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Jewish Treats Guide to Celebrating Sukkot

Date post: 04-Apr-2016
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From the symbolic meaning of the four species to guidelines for building a sukkah, Jewish Treats Guide to Celebrating Sukkot offers it all, along with inspiring insights, enticing recipes and suggestions on how to celebrate the holiday known as Zman Simchatainu, the Time of our Rejoicing. We hope that you will use this guide to truly enhance your own Sukkot celebration.
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  • Guide to Celebrating SukkotGuide to Celebrating Sukkot

    Created BY: NJOP


    Guide to Celebrating Sukkot

    Welcome to Jewish Treats Guide to CelebratingSukkot. Shake your lulav, grab a hammer andget ready to discover how to celebrate theFeast of the Tabernacles. From four species tofour walls (well, really 2 1/2), the JewishTreats Guide to Celebrating Sukkot offers funfacts and inspiring insights into the entire holiday. We hope that you will use this guideto significantly enhance your own Sukkot celebration.

    CreditsFounder:Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald

    Edited By:Sarah Rochel Hewitt

    Content:Sarah Rochel Hewitt

    Social Media:Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse

    Guest Contributors:Norene Gilletz, Sharon Langert,

    Sukkot photographs on page 7: sukkahoutlet.com

    From everyone at NJOP and Jewish Treats, we wishyou a Chag Sukkot Sameach!


    Inspired by Mr. Sam Domb; Dedicated by Paul J. Taubman, in memory of his father, Joseph L. Taubman

    In this uplifting event, participants are welcomed into the sukkah to experience the most joyous time on the Jewish calendar. At each of these specially chosen sukkah locations, participants will be invited to shake a lulav and etrog, enjoy some refreshments and perhaps some music and dance while rejoicing on this happiest of Jewish holidays together with other members of the Jewish community.

    For more information and to find a participating sukkah near you, please visitnjop.org/SukkotAcrossAmerica.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Table of ContentsThe Mitzvot of Sukkot............................................................1

    Sukkot: The Time of Our Rejoicing ........................................2

    Rejoicing Then and Now.......................................................3

    The Four Species: Palm, Myrtle, Willow and Citron............................................4

    What To Do with the Four Species .........................................5

    The Four Species After Sukkot...............................................6

    Layshayv Basukkah: To Dwell In The Sukkah.......................7

    What Is A Sukkah?................................................................7

    Beautifying the Sukkah: Chic Sukkah Decor..........................9

    Camping in the Fall?...........................................................10

    Ushpezin .............................................................................11

    The Water Holiday ..............................................................12

    International Oxen..............................................................12

    The Great Hoshana.............................................................13

    Sukkot Cuisine ....................................................................14

    International Customs of Sukkot .........................................15

    The Next Day, The Next Holidays: Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah ...........................................16

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 1

    The Mitzvot of Sukkot

    Rejoice On Your HolidayYou shall keep the feast of tabernacles seven days... And you shall rejoice in your feast... and you shall be altogether joyful (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

    All Jewish holidays share certain basic mitzvot and rituals. With the exceptionof Yom Kippur, all festivals include festive meals that are eaten after theevening service and the morning service. These meals begin with both kiddush and hamotzee (the blessing over the wine and the blessing overtwo loaves of challah). The days are kept holy by being observed as if itwere Shabbat (cooking and carrying, however, are permitted), and candlesare lit at sunset.

    Each holiday also has its own unique mitzvot. The mitzvot of Sukkot are:

    To Dwell In A SukkahYou shall dwell in sukkot seven days, every citizen inIsrael shall dwell in sukkot, so that your descendantsshall know that I caused the Children of Israel todwell in sukkot when I brought them out of the landof Egypt (Leviticus 23:42-43).

    To Wave The Four SpeciesAnd you shall take for yourselves on the firstday, the fruit of a beautiful tree, the branch of apalm tree, a bough from the myrtle tree, and willows of the stream, and you shall rejoice be-fore your G-d for seven days (Leviticus 23:40).

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 2

    Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) declared: Mitzvah gedolah leeyoht bsimchatamid. - To always be happy is a great mitzvah. The commandment to be happy is not included among the positive command-ments of the Torah except during the holiday of Sukkot.

    The Feast of the Tabernacles, asSukkot is called in English, is aseven day holiday in which theJewish people are commandedto live in temporary dwellingswith thatch-like roofs. The otherprimary focus of the holiday isthe waving of the four species,the lulav (palm), hadassim (myr-tle) aravot (willow) and the etrog(citron). One might ask why thecommand to be happy is associ-ated with Sukkot rather thanPassover, when Jews celebratebeing redeemed from slavery in Egypt, orShavuot, when Jews celebrate receiving theTorah at Mount Sinai.

