Sukkot

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Five days after Yom Kippur, the autumn festival of Sukkot begins. This is also known as the Festival of Ingathering (harvest festival).

Sukkah is the name of a shelter the Israelites built in the wilderness. Sukkot is the plural. Each family or community will build a shelter to mark this, and also to demonstrate that all life is fragile and depends on God for protection The shelter should have a roof that will keep out the sun, but not the rain. At night the stars should be visible through the roof.

Wherever possible, meals are to be taken in the shelter throughout the seven-day festival of Sukkot. Sleeping in the shelter also demonstrates reliance on God.

  • The Eve of Sukkot

    On Sukkot Jews must refrain from work and only carry out those activities that are absolutely necessary.

    During Sukkot, the fruit of the citron tree, palm branches, the branches of myrtle and willows are collected. One palm branch, three myrtle twigs and two willow branches are bound together. The bouquet is held in the right hand and the citron in the left. A blessing is recited before they are waved in six directions: east, south, west, north, up and down. This symbolises God’s sovereignty over all things. This ritual is repeated whenever the Sukkah is entered and also in the synagogue.