Sunday, December 4th | 10 Kislev 5783

Subscribe
October 8, 2022 11:50 pm
0

A Sukkot Guide for the Perplexed

avatar by Yoram Ettinger

Opinion

A Jewish worshipper holds the Four Species, used in rituals on the holiday of Sukkot, as he takes part in the priestly blessing at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, amid Israel’s second-wave coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Jerusalem’s Old City, Oct. 5, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Here are seven things you should know about the upcoming holiday of Sukkot:

1. Sukkot is a national Jewish liberation holiday, commemorating the transition of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt to liberty and sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Sukkot is the third Jewish pilgrimage holiday (following Passover and Shavouot/Pentecost), which highlights faith, reality-based-optimism, liberty from Egyptian bondage, can-do mentality, and the defiance of odds.

2. Sukkot commemorates the Biblical exodus. It derives its name from the first stop out of Egypt — the town of Sukkot — as documented in Exodus 13:20-22 and Numbers 33:3-5. Sukkot was also the name of Jacob’s first stop west of the Jordan River, upon returning to the Land of Israel from his 20-year-work for Laban in Aram (Genesis 33:17). Sukkot underscores the gradual transition from the spiritual state-of-mind during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, to the mundane of the rest of the year, and from religious tenets of Judaism to the formation of the national, historic, and geographical Jewish identity.

3. The seven days of Sukkot — which are celebrated in the seventh Jewish month, Tishrei — are dedicated to seven supreme principle-driven, national Jewish leaders, who were compassionate and brave shepherds, and who initiated ground-breaking and game-changing initiatives: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.

Related coverage

December 4, 2022 2:20 pm

The Anti-Bibi Resistance Isn’t Protecting Israel’s Best Interests

JNS.org - Prior to the recent Israeli election, it was clear that Benjamin Netanyahu’s left-wing opponents and their sympathizers in...

4. Sukkot features the following four species: the citron (representing King David, the author of Psalms), the palm branch (representing Joseph), myrtle branches (representing the three Patriarchs), and willow branches (representing Moses and Aharon, the role models of humility), which are bonded together, representing the unity-through-diversity of the Jewish people.

5. Traditionally, Sukkot is dedicated to the study of the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, which highlights humility, morality, patience, learning from past mistakes, commemoration and historical perspective, family, friendship, long-term thinking, proper timing, realism, and knowledge. The late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest serving US Senator, often quoted Biblical verses, in general, and Ecclesiastes, in particular. For example, on November 7, 2008, upon his retirement from the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he stated: “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).”

6. Sukkot emphasizes humility, as demonstrated by the seven-day-relocation from one’s permanent dwelling to the temporary, humble, wooden booth (Sukkah), which sheltered the people of Israel during the exodus.

7.  Sukkot expresses the yearning for reality-driven universal peace, highlighting the Sukkah of Peace (Sukkat Shalom).

The author is a commentator and former Israeli ambassador.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.