    The holiday of Sukkot is celebrated at the timeof the harvest, when farmers bring in the fruitsof their labor, and everyone prepares for theonset of winter. This, too, serves as a spur forpeople to be thankful that the ground bringsforth such delights and that trees bear suchbountiful fruit. There is no question that, as a

    result of witnessing the miracle of growth inthe field, people are moved to be thankful tothe Creator of all things.

    But what of the years when the harvest is notgood? If Sukkot were purely an agriculturalholiday, it would be cruel to command the

    farmers to rejoice on years thatthe crops failed. In fact, manycommentators have associatedthe directive to live in the sukkahas a reminder to humankind thatthe success of their own handi-work is, and always will be, dependent upon Divine will.

    Sukkot is celebrated on the 15thof Tishrei, less than one weekafter Yom Kippur and two weeksafter Rosh Hashana. During theHigh Holidays, every man andwoman approaches the Divine

    throne to beseech God to be forgiven for thesins they may have committed and to becleansed of their misdeeds. At the end of YomKippur, it is assumed that the prayers foratonement have been accepted and that weenter the new year with a clean slate. Sukkotis known as Zman Simchahtaynu, the timeof our rejoicing, because the Jewish peopleare especially joyful knowing that the worldhas just been judged and, please God, theirprayers for atonement have been accepted.

    Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot


    You shall keep the feast of tabernacles seven days... And you shall rejoice in your feast...and you shall be altogether joyful (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).


  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Although the mitzvah to rejoice in ones feast is emphasized on the holiday of Sukkot, it is amitzvah that applies to all the Jewish feast days. As with all of the mitzvot, the details of themitzvah are elaborated on in the Talmud:

    Our Rabbis taught: A man is duty-bound to make his children and his household rejoiceon a festival, for it is said, And you shall rejoice on your feast, [you and your son, andyour daughter, etc.] With what does he make them rejoice? With wine. Rabbi Judahsaid: Men with what is suitable for them, and women with, what is suitable for them.Men with what is suitable for them--with wine. And women with what? Rabbi Josephrecited: in Babylonia, with colored garments; in the Land of Israel, with ironed lined garments (Pesachim 109a).

    According to Jewish tradition, the key to a mans heart really is through his stomach! Morespecifically, through meat and wine. For women, it seems that retail therapy is not as new aconcept as one might think.

    In the days of the sages, and, in truth, for much of history, both a fine cut of meat and a newdress were luxury items. Today, although many of us still enjoy an attractive gift or a juicysteak, it is harder to connect these items to rejoicing. So how can one rejoice on the holidaysin the 21st century?

    The presence of meat at an ancient meal represented a vast upgrade in menu. Whether one isable to fulfill the mitzvah of eating in the sukkah or not, one can, nevertheless, enhance the festivalweek by setting the table with attractive china (or nice dishware) and serving a favored delicacy.

    The gift of a new garment (whether given or purchased for oneself) represents another meansof setting the festival days apart. It is commonly understood that the way one dresses influencesthe way one feels and acts. Wearing something new, orsomething which is usually reserved for special occasions,during the days of the festival is one more way of elevatingthe holiday and of keeping oneself in a festive spirit.

    Wine represents our ability to take the mundane andelevate it to the holy. This is an opportunity that we haveevery day of our lives, but all the more so on the Jewishfestivals when we use wine to sanctify the day.

    Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 3

    Rejoicing THEN AND NOW

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 4


    Etrog/Citron: The fruit of a beautiful tree(Leviticus 23:40). Ideally, the skinof this yellow (or green when notripe) citrus fruit must be clean ofspots and discolorations. It shouldbe bumpy, not smooth like alemon, and should be broad at thebottom and narrow toward thetop. (The etrog is very delicate andshould be handled with great care.If dropped and damaged, the etrogcan be rendered unfit for use!)

    Aravot/Two Willow Branches:The aravot, which are bound tothe left side of the lulav (slightlylower than the hadassim) shouldhave reddish stems with green,moist leaves. The leaves shouldbe long, narrow and smooth-edged, with no nips or tears.

    Lulav/Branch of a Palm Tree: A lulav is actually the closedfrond of a date palm tree. Anice lulav is green, with no signsof dryness. It should be straight,without any bends or twists nearthe top. The tip and top leavesof the lulav must be whole, and not split.

