The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot

By: Rachel Gartner

October 24, 2011

Sukkot in Torah
"For seven days you shall dwell in sukkot; every citizen of Israel shall dwell in sukkot, so that your generation will know that I made the children of Israel dwell in sukkot whenI brought them out from the land of Mitzrayim (Leviticus 23)

"After the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vats, you shall hold the Feast of Sukkot for seven days. You shall rejoice in your festival."(Deuteronomy 16)
Sukkot Traditions
Sukkah are temporary huts that: must have at least three-walls; be no more than ten yards high and no less than ten handbreathes high; have roofs made of green and lively branches through which you can see the stars but which allow for more shade than sun; should be decorated with fruits and vegetables and handmade decorations that add to its beauty. Sukkot is meant to be the holiday of rejoicing in the harvest of the year, and in Divine providence.

For seven days a year Jews across the globe are meant to leave their homes and to eat, drink, rejoice and actually sleep in sukkah.

Sukkot at Georgetown
The Jewish Student Assosiation and Jewish Chaplaincy build a beautiful sukkah on the Esplanade of the Leavey Center, and invited guests from all backgrounds to experience the holy day.

In our sukkah--our temporary home-away-from-home, we meditated on what it means to have a home to leave and return to, we thought about Georgetown as our home and our gratitude for the fact that we had many places we could call home; we then turned our thoughts to those who do not have homes or who have substandard housing; we reflected on what it means to dwell in the outside, to be unprotected from the elements, to have to constantly seek shelter in new and unfamiliar places.

As we ate in the sukkah, decorated with the fruits of the harvest of the season, we reflected on the abundance of food we each have access to, and turned our thoughts to those billions of people world over who suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition.

Where do you call home? What is permanent and what is ephemeral in your life? What and who do you rely on form shelter, protection, comfort, companionship? How well do you share the abundance you are blessed with?
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The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot