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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

SUKKOT

Sukkot, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It follows the solemn holiday of Yom kippur.

When the sons of Israel were traveling in the desert, they lived in huts that are called "sukkot". Leviticus, 23,34: " The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord."

Deuteronomy, 16,13 :" Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine." 14, "And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates."

SUKKAH-SEPT-13
A sukka.

In Leviticus 23,40, 42,43: God told Moses to command the people : « 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 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".

This agricultural holiday lasts seven days (eight in the diaspora). The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, "booth or tabernacle", which is a walled structure covered with skhakh (plant material such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm leaves). The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well.

CITRON-SOUKKOT-SEPT-13

Since Sukkot celebrates the harvest in the land of Israel, another custom on Sukkot involves waving the lulav and etrog. Together the lulav and etrog represent the Four Species. The etrog is a kind of citron (related to a lemon), while the lulav is made of three myrtle twigs (hadassim), two willow twigs (aravot) and a palm frond (lulav). Because the palm frond is the largest of these plants, the myrtle and willow are wrapped around it. During Sukkot, the lulav and etrog are waved together while reciting special blessings.

The holiday immediately following Sukkot is known as Shemini Atzeret (lit. "Eighth [Day] of Assembly"). Shemini Atzeret is usually viewed as a separate holiday.In the Diaspora a second additional holiday, Simchat Torah (lit. "Joy of the Torah"), is celebrated.