    Hadassim/Three Myrtle Branches:The hadassim, which are bound onthe right side of the lulav, shouldhave moist, green leaves grouped inlevel rows of three. There should beno large, uncovered section of stem.The stem and the leaves should bewhole, without any nips at the topand the leaves should cover the entirebranch to the top. There should notbe more berries than leaves andthere should be no large twigs.

    One of the main mitzvot of the holiday of Sukkot is the waving of the four species: citron (etrog), palm, myrtle andwillow. Trying to understand this mitzvah metaphorically, our sages compared the four species to four differenttypes of Jews:

    When the four species are brought together to be waved, they represent the complete spectrum of the Jewish people. Acknowledging our different strengths and weaknesses is critical not only in creating harmony among people, but in creating a unified nation -- the ideal state of the Jewish people.

    The fruit of a "beautifultree" (etrog) has both tasteand scent, and is symbolicof those Jews who arewell-versed in Torah andwho have performed manygood deeds.

    The branch of the palmtree (lulav) has taste but noscent, and is symbolic ofthose Jews who are well-versed in Torah but havenot performed gooddeeds.

    The boughs of myrtle(hadassim) have scent butno taste, and are symbolicof those Jews who haveperformed many gooddeeds, but have not studied Torah.

    The willows of the stream(aravot) have no taste andno scent, and are symbolicof those Jews who haveneither studied Torah norperformed good deeds.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 5

    The waving of the four species is one of the most beautiful and symbolic mitzvot of the year. Indeed, one is supposed to make a specific effort to enhance and beautify this mitzvah. The mitz-vah of taking the four species is performed by taking a frond of a palm branch (lulav), 3 myrtlestems (hadassim) and 2 willow branches (aravot) in one's right hand and the citron (etrog)--heldupside down, with the small stem stub facing upward--in one's left hand [lefties should reversehands] and reciting the blessing:

    /ckUk ,khyb kg UbUmu 'uh,ImnC UbJSe rJt 'okIgv Qkn UbhvOt 'hh vTt QUrCBaruch Ahtah Ahdohnai, Ehlohaynu Melech haolam, ahsherkidishanu b'mitzvotav v'tzeevanu ahl n'teelaht lulav.

    Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to take thelulav [and the other 3 species].

    When performing the mitzvah for the first time this year, one should also recite the blessing of Sheh'heh'cheh'yanu.

    'okIgv Qkn UbhvOt 'hh vTt QUrC/vZv inZk UbghDvu UbnHeu UbhjvJ

    Baruch Ahtah Ahdohnai, Ehlohaynu Melech haolam,sheh'heh'cheh'yanu v'kee'manu v'hee'gee'anu la'zman ha'zeh.

    Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept usalive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

    The etrog is then turned right-side-up and the four species are wavedtogether three times in each of the 6 directions: forward, right, back-ward (toward oneself ), left, up, and down. (The order may differ de-pending on custom.)

    Waving the four species is a symbolic recognition of Gods om-nipresent kingship over the world and everything in it. As it says in theTalmud, in Sukkah 37b: It is as if one is taking the species and bringing them to God Who possesses the four directions. One raisesthem and lowers them to God Who owns the heavens and the earth.

    Acknowledging Gods dominion over the world is particularly appro-priate during the harvest season, when people might be tempted torejoice exclusively about their own personal success. Surely, peopleare entitled to celebrate their own achievements, but with an acknowledgement that behind it all is God.

    What To Do With The Four Species

    Why is the etrog turned?

    The proper procedure

    for saying a blessing is

    to hold the object in

    ones dominant hand,

    recite the blessing and

    perform the act. If one

    wishes to eat an apple,

    one takes the apple in

    ones dominant hand,

    says the blessing and

    then takes a bite.

    Once one is holding the

    lulav and etrog, how-ever, one is technically

    performing the mitzvah.

    Therefore, one holds the

    etrog in the wrong posi-tion until the blessing

    has been completed.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Recycled SpeciesWhen Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi Assi happened to get hold of a loaf of bread thathad been used for an eiruv (method of creating a private area in which one wouldbe allowed to carry on Shabbat), they used to say over it the blessing, who bringsforth bread from the earth, saying, since one religious duty has been performedwith it, let us perform with it still another (Berachot 39b). To this end, many customs have developed in which items that have been used for a holy purposeare reused for other elevated purposes. For instance:

    1) The etrog (citron), one of the four species of Sukkot, is used by many to produce post-holiday delicacies such as etrog jam. Others use the citron fruit for besamim(smelling spices for havdallah after Shabbat), often sticking cloves into the rind to enhance thescent.

