Happy Sukkot!

Sukkot, the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles, begins Sunday evening. After the most solemn holiday of the year, we follow it with a week of one of the most festive.

Work is not allowed for the first two days of Sukkot, the first day only in Israel, followed by Chol HaMoed, the remaining of the seven days of the holiday.

Two of the main practices of Sukkot include the Arba Minim and the Sukkah.

The Arba Minim, the Four Species, are the lulav and etrog. The etrog is a citrus fruit, called a citron in English. The lulav consists of a palm branch, two willow branches, and three myrtle branches, all bound together. These items are held in both hands and waved in six directions while a prayer is said, symbolizing that G-d is everywhere.

Part of Sukkot is to remember when the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years. In this way, we build a Sukkah, a temporary structure with a covering made from something that grew from the ground (in Miami, we used palm fronds), placed sparsely enough so the stars can be seen. Meals should be eaten in the Sukkah to fulfill the mitzvah of “dwelling” in it. However, as much time as possible should be spent in the Sukkah, including sleeping in it, if the weather and one’s health allows. Erecting the Sukkah usually involves the whole family, with children often creating decorations to hang on the walls.

More details about these practices can be found at Judaism 101, our favorite source for Jewish holiday information. Wikipedia has additional information.

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