What is this with Jews? First you celebrate the New Year with Rosh Hashanah. Fine. Then you ask God and your family, friends, and colleagues to forgive your sins on Yom Kippur. That’s cool. Now I’m told there’s another holiday after that. Don’t you guys ever work? Please tell me about this Sukkoth.
Dear Curious Christian,
Good question. LOL. Yes, we work doubly hard between holidays.
The festival of Sukkoth begins five days after Yom Kippur. As you will recall, Yom Kippur was the most solemn holiday on the Jewish calendar. Sukkoth is one of the most joyous.
Sukkoth has both a historical and agricultural significance. First the historical: If you will recall from the Book of Exodus, the Jews wandered the desert, after leaving Egypt, for 40 years. They lived in temporary shelters or sukkahs (booths). Prior to the beginning of this holiday, Jews will build one of these sukkahs in their backyards to remind us of those wandering years. For one week we have our meals here and our children enjoy the game. Kids love to play in a fort, eat under the stars, and camp out in the backyard. It’s kid heaven for a week.
The sukkah must have at least two and a half walls covered with a material that won’t blow away. Branches, corn stalks, or bamboo reeds—anything that grows from the ground must cover the roof. Don’t put too much covering, so the kids can see the stars like our wandering ancestors.
Sukkoth also has an agricultural meaning, for it takes place during the harvest season reminding us of our agrarian past.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)
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