    2) The lulav (the palm branch of the four species of Sukkot) is set aside to dry. The dried lulav isthen used as tinder to start the fire in which chametz (leaven) is burned before Passover.

    Making Etrog JamSlice etrog and remove as many seeds as possible. Try slicing the long wayinto eighths to get seeds out as efficiently as possible. There are a lot ofseeds in an etrog so allow at least 1 hour for this step.

    Chop the fruit into very small pieces, including the peel (consider using a foodprocessor for this step). Cover the fruit with water and refrigerate for at least 12hours. Next, bring everything to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

    Drain the fruit.

    Cover the fruit with water again and simmer for 20 more minutes, then refrigerate for at least12 hours. Drain. Cover the fruit with water and simmer uncovered again for 20 minutes. Drainthe fruit. (These steps are important since if you skip them the finished product will be bitter!)

    Cover the fruit with water and add most of the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered forone hour. (Be careful here, if you leave it for a minute it can burn on the bottom. If it doesburn, do not stir up the burned parts into the jam. Put the jelly into a clean bowl, wash outyour pot, put the jelly back in and continue.)

    Taste to see if you need to add more sugar. Continue simmering for 1/2 hour or more. Thetemperature should be 220222, the water should be syrupy and the fruit should beclear-ish. It should cool and congeal. If it is still runny, some people add 1/4 1/2 cup of orange marmalade per quart or add pectin, and cook 15-20 minutes more.

    Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 6

    The Four Species After Sukkot

    The Ingredients1 Etrog (Citron)6 Cups Water3/4 Cup Sugar

    Recipe by Jack Reichert on greenprophet.com

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 7

    What Is A Sukkah?What Is A Sukkah?

    Websters Dictionary defines a tabernacle as a temporary dwelling. One might then think thatthe holiday of Sukkot should be celebrated by pitching a tent in the backyard or even movingto a hotel room, as neither of these are ones permanent dwelling. As Jews, however, we knowthat the methods and means of celebrating the rituals of the Jewish holidays are specified inthe Oral Law and that there are specific parameters for a temporary dwelling to be considereda sukkah.

    THE WALLSThe walls of the sukkah may be made out of any material--wood, brick, plastic, even canvas--as long as they are strong enough to withstand normal gusts of wind without swaying noticeably.

    While a sukkah must have a minimum of two and a half walls (the third half wall must bea minimum of a handbreadth wide) and have a doorway, it is best if four full walls are built.One may utilize the side of a permanent building as one of the walls of the sukkah. The sagesset both a minimum and maximum measurement on the height of a sukkah - at least 10 hand-breadths (approx 40) tall, but no higher than 20 amot (approx 30), but only a minimum is setfor the length and width (seven handbreadths - approx. 28).

    During the week of Sukkot, the sukkah becomes the Jewish peoples temporary dwelling. There-fore, weather permitting, everything that a person would do at home, such as eat, sleep or study,is done in the sukkah.

    When eating a meal or a large snack in the sukkah, one should make the following blessing:

    /vFxC cahk UbUmu 'uh,ImnC UbJSe rJt 'okIgv Qkn UbhvOt 'hh vTt QUrC

    Baruch Ahtah Ahdohnai, Ehlohaynu Melech haolam, ahsher kidishanu bmitzvotav vtzeevanu layshayv basukkah.

    Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us in His command-ments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.

    Layshayv Basukkah:To Dwell In The Sukkah:

  • Jewish Treats Guide to SukkotJewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 8

    Sukkot ExtrasThe Torah commandment is not to build a sukkah, but to dwell in the sukkah. Once the wallsand the sechach are in place, there are certain basics that are necessary for making the sukkaha place in which one can dwell. Heres a pre-Sukkot suggestion list for those who will havetheir own sukkot:

    Table and Chairs: Perhaps the most obvious, but also the most important, since dwelling in the sukkah includes eating meals and snacks (baked goods) in the sukkah as well. Although some have the custom of moving their dining room chairs into the sukkah, for those who live in cold or rainy climates, folding chairs may be most suitable.

    Lights: It is customary to light the Yom Tov and Shabbat candles in the sukkah (making certainto avoid any fire hazard situations). In order to enjoy an evening meal in the sukkah with sufficient lighting, many hang outdoor lighting from the structural beams of the sukkah roof. Make certain that the lights and electrical connections are water-safe in case of rain.

    Air Mattress: Many people try to sleep in their sukkot (weather and safety permitting). An airmattress is lightweight, and therefore easy to move in and out of the sukkah as necessary.

