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What Is Succot
Succot is a holiday rich in tradition and meaning. From the holding of the Lulav and Etrog to the sitting in a Succah, the holiday is filled with symbolism to express our relationship to G-d. Succot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur and commemorates how protective ''Clouds of Glory'' surrounded the Jewish people after leaving Egypt during the forty years of wandering in the desert. It commemorates how the Jews lived in temporary dwellings during that same time. Likewise we leave the safety and security of our houses and put ourselves for seven days under the direct protection of G-d Almighty in our Succah following the guidelines of Leviticus Chapter 23. A sukkah may be free-standing, or include one or two sides of a building or porch in its structure. The roof of a sukkah, however, must be of organic material that is detached from the ground.
Four Species of Succot
Leviticus 23:39-43 first presents the Mitzvah of the Four Species, arbaa minim, and then the Mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah and its symbolism. The four kinds are Etrog, Lulav -palm branch, Hadas - avot tree branch, Aravah - willows of the brook. A bracha is said on the four species everyday of Sukkot. The well-known mitzvah of Sukkot is that of taking the four Minim involved and all must be present to properly fulfill it. While all mitzvot should be performed in the best manner possible, hiddur mitzvah, beautifying the mitzvah, especially applies to the Four Species. In order to be able to choose the 4 minim properly a special market is being prepared before the holiday where many merchants bring their selection. This four species market, Shuk arbaat Haminim, is a real pleasure to wander through and see the various customers from all different congregations selecting a set of four species for themselves and their families. TO SEE ONE OF OUR ETROG BOXES, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK.
see etrog box
Ushpizin Succot Guests
During each day of the holiday, Jews invite seven spiritual Ushpizin –Aramaic for house guests, to be with them in the Sukkah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David are the Succot guests to whom we open our homes symbolically. In former generations it was the custom to have poor persons invited to a Sukkot meal or to the Seder. The virtue of hospitality to guests goes back to our first partriarch, Abraham and should always be performed. Morover Maimonides admonished that anyone who sits comfortably only with his family and does not share with the poor is not regarded as performing the whole Mitzvah. TREAT YOUR GUESTS TO SPECIAL SUKKOT FOOD. TO SEE OUR SPECIAL SUKKOT RECIPES PLEASE CLICK THE LINK.
On the last day of Succot also called Shemini Atzeret we celebrate Simchat Torah, Hebrew for rejoicing in the Law. It celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. Simchat Torah is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life and demonstrate a living example of never-ending, lifelong study. Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue or as in Israel on the streets.
Simchat Beit Hashoeva
Since the days of the Temple one of the most joyful celebrations in Israel was the Drawing of the Water during Sukkot. At that time, when sacrifices were offered in the Holy Temple, wine and oil were poured at the altar. On Chol Hamoed, Intermediate days Sukkot there was also a special ceremony entailing the pouring of water. The water used for the ceremony was drawn the night before from the Shiloach spring and this was done with great festivity with a lot of singing and dancing. This was called Simchat Beit Hashoeva - the Joy of the Drawing.'' Today's Simchat Beit Hashoeva is a commemoration of that one, and a fulfillment of the Mitzvah to rejoice on the holiday of Sukkot.
Eating in the Sukkah
As we are supposed to dwell in our sukkah during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering it goes without saying that it is a Mitzvah to eat all meals in the sukkah. Before eating in the sukkah, the following blessing is recited: Blessed are You, Lord our G d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah. To find our family's recipes to eat in your Sukkah please click the link below.