With the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur behind us, the Hebrew calendar quickly transitions to the Festival of Sukkot, a time of joyous celebration. Our ancestors gathered to celebrate the harvest and remember the times of wilderness wanderings, which required living in temporary dwellings. Today our sukkot (pl. of sukkah) remind us of our history and provide an opportunity to gather with family and friends to engage in Jewish ritual. Just as we observe Shabbat, no matter what else is going on in the world, we can always find something in our lives to be grateful for and celebrate during this season of joy.
Chag HaSukkot means “the festival of booths,” but the holiday is also called Chag ha-asif (meaning “the festival of ingathering”), when it is referred to in the book of Exodus. The third name for this festival comes from a reference in Deuteronomy. In the retelling of the laws of Sukkot, it states “you shall rejoice in your festival.” Therefore, we also refer to these days as Zeman Simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing.
A special thank you to the Men’s Club for putting up our sukkah in the Biblical garden. Please call the office to reserve your time to fulfill the mitzvot of dwelling in the sukkah, as well as waving the lulav v’etrog.
May this Sukkot be a joyful and meaningful one for all of us.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush