What is Sukkot?
September 24 - 30, 2018 • 15 -21 Tishrei, 5779
Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, instituted in the book of Leviticus, is a seven day festival beginning five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. Sukkot is one of the Shalosh Regalim, three pilgrimage festivals, that includes Passover and Shavuot. Sukkot both celebrates the harvest and commemorates the type of dwelling the Israelites lived in during their 40 years of wandering through the desert.
Building a Sukkah
The walls should be made from natural materials that will
withstand an ordinary wind and the roof should be made of a material that grew from the earth, was cut off from the earth and is not susceptible to contamination. Examples are tree branches, corn stalks, bamboo reeds and sticks. You must be able to see the night sky through the roof and there should be at least 2.5 walls.
ברוך אתה ה׳ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לישב בסוכה
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu leishev ba sukah.
"Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah."
Lulav and Etrog:
Together, the lulav and etrog symbolize the four species of the season. It is a bundle of one palm, two myrtle and three willow branches.
PALM represents the spine, where our actions emanate
WILLOW represents the mouth, our speech
MYRTLE represents the eye, how we see life
ETROG represents the heart, the center of our emotions
ברוך אתה ה׳ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת לולב
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al netilat lulav.
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning the waving of the lulav."
What are Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah?
October 1 - 2, 2018 • 22 -23 Tishrei, 5779
Shemini Atzeret literally means “the assembly of the eighth (day)” and is seen as
an extension of the holiday of Sukkot as well as a holiday in its own right. There are
references to the holiday in the Torah and the Talmud, however, rabbis are unclear about
its meaning. It is on Shemini Atzeret that the Jewish people begin to pray for rain.
Simchat Torah means “Rejoicing in the Torah” and celebrates the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. On Simchat Torah, both the final Torah portion and the first Torah portion are read immediately following one another to symbolize that the reading of the Torah is a continual cycle and we are never truly done. Traditionally, this holiday is celebrated by dancing
and singing with the Torah in the synagogue. In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated on the same day, while in the Diaspora, each has its own day.