Sukkot is the Jewish holiday which is celebrated on the 15th of Tishrei.
The name Sukkot is plural for Sukkah (booth/hut), and the holiday is named after these temporary constructions in which the Jewish people eat (and some even live) during this week-long holiday. The Sukkah is representative of the huts in which the Jews dwelt during their 40 year sojourn in the desert after their escape from slavery in Egypt. Sukkot is also one of three ‘pilgrimage festivals’ (when Jews made pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the times of the Holy Temple).
Agriculturally, Sukkot is also known as the Harvest Festival, which is where rejoicing and praising is done in thanks to Hashem for the harvest.
Sukkot Laws, Customs and Traditions
Jewish people undertake the building of a Sukkah before the commencement of the holiday. In order to be Kosher, the Sukkah must have at least three sides, the roof should be made of branches, palm leaves, thatch or bamboo, but must allow the stars to be seen at night. Many have the tradition to decorate their Sukkah and to spend as much time in it as possible. Meals are eaten in the Sukkah , guests are encouraged and invited to spend some time in the Sukkah.
There is also the Lulav and Esrog; which are the four species of plant as specified in the Torah. A branch of palm Lulav, two willows Aravot, at least three myrtles Hadassim, and one citron Etrog. The best place to shake the Lulav and Estrog is in the Sukkah.
The first two days of Sukkot are celebrated as full festival (Yom Tov) days with all the full holy day restrictions, services and special prayers. Work is forbidden, candles are lit in the evening, and Kiddush is said before the traditional festive meal, which includes challah dipped in honey.
Chol HaMoed are the Interim Days between the Yom Tov days. These are days when we dwell in the Sukkah, shake the Lulav & Estrog , and include Hallel in our morning prayers. However, work is permitted and there is no Kiddush before festive meals, and no candle lighting.
Hoshana Raba and Simchat Torah
Every day during Sukkot, when Hallel is said with the Arba Minim (Four species), they are shaken /waved throughout the service. Afterwards, the bimah is circled while Hoshanot are recited. The seventh day is the ‘Great Hoshana’ – Hoshana Raba.
Following Hoshana Raba is the holiday of Simchat Torah.
Simchat Torah is the Jewish holiday of ‘rejoicing with the Torah’. This holiday marks the ending of the cycle of reading the Torah, and the beginning of a new one. Simchat Torah is when the whole community gathers to come into contact with the Sefer Torah, and is marked with much merry-making, singing, dancing and rejoicing with the Torah Scrolls, which are taken out of the ark.
On the morning of the holiday the last portion of the Torah is read in Synagogue, followed by the reading of the first one.
Sukkot with CBDChabad
CBDChabad helps the people of Sydney celebrate Sukkot by providing our Mobile Sukkah service.
The CBDChabad Mobile Sukkah tours the inner-East and Sydney CBD during Chol HaMoed. We make sure that everyone is able to come aboard, have a bite, a drink and gets to make a Brocha (blessing) on the Lulav & Estrog, as well as the Brocha for fulfilling the Mitzvah of sitting in a Sukkah.
For Yom Tov and Shabbat days, CBD Chabad hosts festive meals in Rabbi Danny and Rebbetzin Sara-Tova’s Sukkah.
Simchat Torah with CBDChabad
As Sukkot draws to a close, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated by combining efforts with Chabad of Double Bay for the culmination of the High Holidays.
Hosted at the Chabad of Double Bay synagogue, everyone is welcome to join in for a hosted dinner and L’Chaims, as well as night of dancing and merriment with the Sifrei Torot.
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