“On the fifteenth day of this seventh month (five days after Yom Kippur) the festival of Sukkot (shall be celebrated) seven days unto the Lord. “
The High Holyday season culminates with the joyous festival of Sukkot, known to many as the “Feast of Booths.” It marks a significant transition from the solemnity of previous holidays to a more celebratory atmosphere. The historical significance of Sukkot lies in the biblical account of Israelites’ departure from Egypt, their covenant with God at Mount Sinai, and their dwelling in thatched huts, eager to enter Canaan. In Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, Sukkot is named as the final festival, marking the end of the Exodus process. Today, the celebration of Sukkot involves home observance and special synagogue worship, including reciting the Hallel and reading special portions from the Torah. The tradition also includes building a sukkah and carrying the Four Species. Overall, each festival of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot carries its unique flavor, customs, and traditions, ultimately bringing us together in celebration.
Sukkot is a festival that extends for nine days, with the first two and last two considered major observance days, while the five intermediate days are of secondary importance. In Israel, the festival is observed for eight days, with the larger celebration limited to the first and last days. The sukkah is the focal point of the festival, which means “covering” or “shelter.” Historically, the Israelites lived in temporary dwellings during their journey through the Sinai desert. Sukkot observance entails living in a sukkah for seven days, primarily for eating and study, but some people also sleep in their sukkahs. Sharing meals with others is also an integral part of the festival. Overall, Sukkot is a festival of thanksgiving and unity, promoting shared heritage and the joy of celebration.
Taken from the book “Celebration The Book Of Jewish Festivals“
Let’s Build a Sukkah!
Picture a giant fort made of branches, leaves, and twigs. It’s like a treehouse, but on the ground. Grab some cushions, a table, and add your own personal touch to make it cozy and welcoming for all your friends and family to hang out in.
When building your sukkah, the sky’s the limit! Well, actually, your sukkah roof should allow you to see the sky but you get the point. You can use any lightweight material sturdy enough to withstand some wind. From canvas to wood, aluminum, or fiberglass – the choice is yours.
As for the walls, they should be no taller than 35 feet or shorter than 35 inches. And don’t forget about the most important part: the roof. You can add some sparse wooden slats and greenery to create a natural feel. Want to get really fancy? Add some windows and electricity for some extra pizzazz!
The best part of building a sukkah is getting creative with the decorations. Whether it’s hanging apples and gourds, making cranberry strings, or pinning up greeting cards and posters, anything goes! Even plastic streamers and crepe paper can add some fun to your sukkah party. Get your family and friends involved and let the building and decorating festivities begin!