    Patio Heater: For those living in colder climates, outdoor patio heating units are an excellentmethod of making eating outdoors a more enjoyable experience.

    What Is A Sukkah?, ContinuedTHE ROOFThe covering on top of the sukkah is critical to the creation of a propersukkah as opposed to any other type of temporary dwelling. The material used for the covering of the sukkah is known as sechach,which is defined as anything of plant origin that is now detached fromthe ground. The sechach may not undergo any manufacturing process nor have had a previoususe (such as boards torn from a crate) nor may it be edible. Because one should enjoy dwellingin the sukkah, the sechach should not be made of a malodorous material, nor one that hasleaves that would fall off easily (and land in your soup!). Additionally, the individual sechachpieces should be less than four handbreadths wide.

    The way the sechach is placed on top of the sukkah is also important in creating a koshersukkah. There must be enough sechach so that there is more shadow than sunlight, yet not somuch sechach that one is unable to see the larger stars at night.

    The requirements that the sechach be detached from the ground and that the night sky besomewhat visible, creates another important factor to consider when building a sukkah--whereit is placed. To meet the sechach requirements, one cannot build the sukkah beneath the over-hang of a building or, more importantly, under a tree whose branches spread over the sukkah.

    The placing of the sechach must be the final act of building the body of the sukkah.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Building the sukkah is one mitzvah, decorating the sukkah is yet another. While all mitzvotshould be done in a way that enhances their beauty, the sukkah is one of the few mitzvot singled out for beautification: This is my God and I shall exalt Him (Exodus 15:2)--exalt Himby beautifying the performance of the mitzvot. Build a beautiful sukkah, select a beautifullulav, choose a beautiful shofar...(Shabbat 133b).

    The sages of the Talmud suggested hanging "handmade carpets and tapestries, nuts, almonds,peaches, pomegranates, branches of grapes, vines...wreaths of corn ears" (Beitzah 30b). Suchnatural decorations were appropriate not just because they were available in what was then amore agrarian society, but also because they reflected the spirit of thankfulness for a plentifulharvest. Today in North America many people hang artificial fruit as well as gourds.

    Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 9

    Beautifying the Sukkah:Chic Sukkah Decor

    Fashion Forward Sukkahby Fashion-Isha, Sharon Langert

    This is the holiday that we build and decorate huts outside our homes wherewe eat our festive meals and basically just hang out. And as mentioned in myprevious table setting inspirations post, while most people are putting thoughtinto menus and shopping lists, I'm dreaming up ideas for decorating. Thecommon thing to do is to decorate traditionally using foliage, fruits and tinselcrafts. But I prefer to turn this simple exterior 'box' that a Sukkah is into a mini'jewel box' of a room. Every year I dream up a different theme, usually basedon a color scheme that has inspired me. One year I did orange and turquoise,another year, eggplant and bordeaux. I had a lime green Sukkah and ablack and silver one dripping in mirrors and crystals. I definitely take thisbox 'out of the box'.

    Kid Decorating: Paper ChainThe paper chain is one of the most popular and easy to make sukkah decorations.

    What you need: colored construction paper, scissors, and tape/glue/stapler

    What to do: Cut construction paper into 1 wide strips. Create the first link byconnecting the two ends of one strip. Choose a second strip of a different colorand pass it through the first link before connecting the ends of the secondstrip. Repeat until a long and colorful chain is formed. Hang it creatively fromthe roof of the sukkah.

    Discover more great fashion ideas withSharon Langert at www.fashion-isha.com.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 10

    Camping in the Fall?

    Why is the holiday of Sukkot,during which one dwells in atemporary structure with asemi-permeable roof, cele-brated in the fall, at the startof the rainy season and whentemperatures begin to fall? The Torah states, in Leviticus23:43, that the reason forcelebrating the holiday ofSukkot is that Jews through-out history would rememberhow God caused the Children of Israel to dwell insukkot when He brought them out of Egypt.But if dwelling in sukkot is yet one more wayof commemorating the exodus from Egypt (asis Passover), one might think that it would beappropriate to observe the "Feast of the Taber-nacles" in the spring month of Nissan, when theJews actually left Egypt.

    The Torah, however, specifically states thatthe festival of Sukkot should be celebrated at the time of the gathering of the harvest. Indeed, the Torah not only specifies which harvest--the gathering from the threshing-floor and the gathering from the winepress--but that the harvest and the festival shouldoccur in the seventh month.

