Image of Etrog and Lulav, Hadassim and Aravot resting on a Tallit (ritual prayer shawl) [Photo Credit: Comunità Ebraica di Roma]
The festive biblical holiday of Sukkot is approaching fast. This is simply one of my favorite holidays. The warm autumn weather in Israel is perfect for Sukkot, which we celebrate mostly outdoors. This holiday serves as a commemoration of sojourning through the dessert on their way to the Promised Land of Israel, after being liberated from slavery in Egypt. During the time in the desert, the Jewish people lived in Sukkot, temporary huts, that they could transport from location to location during their long 40-year journey. Life in the dessert was challenging for the young nation, but one which ultimately strengthened their faith in G-d and in his ability to provide for them under any circumstances. It is this faith that is celebrated on Sukkot.
We also incorporate the following customs into the day:
- On the first day of Sukkot (Wednesday night and Thursday day), we refrain from various forms of physical labor (similar to the Sabbath).
- We sleep and eat in a Sukkah or hut. (There are various criteria for a hut or temporary enclosure to be considered a valid Sukkah.)
- We shake a Lulav and Etrog, consisting of 4 species of plants, because each of the four species represents different types of Jews and Jewish unity is one of the central themes of Sukkot.
- 1 Lulav – a closed frond of the date palm tree.
- 3 Hadassim – Myrtle branches.
- 2 Aravot – Willow branches.
- 1 Etrog – Citron fruit.
- Last but not least, we read from select portions of the bible that relate to the laws of the festival.
This year, in Israel the holiday of Sukkot will begin at sundown Wednesday, October 4th, and conclude at sunset on Wednesday, October 11th. In anticipation of the holiday of Sukkot and the new year, consider helping us fight BDS and support small businesses in Israel all while receiving beautiful boutique products produced by the pioneers of the Judea and Samaria regions of Israel. Consider becoming a member of Lev Haolam’s Surprise Monthly Package Project.
From us here at Lev Haolam to you and yours, have a happy and joyous Sukkot!