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For the biblical location, see Sukkot (place). Sukkot Sukkot in Jerusalem, Israel Official name Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת "Booths, Tabernacles" Observed by Jews, Hebrews, Israelites Significance One of the three pilgrim festivals Begins 15th day of Tishrei Ends 21st day of Tishrei (22nd outside of Israel) 2009 date sunset, October 2 to sunset, October 9 / 10 2010 date sunset, September 22 to sunset, September 29 / 30 Observances Eating in sukkah, taking the Four Species, hakafot in Synagogue. Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It is one of the three Biblically mandated Shalosh regalim on which Jews and Believers make pilgrimages to pre-determined sites to worship and fellowship Temple in Jerusalem. The Holy Day lasts seven days, including Chol Hamoed and is immediately followed by another festive day known as Shemini Atzeret/The Last Great Day. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, "booth or tabernacle", which is a walled structure covered with flora, such as tree branches or bamboo shoots. The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Throughout the holiday the sukkah becomes the primary living area of one's home. All meals are eaten inside the sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog, or Four species.[1] According to Zechariah, in the messianic era Sukkot will become a universal festival and all nations will make pilgrimages annually to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast there.[2] Contents 1 Origin and ancient observance 1.1 Rabbinic Jewish interpretations 2 Laws and customs 2.1 Prayers 2.2 Chol HaMoed 2.3 Hakhel 2.4 Simchat Beit HaShoevah 2.5 Hoshana Rabbah 3 Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links 7.1 Jewish 7.1.1 General 7.1.2 By religious movement 7.2 Christian // Origin and ancient observance Sukkot was agricultural in origin. This is evident from the biblical name "The Feast of Ingathering,"[3] from the ceremonies accompanying it, from the season – “The festival of the seventh month”[4] – and occasion of its celebration: "At the end of the year when you gather in your labors out of the field" (Ex. 23:16); "after you have gathered in from your threshing-floor and from your winepress" (Deut. 16:13). It was a thanksgiving for the fruit harvest. Coming as it did at the completion of the harvest, Sukkot was regarded as a general thanksgiving for the bounty of nature in the year that had passed. Sukkot became one of the most important feasts in Judaism, as indicated by its designation as “the Feast of the Lord”[5] or simply “the Feast”.[6] Perhaps because of its wide attendance, Sukkot became the appropriate time for important state ceremonies. Moses instructed the children of Israel to gather for a reading of the Law during Sukkot every seventh year (Deut. 31:10-11). King Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot (1 Kings 8; 2 Chron. 7). And Sukkot was the first sacred occasion observed after the resumption of sacrifices in Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 3:2-4). In Leviticus, God told Moses to command the people: “On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook” (Lev. 23:40), and “You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23:42-43). Rabbinic Jewish interpretations The Talmud, a major work of commentary in Rabbinic Judaism, expands on many of the passages that refer to Sukkot in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible). For example, it reveals a new angle on the story of Sukkot observance in the Book of Nehemiah. The Book of Nehemiah describes how, after the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites celebrated Sukkot by making and dwelling in booths. Nehemiah reports that “the Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua” (Neh. 8:13-17). However, the Talmud (Erkhin 32b) reasons that this cannot mean that the Israelites actually abstained from building booths for over nine hundred years, since "is it possible that the righteous King David never built a booth for Sukkot?". The Talmud concludes that Nehemiah would have referred to some specific characteristic of the booths in his time, rather than the booths themselves. The holiness that the Israelites had imparted to the land of Israel when they originally entered it with Joshua—which the land had lost once the tribes began to be exiled—was now returned to it forever by the returning exiles.[citation needed] (For this reason also, the laws of Shmita and Yovel, which are Mitzvot that are only in effect upon holy land, were newly reinstated by the returning exiles.[citation needed]) Malbim adds that Nehemiah's observation here was exclusive to the city of Jerusalem i.e. that Jerusalem had never been allowed to have booths built within it during the first temple era since—unlike the rest of Israel—it was not portioned exclusively to any one of the original thirteen tribes of Israel, rather it was the collective possession of all the tribes. Hence, Jerusalem was until now considered a public domain and was therefore not allowed to contain a booth, which can only be built, according to Halacha, within a private domain.[citation needed] Laws and customs Sukkahs constructed of different kinds of materials, used during the holiday for eating, sleeping, and other daily activities. Sukkot is a seven day holiday, with the first day celebrated as a full festival with special prayer services and holiday meals. The remaining days are known as Chol HaMoed ("festival weekdays"). The seventh day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabbah ("Great Hoshana", referring to the tradition that worshippers in the synagogue walk around the perimeter of the sanctuary during morning services) and has a special observance of its own. Outside Israel, the first two days are celebrated as full festivals. Throughout the week of Sukkot, meals are eaten in the sukkah and some families sleep there, although the requirement is waived in case of rain. Every day, a blessing is recited over the Lulav and the Etrog. Observance of Sukkot is detailed in the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible, the Mishnah (Sukkah 1:1–5:8); the Tosefta (Sukkah 1:1–4:28); and the Jerusalem Talmud (Sukkah 1a–) and Babylonian Talmud (Sukkah 2a–56b). Prayers Prayers during Sukkot include the reading of the Torah every day, saying the Mussaf (additional) service after morning prayers, reading the Hallel, and adding special supplications into the Amidah and grace after meals. In addition, the Four Species are taken on everyday of Sukkot except for Shabbat and are included in the Hallel and Hoshanot portions of the prayer. Hoshanot On each day of the festival, worshippers walk around the synagogue carrying their Four species while reciting psalm 118:25 and special prayers known as Hoshanot. This takes place either after the morning's Torah reading or at the end of Mussaf. This ceremony commemorates the willow ceremony at the Temple in Jerusalem, in which willow branches were piled beside the altar with worshipers parading around the altar reciting prayers. Ushpizin During the holiday, some Jews recite the ushpizin prayer which symbolises the welcoming of seven "exalted guests" into the sukkah. These ushpizin (Aramaic אושפיזין 'guests'), represent the seven shepherds of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. According to tradition, each night a different guest enters the sukkah followed by the other six. Each of the ushpizin has a unique lesson which teaches the parallels of the spiritual focus of the day on which they visit. Chol HaMoed Main article: Chol HaMoed The second through seventh days of Sukkot (third through seventh days outside Israel) are called Chol HaMoed (חול המועד - lit. "festival weekdays"). These days are considered by halakha to be more than regular weekdays but less than festival days. In practice, this means that all activities that are needed for the holiday—such as buying and preparing food, cleaning the house in honor of the holiday, or traveling to visit other people's sukkot or on family outings—are permitted by Jewish law. Activities that will interfere with relaxation and enjoyment of the holiday—such as laundering, mending clothes, engaging in labor-intensive activities—are not permitted. Observant Jews typically treat Chol HaMoed as a vacation period, eating nicer than usual meals in their sukkah, entertaining guests, visiting other families in their sukkot, and taking family outings. On the Shabbat which falls during the week of Sukkot (or in the event when the first day of Sukkot is on Shabbat), the Book of Ecclesiastes is read during morning synagogue services in Israel. (Diaspora communities read it the following Shabbat). This Book's emphasis on the ephemeralness of life ("Vanity of vanities, all is vanity...") echoes the theme of the sukkah, while its emphasis on death reflects the time of year in which Sukkot occurs (the "autumn" of life). The second-to-last verse reinforces the message that adherence to God and His Torah is the only worthwhile pursuit.