    More than just anniversaries of great events inJewish history, however, the Jewish holidays

    are celebrations of the relationship of the Jewishpeople with the Divine andwith the world around us.The importance of celebrating the holidayduring the fall is that itdemonstrates faith in God.If one chose to dwell in asukkah during the spring-time, it could easily beconstrued as merely apleasant excursion.Dwelling in the sukkahwhen the weather is

    growing wetter and colder also makes astatement about the Jewish people's beliefand trust in God as a Provider and Sustainer.

    While we are far less in tune with the changingof the seasons in todays modern world, thereis still no question as to the power of rain...this,too, is an aspect of the celebration of Sukkot atthe beginning of the rainy season. Dwellingoutside in a sukkah reminds us of how powerful the forces of nature can be, and ofhow vulnerable humankind is to such forces.

    Sukkot is celebrated in the fall because that iswhen the Torah instructs us to celebrate theholiday. However, the fact that it is in the fallgives every individual the unique opportunity ofnot only feeling, but demonstrating, their trustin God and His control over the natural world.

    You shall dwell in boothsseven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell inbooths; that your generationsmay know that I made theChildren of Israel to dwell inbooths, when I brought themout of the land of Egypt...

    Leviticus 23:42-43

    While one must eat in the sukkah throughout the holiday, on the first night there is a specific obligation to do so. If it is raining, it is customary to wait until the rain has stoppedto start the meal--waiting even until midnight. If the rain does not stop, many make thekiddush and hamotzee (blessings over the wine and bread) in the sukkah and then returnto the house to conclude the meal.

    You shall dwell in boothsseven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell inbooths; that your generationsmay know that I made theChildren of Israel to dwell inbooths, when I brought themout of the land of Egypt...

    Leviticus 23:42-43

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 11

    According to the kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, the Divine Presence (Shechina) accompa-nies every Jew into the sukkah. The Shechina itself is accompanied by the seven shepherds of Israel,the Ushpezin, each of whom reminds Jews of the time of wandering in the wilderness because they lived through their own exile: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aharon, and David. Accordingto tradition, each night a different one of the Ushpezin visits each sukkah. The order may vary according to custom.


    left his home to protect himself from his brother

    and to find a wife (Genesis).


    went to Gerar in the Kingdom of Philistia when there

    was famine (Genesis).


    led the nation in the wilderness in his role as High Priest



    led the nation out of slavery in Egypt, through the

    wilderness and to the borders of the Promised Land



    was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt



    was driven into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of Saul

    (I Samuel).


    went forth from his homelandand his fathers house to go toCanaan, the unknown placethat God would show him


    Ushpezin (Ooshpeezin)

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Sukkot is considered the holiday on which God determines theworlds water allotment for the year to come. During the time ofthe Temple, the week of Sukkot was highlighted by the festive water libation ceremony, during which water was poured into the altarafter the morning offering. The celebration actually lasted all nightand was known as the Simchat Beit Hashoevah, the Celebration ofthe House of the Water Drawing.

    The Simchat Beit Hasho'evah was such a joyous and wonderful event that the sages wrote of it in the Talmud (Sukkah 51a), "Whoever did not see this celebration [the Simchat Beit Hasho'evah] never saw a real celebration in his days."

    Here is a description of the how it was celebrated in the Temple: The Temple was set up for theSimchat Beit Hasho'evah. Three balconies were erected in the womens section and the menwould stand in a courtyard below, allowing more people to attend. Golden lamps were placedin the courtyard that gave off enough light to illuminate the entire city. In the courtyard, menwould dance as the Levites played instruments and sang praises to God. The kohanim, thepriests, would then go to the Gichon Spring and draw the water to be used.

    It is customary today, during the week of Sukkot, to attend or host a Simchat Beit Hasho'evahparty, which generally takes place in the sukkah.

    Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 12

    The Water Holiday

    One of the unique laws of the holiday of Sukkot in the days of theTemple, was the additional offerings that were sacrificed. On the first day of the holiday, 13 young bulls were sacrificed, on the second day 12, on the third day 11, on the fourth day 10, on thefifth day 9, on the sixth day 8, and on the seventh day 7. In total, 70 bulls were offered. Sukkot is the only holiday on which the number of the sacrifices varies from day to day.

    In the Talmud (Sukkah 55b), Rabbi Eliezer explains that these 70 offerings are brought for the[merit of the] 70 nations of the world. Rashi, the famous 11th century commentator, explainedthat this was, To bring a forgiveness [offering] for them [the 70 nations], so that rain shall fallall over the world.

    Why does Rashi specify so that rain shall fall all over the world? Rain is the ultimate sign ofblessing--when it falls in a timely manner and in proper proportions. Without rain, nothing canlive. Additionally, when all nations are sufficiently endowed with their needs (water, food, etc.)peace prevails, and peace is the greatest blessing of all.

    International Oxen

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

    Beating the WillowsAccording to tradition, as stated in the Zohar (3:31b):This [Hoshana Rabbah] is the final day of judgmentfor water, source of all blessings. On the seventh dayof Sukkot the judgment of the world is finalized and the edicts are sent forth from the King.The days of judgment are not, it seems, truly overuntil the seventh day of Sukkot.

    On Rosh Hashana, God determines the fate and fortune of both individuals and communities for theyear to come, including exactly how much one willearn in the coming year. Material endowments areone form of sustenance. On the holiday of Sukkot,however, God determines the worlds water allotment for the year to come.

    Since God is still sitting in His heavenly courtroomdeciding the fate of the world, there is still time toslip in a final appeal or to do an extra act of kindnessin the hope of altering the scales of justice in onesfavor. Therefore, in the synagogue, the following actsare added:

    a) One or more of the Torah scrolls are removed fromthe ark and held by members of the congregation atthe bimah (platform or table on which Torah is read).

    b) While holding the lulav and etrog, the bimah is circled 7 times while responsively reciting the specialHoshana prayers (hoshanot) of the day.

    c) After circling the bimah, the lulav and etrog is putdown and special bundles of 5 aravot (willow branches)are held. Selichot, penitential prayers, are then recited and the Torah scrolls are returned to the ark.

    d) The participants then take the bundle of aravot(willow branches) and beat them against the groundfive times.

    Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 13

    The Great Hoshana

    Customs of Hoshana Rabbaha) There is a custom to spend the nightof Hoshana Rabbah studying Torah,fortifying oneself at the last moment ofjudgment.

    b) In Israel, people stay up all nightstudying Torah and then thousands goto the Western Wall for the HoshanaRabbah Service.

    c) The cantor wears a white kittel (robe)on Hoshana Rabbah, as he does onRosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

    d) It is customary to eat a festive mealin the sukkah in the afternoon to fulfillthe mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkahone last time.

    e) It is traditional to begin the mealwith a whole round challah which issprinkled with salt and then dipped inhoney.

    f) On Hashana Rabbah, some havethe custom to serve kreplach(dumplings), which are symbolic of ourwanting God to hide our sins.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 14

    While every community and family has its own customs and traditions, there are no official foods ofthe holiday for Sukkot, with the exception of kreplach (stuffed dumplings) on Hoshana Rabbah.However, it is an almost univeral custom that the dishes served on Sukkot reflect the harvest season.Here are three delightful examples from Norene Gilletzs Healthy Helpings:

    Black Bean and Corn CasseroleSpray a 2-quart ovenproof casserole withnon-stick spray.

    Combine all ingredients and mix well.

    Bake covered at 350 F for 45 minutes, untilbubbling hot and flavors are blended. (Or microwave in a covered microsafe casserole on HIGH for 15 to 18 minutes. Stironce or twice during cooking.)

    Yield: 6 servings of about 1 cup each. Freezes and/or reheatswell. Also delicious cold.

    Honey and Spice and Everything Nice CakePreheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 10-inchBundt pan with non-stick spray.

    In a food processor, beat eggs, egg whites,sugar and oil until light. Add honey, mix well.

    Combine dry ingredients and spices. Add to batter, alternatingwith tea and brandy. Mix just until blended. Stir in raisins andapricots.

    Pour batter into pan. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes,or until cake tests done.

    Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Loosen cake frompan with a flexible spatula. Carefully invert onto a serving plate.

    Yield: 20 servings. Freezes well.

    Sukkot Cuisine

    4 cups cooked or canned black beans2 cups stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce3 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar2 medium onions, chopped1 green pepper, chopped1 red pepper, chopped3/4 cup canned or frozen corn niblets1 tsp Dijon mustard1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp chili powderfreshly ground pepper to taste

    3 eggs plus 2 egg whites (or 4 eggs)1 cup brown sugar, packed1/3 cup canola oil11/4 cups liquid honey3 cups flour

    (you can use part whole wheat)2 tsp baking powder1 tsp baking soda2 tsp cinnamon1/4 tsp ground ginger1/4 tsp allspice3/4 cup cold tea or coffee1/4 cup brandy, whiskey or orange juice1/2 cup raisins, rinsed and well-drained1/2 cup dried apricots, cut up

    Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of nine cookbooks and dividesher time between work as a food writer, culinary consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and editor.Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is Food thats good for you should taste good! For more informationabout her cookbooks, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at [email protected]

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 15

    Kreplach (Dumplings)In the food processor, combine flour, salt, egg, egg whites and water.Process with the steel knife for 25 to 30 seconds, until dough forms aball on the blades. Remove dough from bowl and wrap in foil for 20minutes for easier handling. Meanwhile, prepare a filling.

