Sukkot


The primary mitzvot of the holiday of Sukkot are the four species (referred to as the lulav set) and dwelling in the sukkah. For detailed explanations, please click on the appropriate ritual (from the menu on the left)

 

The Four Species (the lulav set) is composed of a lulav (palm frond), avot (myrtle branches), aravot (willow branches) and an etrog (citron).

The Sukkah is the temporary dwelling composed of three solid walls and a temporary roof made of branches or loose boards.

YOM TOV – The First Festival Days

Sukkot is a 7 day holiday. The first day (first two days outside of Israel) are Yamim Tovim – days which are kept like Sabbath (cooking and carrying, however, are permitted).

Candlelighting

If possible (if it is not a fire or child hazard), candles should be lit in the sukkah.

Shabbat and all Jewish holidays always begin at sunset of the evening before. On the Sabbath and Yom Tov [festival] candles are lit 18 minutes before sunset to welcome the holiday. On the second night of Yom Tov, candles are lit no earlier than one hour after sunset.When Sukkot begins on Friday night, the Shabbat candle-lighting procedure is as follows :Two candles (minimum) are lit, then both hands are waved towards the face, symbolically drawing in the light of the candles and the sanctity of the Sabbath/Yom Tov. The eyes are covered and the blessing is recited. On the second night, Saturday night, the blessing is said first, without the Shabbat addition, and only then are the candles lit (from a pre-existing flame).On Friday night, insert the bracketed words:Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu l’hadlik ner shel [Shabbat v’]Yom Tov.

Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, who sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of [the Sabbath and] Yom Tov (festival).

An additional blessing is said on both nights of Rosh Hashana to acknowledge the good fortune of being able to experience the holiday:

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, she’he’che’yanu v’kee’manu, v’hee’gee’anu la’zman ha’zeh.

Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season

 

 

Evening services are held in the synagogue.

The Festive Meal in the Sukkah:

While one must eat in the sukkah throughout the holiday, on the first night there is a specific obligation to do so. If it is raining, it is customary to wait to start the meal until the rain has stopped, waiting even until midnight. If the rain does not stop, many make the kiddush and ha’motzei (blessings over the wine and bread) in the sukkah and then return to the house to conclude the meal.

Ushpizin (Guests) – In the sukkah, the family prepares for the evening meal. Before kiddush, however, it is customary to take a moment to welcome the spiritual guests that join every Jew in the sukkah.

According to the kaballah, the Jewish mystical tradition, the Divine Presence (shechina) accompanies every Jew into the sukkah. The shechina is accompanied by the seven shepherds of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aharon, and David.

Each evening the host of the sukkah welcomes the seven ushpizin (guests) by saying:

I invite to my meal the exalted guests: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aharon, and David. May it please you, Abraham, my exalted guest, that all the other exalted guests dwell here with me and with you – Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aharon, and David.

On each night a different guest is welcomed, in a specific order. Thus on the second night, one says: May it please you, Isaac, my exalted…and on the third night: May it please you, Jacob, my exalted…etc.

Kiddush (the blessing over wine), found in the regular siddur or holiday machzor (prayer book), is recited, followed immediately by the blessing for residing in the sukkah — leishev ba’sukkah and she’he’che’yanu — the blessing of G-d who has kept us alive for this occasion.

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu leishev ba’sukkah.

Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, who sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, she’he’che’yanu v’kee’manu v’hee’gee’anu la’zman ha’zeh

Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

c) Because the first day of Yom Tov is also Shabbat, Havdallah, the ceremony separating holy days from each other and weekdays, is recited after Kiddush before the second night meal.

d) On the second night of Yom Tov (outside of Israel), the order of the two blessings is reversed — one first says she’he’che’yanu and then leishev ba’sukkah.

Ha’Motzei – After a ritual washing of the hands, the blessing is made over two whole challot.

a) Because it is still the New Year season, it is customary to have two sweet, round (raisin) challahs.

b) It is also customary to continue dipping the challah in honey in addition to the customary sprinkling with salt.

A festive meal is eaten, followed by the Grace After Meals with the addition of Y’aleh V’Yavo, “May there rise and come…”, for the holiday.

Sleeping in the sukkah is part of the mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah. Many, however, choose to sleep inside due to the cold or the unsafe location.

The morning synagogue service

a) The Torah Reading is Leviticus 22:26 – 23:44

The haftorah (prophetic message) on the first day is from the Book of Zechariah 14:1-21

The haftorah on the second day is from Kings I, 8:2-21

b) Hallel and Hoshanot

Hallel is a collection of Psalms that are recited on the festivals and Rosh Chodesh (the new month).

  • During the holiday of Sukkot, the lulav set is held and shaken during the Hallel service.
  • On Shabbat, Hallel is recited without the lulav set.

The Hoshana Service is the special service of Sukkot.

  • During the Hoshana Service, congregants circle the bimah with the lulav set.
  • On Shabbat, the Hoshana Service are recited without the lulav set, reminiscent of the circuits made in the ancient Temple by those observing Sukkot in Jerusalem.

 

The Festive Lunch is eaten in the sukkah

a) The Festival Day Kiddush (blessing over wine), found in the holiday machzor (prayer book), is recited, followed by the blessing leishev ba’sukkah.

b) Ha’Motzei – After a ritual washing of the hands, the blessing is made over two whole challot, the pieces of which are sprinkled with salt and dipped in honey.

c) A festive meal is eaten, followed by the Grace After Meals with the addition of Y’aleh V’Yavo, “He will go up and he will come…”, for the Sukkot holidays.

Mincha, the afternoon service is recited (including the weekly Torah reading since it is also Shabbat).

Havdallah – At the conclusion of the second day of Yom Tov, Havdallah, separating holy days from week days, is recited. This Havdallah consists of only the blessing over grape juice (HaGafen) and the Havdallah blessing (HaMavdil), which can be found in the prayer book.