[citation needed] Hakhel Main article: Hakhel In the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, all Jewish men, women, and children on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the festival would gather in the Temple courtyard on the first day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot to hear the Jewish king read selections from the Torah. This ceremony, which was mandated in Deuteronomy 31:10-13, was held every seven years, in the year following the Shmita (Sabbatical) year. This ceremony was discontinued after the destruction of the Temple, but it has been revived by some groups and by the government of Israel on a smaller scale.[citation needed] Simchat Beit HaShoevah Main article: Simchat Beit HaShoeivah During the Intermediate days of Sukkot, gatherings of music and dance, known as Simchat Beit HaShoeivah, take place. This commemorates the Water Libation Ceremony in which water was carried up the Jerusalem pilgrim road from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple in Jerusalem. Hoshana Rabbah Main article: Hoshana Rabbah The seventh day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah, meaning the "Great Supplication". This day is marked by a special service in which seven circuits are made by worshippers holding their Four species, reciting Psalm 118:25 with additional prayers. In addition, a bundle of five willow branches are beaten on the ground. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah Main articles: Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah The holiday immediately following Sukkot is known as Shemini Atzeret (lit. "Eighth [Day] of Assembly"). Shemini Atzeret is viewed as a separate holiday.[7] In the diaspora a second additional holiday, Simchat Torah (lit. "Joy of the Torah") is celebrated. In the Land of Israel, Simchat Torah is celebrated on Shemini Atzeret. On Shemini Atzeret the sukkah is left and meals are eaten inside the house. Outside of Israel, many eat in the sukkah without making the blessing. The sukkah is not used on Simchat Torah.[citation needed] See also Jewish holiday List of harvest festivals Harvest festival Ushpizin (film) Sukkah City - a public art and architecture competition planned for New York City's Union Square Park. References ^ Gabrielle A. Berlinger (2008) Ritual Interpretation: The Sukkah as Jewish Vernacular Architecture. M.A. Thesis, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University Bloomington. ^ Zech. 14:16-19. ^ Ex. 23:16, 34:22 ^ Ezek. 45:25; Neh. 8:14. ^ Lev. 23:39; Judges 21:19 ^ 1 Kings 8:2, 8:65; 12:32; 2 Chron. 5:3; 7:8 ^ Cf Talmud, Tractate Rosh Hashanah 4b, for rare cases where it is viewed as one. Further reading Chumney, Edward (1994). The Seven Festivals of the Messiah. Treasure House. ISBN 1560437677.  (Christian) Howard, Kevin (1997). The Feasts of the Lord God's Prophetic Calendar from Calvary to the Kingdom. Nelson Books. ISBN 0785275185.  (Christian) External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sukkot Jewish General JewFAQ discussion on Sukkot Sukkot - Jewish Virtual Library Sukkot 101 - My Jewish Learning Sukkot on the Net The Sukkah Project - for building your own sukkah Torah Tots Sukkot page - for younger children By religious movement Sukkot page from the Orthodox Union (Orthodox Judaism) Sukkot page from the Chabad Lubavitch movement, a branch of Chassidic Judaism Sukkot page from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Sukkot page from the Union for Reform Judaism Page on Hag Ha-Sukkot (Holiday of Sukkot) from Karaite Korner (Karaite Judaism) Christian Christian observances of Jewish holidays: Feast of Tabernacles God's Holy Days: Tabernacles God's Holy Day Plan - Hope For All Mankind The Holy Days-God's Master Plan Literature about the Feast of Tabernacles List of locations to Keep the Feast of Tabernacles v • d • e Sukkot · סֻכּוֹת Rituals Sukkah · Four Species (Lulav • Etrog • Hadass • Aravah) · Simchat Beit HaShoeivah Related days Chol HaMoed · Hoshana Rabbah · Shemini Atzeret · Simchat Torah v • d • e Jewish holidays and observances Jewish holidays and observances Shabbat · Rosh Chodesh · High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah · Fast of Gedalia · Yom Kippur) · Sukkot and Hoshana Rabbah · Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah · Isru chag · Hanukkah · Tenth of Tevet · Tu Bishvat · Fast of Esther and Purim · Purim Katan · Fast of the Firstborn and Passover · Pesach Sheni · Lag BaOmer · Shavuot · 17th of Tammuz · The Three Weeks · The Nine Days · Tisha B'Av · Tu B'Av Chasidic holidays 19 Kislev Modern holidays Yom HaShoah · Yom Hazikaron · Yom Ha'atzmaut · Yom Yerushalayim Ethnic holidays Mimouna · Sigd Hebrew calendar months Tishrei · Cheshvan · Kislev · Tevet · Shevat · Adar · Nisan · Iyar · Sivan · Tammuz · Av · Elul Jewish holidays 2000–2050