    Divide dough in four pieces. Shape 1 piece of dough into a square on alightly floured surface. (Keep remaining dough covered.) Roll dough verythin into a rectangle. Cut into squares. Place 2 teaspoons of filling in thecenter of each square. Moisten edges of dough with water. Fold eachsquare in half to make a triangle. Seal completely by pinching edges together firmly. Join 2 points together to form a little purse. Repeat withremaining dough and filling. (May be made in advance up to this point andfrozen on a baking sheet. When frozen, wrap well. Cook without thawing.)

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kreplach to pot and cookuncovered for 15 minutes (or 20 minutes if frozen). They will rise to thetop when done. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Sprinklelightly with oil to prevent sticking.

    Filling: Process chicken or meat in food processor until minced, 6 - 8seconds. Add chicken broth or gravy, eggs, salt and pepper. Process afew seconds to combine.

    Dough2 cups flour1/4 tsp salt1 egg plus 2 egg whites1/4 cup warm water1-2 tsp canola oil

    Filling4 cups cooked chicken or

    meat (an excellent use for leftovers)

    1/2 cup chicken broth or gravy

    2 eggssalt and pepper

    International Customs of SukkotMorocco: A unique custom among Moroccan Jews is to hang a decorated chair on the wallof the sukkah and put festival prayer books on top of it. There are two opinions regarding theoriginal meaning of this custom: 1) The chair is reserved for the ushpezin, and 2) This chair is akise shel Eliyahu Hanavi, the chair of Elijah the prophet, to remind all who come to thesukkah of the imminent arrival of the Messiah.

    Alsace, France: According to Daniel Staubens 1860 Scenes of Jewish Life in Alsace,the Jews of this region in France maintained a custom of hanging a red onion stuck with rooster feathers in the sukkah doorway.

    Judeo-Spanish: Jews who follow Judeo-Spanish customs include bisochos, sweet,sesame seed-covered cookie rings, among the hanging decorations in their sukkot. Whilethese cookies are traditionally shaped as rings, some make them in the shape of a Star ofDavid.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot Jewish Treats Guideto Sukkot 16

    Shemini Atzeret, literally the Gathering of the Eighth, appears, on the surface, to be the eighth day(and ninth day outside of Israel) of Sukkot. It is, however, a separate and independent holiday thatimmediately follows Sukkot.

    In Israel, Shemini Atzeret is celebrated concurrently with Simchat Torah. Outside of Israel, Simchat Torahis celebrated on the day following Shemini Atzeret. They are presented here as two separate days.

    The Next Day, The Next Holidays:Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

    Immediately after HoshanaRabbah, the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, literally theGathering of the Eighth, begins. It is a connected, yetindependent holiday.

    Because of Sukkots focus on allnations, God ordained SheminiAtzeret to demonstrate Godsspecial love for the Jewish people--comparable to a hostasking his/her best friend tostay after everyone else has left, in order toshare a private moment and relish the timespent together.

    On Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, there isno longer an obligation to dwell or eat in thesukkah. In the Diaspora, some eat in thesukkah (without a blessing) on SheminiAtzeret, while others do not. In Israel, there isno custom to eat in the sukkah on SheminiAtzeret.

    Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in theTorah), which marksthe conclusion of theyearly cycle of thereading of the Torah

    is, technically, still SheminiAtzeret. On Simchat Torah, theTorah is not only completed, it isbegun again, to show that Torahis always new and fresh and thatour mitzvah to study Torah isnever-ending.

    On the night of Simchat Torah,all the Torah scrolls are removedfrom the ark. The bimah (platformor table on which the Torah isread) is circled seven times

    by those holding the Torah scrolls with thecongregation dancing joyously with them.Each encirclement, called hakafa, begins witha responsive prayer.

    During the morning service, all the Torahs are again taken from the ark and thehakafot, the joyous circling of the night before, are repeated. The final parasha(weekly portion) of the Torah, Vzot Habracha(And this is the blessing...) is read. The final

    parasha is read overand over until everyonehas been called to theTorah. In some congregations, severalTorah readings takeplace simultaneously.

  • Jewish Treats Guide to Sukkot

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