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What is Sukkot?

"On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD."
- Leviticus 23:34

Sukkot also known as the Festival of Booths or Festival of Tabernacles is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei. It is one of the three biblically-mandated Shalosh Regalim (3 Festivals) on which Jews made pilgrimages to the now destroyed Beit Hamikdash (Jewish Temple) in Jerusalem.

For an introduction to the festival of Sukkot visit the ou.org's Sukkot topics page and the Judaism 101 site Sukkot page.

What is a Sukkah?

"You will dwell in booths for seven days; all natives of Israel shall dwell in booths."
- Leviticus 23:42

A Sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches/reeds/leaves and often well decorated with  Judaic themes. During the festival of Sukkot, Jews eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the Sukkah. Sukkot is considered a joyous occasion but the Sukkah itself symbolizes the frailty and transience of life and its dependence on G-d. The first two days of Sukkot are full-fledged, no work allowed holiday days. The subsequent days of Sukkot are called Chol Hamoed when certain types of work is allowed albeit with restrictions. The final day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah. The holiday of Sukkot is immediately followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.

What is a Lulav & Etrog

"On the first day, you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows, and you will rejoice before the L-RD your G-d for seven days."
- Leviticus 23:40

One of the festival of Sukkot's special mitzvot is to recite blessings over the Arba Minim; "Four Species"; a citron (An etrog is a type of citron), a palm branch (lulav), three myrtle twigs (hadassim) and two willow branches (aravot).

The citron is held in the one hand while the palm, myrtle and willow are bundled onto the lulav and held in the other hand. A blessing is made and the Four Species are then waved in 6 directions; north, east, south, west, up and down.

See the ou.org's Lulav & Etrog and Aspects of the Four Species pages to learn more.

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