukot ("Festival of Booths"), each expressing a reason for the holiday.

In Israel, crops grow in winter and are ready for harvesting in late spring. Some of them stay outside to dry in the field for a few months and are ready to be harvested only in early fall. Chhag Hasif It's time to express appreciation for this bounty.

The name Chag Hasukkot recalls the temporary dwellings that God built to shelter our ancestors when they left Egypt (some say it refers to the miraculous clouds of glory that protect us from the desert sun, while Others say it refers to the tent they inhabited for their 40-year trek through the Sinai Desert).

Residence in Sukkaho

For seven days and nights, we eat all our food in the Sukha and otherwise consider it our home. Situated under open skies, the sukkah is made up of at least three walls and a roof of unprocessed natural vegetation – usually bamboo, cedar branches or palm branches.

The goal is to spend as much time in Sukkah, at least in order to eat all the food in Sukkah - especially the festive meal on the first two nights of the holiday, when we must eat at least one piece the size of an olive. Bread or mezzonaut (grain based food) in Sukha. The Chabad custom is not to eat or drink anything outside the Sukha. Some people even sleep in a sukha (this is not a Chabad custom).

take four types

Rabbi Danny Cohen of Chabad, Hebron, and his son Shanir offer lulav and etrog to a soldier during Sukkot. (Photo: Israel Bardugo)

Rabbi Danny Cohen of Chabad, Hebron, and his son Shanir offer lulav and etrog to a soldier during Sukkot. (Photo: Israel Bardugo)

Another sukkot rearing is of four types: one etrog (citron), one lulav (palm frond), three hadsim (myrtle twigs) and two arvot (willow twigs).

On each day of the festival (except Shabbat), we take four types, read a blessing on them, bring them together and wave them in all six directions: right, left, forward, up, down, and back. The saints of Midrash tell us that the four types represent the different personalities that comprise the community of Israel, whose inner unity we emphasize at Sukkot.

Hoshnot and Hoshana Rabbahi

Every day of Sukkot we recite a collection of psalms of praise (Psalms 113–118) as part of the morning prayer service. Every day for Shabbat, we recite Halel wearing the four types, waving them in all directions at certain key points in the service, which are outlined in the siddur (prayer book).

Next, we circle the four types of bima (the podium on which the Torah is read), reciting an alphabetically arranged prayer for divine aid known as the hoshnot.

The seventh day of the holiday is known as Hoshana Rabba. It is the day when our fate for the coming year – which was signed on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur – is finalized. On this day we go around the insurance seven times. We also say a short prayer and strike the ground five times with bundles of five willows (also called hoshnot).

Sukot in the Sacred Temple

In the days of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, there was a special system of sacrifices that had to be brought to the altar. At least 13 calves, two rams, and 14 lambs were to be slaughtered on the first day. Everyday,

The number of bulls was reduced to less than one. In total, 70 bulls were brought, which corresponded to the 70 countries of the world.

Along with Passover and Shout, Sukkot is one of three annual pilgrimages when every male Jew was to be in Jerusalem. Every seven years, at Sukkot, the king read aloud the Torah to the whole country—men, women, and children. To celebrate this special meeting

was known by the name.

water and happiness

On Sukkot, God determines how much rain will fall that winter (the primary rainy season in Israel). Thus, while every sacrifice in the temple involved wine being poured on the altar, at Sukot, water was also poured on the altar in a special ceremony. The ritual generated such joy that it was celebrated with music, dance and singing throughout the night. This festival was called "Simchat Bet Hashoeva".

Even today, when there is no temple, it is customary to hold nightly ceremonies that include singing and dancing (and even live music in the days between the holidays).

This holiday is so joyful that in Talmudic times, when someone said the word chhag ("holiday") without informing them, you could know they were referring to sukkot.

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