Sukkot - the holiday of joy!
When does Sukkot begin this year?
The Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the 7th day after
Yom Kippur. This year Sukkot will begin on the October 7, 2006
of the Gregorian calendar.
Remember that all Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the date before
the date specified here.
Why do we celebrate Sukkot?
The word "Sukkot" means "booths,"
and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday. Sukkot has a
dual significance: historical and agricultural:
The holiday commemorates the forty-year period of
the wanderings of the Jews in desert after their Exodus from the hands
of the Egyptians, when they had to dwell in makeshift booths or huts. Sukkot is also a harvest festival, the Fruit Harvest when we thank
G-d for giving us such a bounty produce.
What are the customs of Sukkot?
During this holiday we are commanded to dwell in
temporary shelters (sukkah), as our ancestors did in the wilderness.
Another observance related to Sukkot involves what
are known as The Four Species (arba minim in Hebrew) or the lulav
and etrog. We are commanded to take these four plants and use them
to "rejoice before the
What is Sukkah?
is a booth built of wood and branches.
The sukkah has at least three sides and a partially open roof covered
with greenery. Part of the fun of sukkot is decorating the sukkah
with fruits and, in the United States, autumn vegetables like corn
Some people even put in their good furniture and carpets if the
climate permits. The commandment to "dwell" in a sukkah
can be fulfilled by simply eating all of one's meals there. If the
weather, climate, and one's health permit, one should live in the
sukkah as much as possible, including sleeping in it for all seven
days of the Sukkot.
What are the 4 species (Arbah Minim)?
The word Lulav is used as the generic term for all the 4 species.
four species in question are an etrog (a citrus fruit native to Israel),
a palm branch (in Hebrew, lulav), two willow branches (arava) and
three myrtle twigs (hadas).
The general custom is to bind the branches so that when the lulav
is held with the spine of the lulav facing the holder, the hadassim
the holder's right and the aravot are to the holder's left. The etrog
is held separately.
With these four species in hand, one recites a blessing and waves
the species in all six directions (east, south, west, north, up and
down, symbolizing the fact that G-d is everywhere).
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