On the 15th of Tishrei (Hebrew Calender) Jews will setup a Sukka, shake a Lulav and Etrog and other Jewish Customs?
Let us explain The Jewish Festival of Sukkot.
What is Sukkot?
The Holiday of Sukkot is a Jewish Holiday that is centred around joy (Simcha)
It is one week where Jews 'sweeten the deal' after these previous Jewish Months:
- Do Teshuva (Repentance) in The Month of Elul
- Pray on Rosh Hashanah For A Sweet New Year
- Plead with G-d on Yom Kippur For All Your Sins To Be Atoned
- Take The Time on Sukkot To Have A Lot of Simcha (Joy)
This is the order of The Jewish Festivals and as you can see, Jews will ask G-d for forgiveness in the time coming up to Yom Kippur.
Then, with proper Teshuva (Repentance), all of your sins can be 'forgiven'
It is important to note the word 'forgiven' because once you are forgiven, there are still tribulations where you need to pay for the sins you committed.
Then G-d Gives us Sukkot. And on Sukkot, if Jews dance all week with real joy, then that will help reduce all the pay back you will need to do throughout the year.
Sukkot is a Festival (Moed) where it is meant to be a festive time with fun and joy.
The Arizal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) says on the last day of Sukkot, you should take the Willow Branches and smack them on the floor.
To sweeten the judgement.
Because after doing a whole week of Ho'shana (asking to be saved) you take the Branches from The Lulav and smack it on the floor to release the anger and smash our egos.
Is Sukkot A High Holiday?
Sukkot comes after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
When we understand that on Rosh Hashanah we are Praying to have a Sweet New Year. And on Yom Kippur we are Pleading for our sins from the past year to be atoned, Sukkot is then a very auspicious time where G-d wants us to celebrate with real joy and this can help reduce all the payback we will need to do throughout the year.
So in this sense, it may not be a High Holiday, but it certainly holds a lot of power to help Jews in being redeemed for their sins.
How is Sukkot Celebrated Today?
Jews are Commanded to 'live in booths for seven days' during Sukkot.
This is what Jews today build which is called a Sukkah.
The Sukkah is a booth that Jews will celebrate in during Sukkot. And it is common to decorate the outside of the Sukkah with some organic materials such as bamboo leaves.
Inside the Sukkah there will be tables and chairs to sit and eat, along with some decorations hanging from the ceiling.
There are also 4 symbols (species) that are used on Sukkot
2) Shake The Lulav and Etrog
- The Etrog is resembling a Heart.
- The Hadas is resembling an Eye.
- The Arava is resembling Lips.
- The Lulav is resembling The Spinal Cord.
Shaking the Lulav and Etrog is a Tikun (rectification) of impure thoughts that are coming from the heart.
The Hadas is a Tikun (rectification) for when our eyes go astray and look in the wrong places. A typical example is a man looking at another women walking down the street. But it can also mean simply looking and envying our neighbours car.
The Aravot is a Tikun (rectification) for all the negative things we say that come from our mouth.
The Lulav only has one 'Lev' in it, (לב in Hebrew means Heart) and the reason for this is because we should only have one heart which is for G-d
Another reason why Jews take these 4 species is everything we know in This World has an effect in The World Above. And it can cause something to come down from Above.
What is so special about these 4 species that Jews use on Sukkot, is that they are completely attached to G-d and get their Holy Abundance Directly From The Source
How do we know this?
It says in The Midrash of Vayikra, Chapter 30, "On The 15th Day of Tishrei, You Need To Take a Fruit from a Citrus" And this is referring to G-d
Because it says in The Book of Tehillim, Kuf Daled (קד), Psalm 104, right at the beginning, "It goes on HaShem, that He Wears The Hod" - This is referring to the Etrog
Then with The Lulav, in The Book of Tehillim, Tzadik Bet (צַב), Psalm 92, "Righteous Will Flourish Like A Palm Tree"
And with The Hadasim, there is a Verse in The Book of Zechariah, Chapter A (א), Passage Chet (ח), and it is Referring to G-d Where It Says, "He is Standing Between The Hadasim"
Lastly, With The Aravot, in The Book of Tehillim, Samekh Chet (סח), Psalm 68, "Praise Him Who rides in Aravoth by His name"
This is how we learn that all these four species are getting their Shefa (Abundance) directly from G-d
The Torah says "A Fruit Coming From A Citrus Tree"
Technically, it could be an orange or a grapefruit.
So why do Jews specifically use an Etrog on Sukkot?
The Etrog has the shape of a heart.
And we know that the heart is the main organ. Without a heart you cannot live. Human attributes all come from the heart.
G-d is impressed by our hearts on the inside. Not how we look on the outside.
Sukkot reminds us when Jews went to The Temple and celebrated the produce of the fields.
The Sukkah reminds Jews of The Mishkan.
The Mishkan was a temporary dwelling, however The Temple was a permanent dwelling, and devastatingly was destroyed twice.
What is so special about Sukkot is that it shows that you don't need money to buy a Home for G-d
Because that is what The Sukkah is.
And you can build a Sukkah for Sukkot as it is Commanded in The Torah, and be bathed in Clouds of Glory.
So the meaning of Sukkot?
For Jews, a time to celebrate with joy and because of this celebrating, we have the chance to reduce all the pay back you will need to do throughout the year.
There you have it!
The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot.
A time of pure joy and celebration.
Till next time.
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