Jewish Feast Sukkot: The Welcoming, Glorious Jewish Feast Of The Tabernacle

 

Sukkot, or feast of the tabernacle in the English translation, is an ancient Jewish holiday that remembers the Jewish exodus out of Egypt lead by Moses. To celebrate the liberation, modern-day practitioners construct ceremonial tent-like structures called a Sukkah in which they eat, pray and sometimes sleep.

The Jewish Feast of the Tabernacle, Sukkot, in 2015 The Festival of Booths, as Sukkot is also known, is observed from the 15th to the 21st of the Tishrei in the Jewish year of 5776.

Sukkot is one of three biblically mandated holidays for which the ancient tribes made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. The holiday is based on the verse: “Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your [ensuing] generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">A Jewish man inspects a citron (or 'Etrog' in Hebrew), one of four plant species to be used during the celebration of Sukkot, the feast of the Tabernacles, in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya on September 25, 2015. </span>

The commandment regarding the “four species” — the lulav (palm, willow and myrtle) and etrog (citron) — also comes from chapter 23 of Leviticus: “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day [of Sukkot], the fruit of the hadar tree [myrtle], date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for a seven day period” (23:40). The lulav and etrog are held together and, after reciting a blessing, waved in six directions — forward, backward, left, right, up and down — in acknowledgment of God’s dominion over all creation.

Once in the hut, people are handed a date palm branch, citrus fruit, myrtle and willow. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Another important aspect of Sukkot is welcoming of guests (ushpizin in Aramaic) into the sukkah. While people actually invite friends, family and strangers into their hand-built temporary homes, on each night of Sukkot a different ancestral guest, leading the entire group of “holy shepherds,” is said to enter the sukkah, and Jewish teachings are invoked in their names.

The ushpizin — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David — embody seven different spiritual paths that, together, bring humanity and all of creation to a more perfected state: Abraham is lovingkindness, Isaac is strength, Jacob represents harmony, Moses is eternality through Torah, Aaron is divine splendor, Joseph is spiritual foundation and David embodies sovereignty.

In modern times, Jewish people have invented unique ways of celebrating Sukkot that their ancestors could have never imagined. The ‘Pedi-Sukkah’ is a modified pedi-cab that has a Sukkah attached to the back. The mobile huts are used to spread awareness of the holiday.

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