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 SUKKOT GUIDE

 Compiled by Rabbi Pinchas Allouche


Season of Our Rejoicing

Following Yom Kippur we celebrate Sukkot, the festival of booths, and the season of our rejoicing. In the Torah it is written, "In the Sukkoth (booths) you shall dwell for seven days" (Leviticus 23:42). Therefore, during the entire seven days of the festival, all meals are eaten in the Sukkah.

 

The Sukkah 

When partaking of a meal containing at least two ounces of bread or cake, we say the blessing "Layshev BaSukkah". The Sukkah reminds us of the clouds of glory that surrounded and protected our people, after leaving Egypt, during their forty years of wandering through the desert on the way to the Promised Land. It inspires us to believe that today, too, G-d gives us His own protection, and that is why we have outlived our greatest adversaries through all generations.

Throughout the seven days of the festival we celebrate in the Sukkah, in ever- increasing exhilaration. Just as the seven solemn days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur served to make amends for each corresponding day of the weeks of the previous year, the seven joyous days of Sukkot will bring us happiness in all the weeks of the year to come.

The mitzvah of dwelling, eating and spending time in the Sukkah is unique in that the entire person is involved in this mitzvah. The mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah is unique in that it envelops the entire body in the performance of a mitzvah.

 

THE FOUR KINDS 

&The Unity of all Jews

One of the special mitzvoth of Sukkot is "The Four Kinds," the Etrog, Lulav, Hadasim and Arovoth. Holding them close together, we recite a blessing over them and, as is customary, wave them in all the four directions, as well as upward and downward, to signify that G-d is everywhere.

Like all other Mitzvot, this should be performed because it is the will of G-d. However, like many Mitzvoth, it has its particular significance that teaches us a lesson. The most famous interpretation is that the combination of these four species signifies the unity of all Jews.

 

The Etrog

A rare citron combines both delicious taste and a fragrance, which is enjoyed by all. It represents the Jew who is both learned in Torah, as well as observant of the mitzvoth.

The Lulav

Branch of the date palm is of a tree that bears pleasant tasting fruit, but is odorless. It represents those among Israel who are Torah scholars but do not particularly emphasize good deeds.

The Hadassim

Twigs of myrtle, are fragrant but tasteless. It represents Jews who are filled with good deeds but are not learned in Torah.

The Aravoth   

Branches of willow have neither taste nor smell. It represents those among Jews who are unlearned in Torah and devoid of good deeds.

Thu, August 17 2017 25 Av 5777