“Throughout the seven days of the Feast, one must make his Sukkah a regular dwelling and his house a temporary dwelling.” Miska Sukka 2.9
October 18th, our class with Sr. Anne-Catharine was about Sukkot (Jewish Biblical Feast celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei – varies from late September to late October). Sukkot originates in the Torah, and celebrates the tents in which the Israelites lived in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. The sukkah is a temporary dwelling, usually made of wood or fabric in at least three of its four sides and the roof is made of tree branches, through which one can see the sky.
“During this week every native Israelite among you shall dwell in booths, that your descendants may realize that, when I led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt” Lev. 23, 42 – 43
The sukkah: For the Jew not to forget the true purpose in life, God, in His infinite wisdom and goodness makes them leave their comfortable homes at this time, to live in fragile sukkah booths for seven days. The sukkah reminds them that they trust in God for their protection, because the sukkah is no fortress, or at least providing a solid roof over their heads. God is our only security and protection. And also, it reminds them that life on earth is only temporary.
The Torah explicitly commands three things regarding the festival of Sukkot:
1. To gather the ‘four species’ (Lev. 23: 40)
- ‘The ‘lulav’ palm – has taste but no smell, symbolizing those who study Torah but do not possess good deeds.
- The ‘hadass’ myrtles – has a good smell but no taste, symbolizing those who possess good deeds but do not study Torah.
- The ‘aravah’ willow – has neither taste nor smell, symbolizing those who lack both Torah and good deeds.
- The ‘etrog’ citron – has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds’
2. To rejoice before the Lord (Deut. 16: 13-14; Lev. 23: 40)
3. To live in a sukkah (Lev. 23:42)
Lúcia de Fátima NDS, Novice
Congregational Novitiate Ein Karem, Jerusalem