What is Sukkot, and why is it celebrated?

Jewish Holidays -

What is Sukkot, and why is it celebrated?

Sukkot, Sukkot, Sukkot! (some people say, "suckas.")

Sukkot is a weeklong holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement (Yom Ha-Kippurim, in Hebrew). The Torah refers to Sukkot as Chag,(holiday or celebration) Ha-Asif and Chag Ha-Sukkot. 

You have enjoyed your apples and honey, you're written in the Book of Life, and the high holidays have passed, and it’s back to your routine.  Wait, not quite yet.

You forgot Sukkot! 

What is Sukkot, and why is it celebrated?

sukkot 2020

Sukkot honors the wandering of the ancient Israelites after they escaped Egypt. For 40 years, they slept in tents,  40 YEARS PEOPLE!!  Rabbis remind us, “if our ancestors, our brothers, could do it for 40 years,  WELL….we can do it for a week”!

The main goal should be to spend as much as you can in the Sukkah, and if not, at least eat the festive meals inside the Sukkah for the first two nights.  The Sukkah is something many take pride in building themselves.  You will find Arba Minim/ Four Kinds, some say, symbolizing the different levels of Torah knowledge. 

 

You celebrate Sukkot by dwelling inside the Sukkah (booth/tent). 

  • The first two nights are festive, and meals are eaten inside the Sukkah.  Candles are lit, Kiddush is about to begin, the Challah gets dipped in honey, and the meal can begin.  These first two days, 10/2/2020-10/4/2020 known as Yom Tov (Good day) work is not allowed. ( In Israel is it only one day, other places may be until nightfall of day 2)
  • The days between 10/04/2020 - 10/9/2020 at nightfall are called Chol Hamoed. You take the Arba Minim/ Four Kinds every day (Except for Shabbat) and enjoy your time inside the Sukkah… it’s a party.
  • The last and final two days (and only 1 in Israel), sundown 10/04/2020 - 10/9/2020 at nightfall, are called Shemini Atzeret - Simchat Torah which is another holiday.  

You get to get shakin'.

Did you know the Lulav and Etrog symbolize the end of the harvest season?  YES, it is fun shaking them while they do represent something.  

In the old days, Jews shook the lulav and etrog in hopes of a good harvest. Shake it to the left, shake it to the right, up up down down. (Actually, This Is How You Shake a Lulav and Etrog.) 

If you don't do this, we highly recommend it -- and our kids think it's fun. PS -- How to Buy a Lulav and Etrog, an excellent summary from our friends My Jewish Learning.

Here is a happy fun Shakin' the Lulav (Sukkot song)


Sukkot 2020 will begin in the evening of Friday, October 2 and ends in the evening of Friday, October 9


From all of us at Proud Jews T-Shirts -- Happy Sukkot! May your Sukkah know only warmth and good cheer!  SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE