Sunday, September 27, 2015

Interfaith Days: Sukkot

The Jewish holiday Sukkot, "Feast of Booths," begins this evening. The day is mentioned in Exodus 34:22 as the end of of harvest time. It is also mentioned in Leviticus 23:42-43, where the day commemorates the Exodus and the dependance of the People of Israel upon God, and in Deuteronomy 16:13-17. A "sukkah" or booth (or "tabernacle") is a temporary structure made of palm leaves or some other plant. I remember visiting a rabbi friend in Phoenix; when I walked into the synagogue courtyard, I was greeted by numerous grass huts, constructed for the holiday. Another year, I attended an interfaith event at a synagogue, and we had the evening meeting outside in a large sukkah. The temporary dwellings call attention to the Israelites 40 years of living in the wilderness.  The festival lasts seven days in Israel and eight in the diaspora. The festival ends with the holidays Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah).

This site and this site provides more information. In that latter site, "Judaism 101,"the author writes, "The Festival of Sukkot begins… the fifth day after Yom Kippur… a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu… the Season of our Rejoicing."

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