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October 10, 2003 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

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AppleTree Editor

When The Holiday Occurs: The
first day of Sukkot is the 15th of
Tishrei. This year, Sukkot begins
the evening of Friday, Oct. 10.

What It Celebrates: Sukkot recalls
the sukkot, or booths, where the
Israelites lived after the Exodus.
Leviticus 23:39-43 tells how God
commanded the Jews to live in the
sukkot, as well as
to take "the fruit of goodly trees,
branches of palm trees and boughs
of thick trees and willows of the
brook" to use to "rejoice before the

which looks something like a fat
lemon, is the "fruit of goodly trees"
mentioned in Leviticus.
Holding the lulav and etrog
together, families stand in the
sukkah and, according to Ashkenazi
custom, gently shake first to the
east, then the south, the west, the
north, and finally up and down.
(This also is done during the Hallel
prayer at synagogue services.)
In the days of the Holy Temple,
Sukkot was a pilgrimage holiday,
and Jewish families from every-
where would come to Jerusalem.
Long ago, Sukkot also included
Simchat Beit ha Shoevah, the Water-
Drawing Festival, when holiday cel-
ebrations featured musical and


Also Known As ...
Sukkot has many
names in the
Tanach (Hebrew
Bible). The most
familiar is probably
"Feast of
Tabernacles" (in
Leviticus and


Others include
"Feast of the
(Exodus), "The
Feast" (I Kings),
and "Feast of the
Lord" (Leviticus
and Judges).

A sukkah of bamboo, steel, branches, twigs, reeds,
straw and sand
dance presentations, often with
How To Celebrate: The sukkah is
torches. These events, which lasted
our home for seven days and
until dawn, were said to be amaz-
nights, too, for those who actually
ingly wonderful; tradition says that
want to sleep there.
whoever did not experience one
On Sukkot, we use the lulav and
had never really seen a festival.
etrog, also known as the arba ah
Today, once the sukkah has been
minim, four species. The lulav con-
built, the major activity that takes
sists of a date-palm frond to which
places within is eating. All meals,
are tied branches from the willow
and even snacks, should be eaten in
and myrtle trees. The Israelites,
the sukkah, except when it's raining
wandering in the desert, used these
to make the first sukkot. The etrog,

Hoshanah Rabbah And
Shemini Atzeret: The seventh
day of Sukkot (this year, begin-
ning the evening of Friday,
Oct. 17) is Hoshanah Rabbah,
both a festival and a day of
judgment. According to tradi-
tion, on Rosh Hashanah God
made his-decision regarding
our futures. He sealed it on
Yom Kippur. Yet we have until
Hoshanah Rabbah to mend
our ways before God makes
His judgment final.
An Israeli Jew inspects the tips of the palm branch
Synagogue services on
Hoshanah Rabbah include
worshippers holding an etrog
and lulav and making seven
times. A priest would fill a golden
circuits around the sanctuary, dur-
pitcher with water. When he
ing which time special prayers, or
returned from this task, he was
Hashanas, are said.
greeted by a crowd that watched as
The last day of Sukkot (this year, the priest poured the water and
beginning the evening of Saturday,
wine into a container on the
Oct. 18) is Shemini Atzeret.
Temple alter.
Known as "the festival of conclu-
sion," it is mentioned in the
Tanach (Leviticus 23:36,
Deuteronomy 16:8, and Isaiah
1:13) as "a holy convocation." -
Shemini Atzeret has the distinc-
tion of being both part of Sukkot
and a separate holiday. Observant
families do not drive, work or
write on Shemini Atzeret (and fol-
low all other. rules associated with
any major Jewish observance).
But there. are no real rituals
for the holiday. The one
exception comes during
davening, when congre-
gations recite Hallel and
Yizkor, and also say a
prayer for rain, called
Tefillat Geshem. (This
is rainfall season in
Israel, and we wish
for farmers all
that they will
Reciting Tefillat
Geshem is a practice
An etrog
that began in Talmudic

10 / 10


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