Ushpizin

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. Why are these seven personalities invited into the sukkah?

The Sukkah, the temporary dwelling, reminds Jews of the time of wandering in the wilderness. Each of the seven ushpizin lived through their own exile under the guidance of G-d.

1) Abraham – went forth from his homeland and his father’s house to go to Canaan, the unknown place that G-d would show him (Genesis).

2) Isaac – went to Gerar in the Kingdom of Philistia when there was famine (Genesis).

3) Jacob – left his home to protect himself from his brother and to find a wife (Genesis).

4) Joseph – was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt (Genesis)

5) Moses – led the nation out of slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness and to the borders of the Promised Land (Exodus).

6) Aharon -led the nation in the wilderness in his role as High Priest (Exodus).

7) David – was driven into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of Saul (I Samuel).

Each of the seven ushpizin also personify character traits which strengthen the Divine Presence in this world:

1) Abraham – loving-kindness

2) Isaac – inner strength

3) Jacob – truth

4) Joseph – righteousness

5) Moses – Divine eternity

6) Aharon – Divine grandeur

7) David – Divine sovereignty