Celebrating Sukkot in Sukkot

You might be wondering what Sukkot is and how can it possibly make sense to say “Celebrating Sukkot in Sukkot.”  This post will clear up that confusion.

Currently throughout the Holy Land and world, Jews are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot.  Sukkot is an easily identifiable holiday because it is the holiday when Jews are commanded to live in temporary outdoor booths.  A single booth is called a sukkah, and multiple booths are called sukkot, hence the name of the holiday. [Note: for the rest of this post “sukkot” refers to booths and “Sukkot” refers to the name of the holiday.]

This holiday lasts for a week and is one of the three pilgrimage festivals. During a pilgrimage festival, biblical Israelites would make their pilgrimage with their fresh crops to sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The purpose of building and essentially living in a sukkah for the week is to remember that biblical Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt.  While they wandered they, too, lived in temporary booths.  Additionally, since a sukkah is a basic structure, this holiday is an opportunity to reflect on what in your life is superficial.  It is a time to differentiate between your “wants” and “needs.”

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children play between sukkahs, temporary structures built for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, in Jerusalem. [original picture and caption from Haaretz.com]

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children play between sukkahs, temporary structures built for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, in Jerusalem. [original picture and caption from Haaretz.com]

It is amazing to be on a Holy Land tour during Sukkot.  Specifically in Jerusalem you will see sukkot wherever you go.  Some are on balconies and others are on the sidewalk.  Most restaurants build sukkot for their customers to eat in.  It is a social holiday where neighbors and even strangers interact with each other.

There are many Jewish Laws regarding the structure of a sukkah. A fun, interactive way to learn about these laws is at the life-size sukkah exhibit Neot Kedumim park.  This exhibit is great for adults and children and is located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  Throughout the Neot Kedumim park there are dozens of examples of correct and incorrect sukkot accompanied with a sign containing the Jewish Law.

Additionally, there are many events and festivals happening throughout the Holy Land during Sukkot.  Click HERE to see a compiled list.

 

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