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Sukkot in Israel: A Feast for the Senses

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Celebrating the Sukkot holiday in a Sukkah!

Jews across the globe will begin to dine in their sukkahs tomorrow night, September 20, 2021, the Eve of the Sukkot holiday. Sukkahs are so important that there's even an entire tractate of the Talmud, Masechet Sukkah, is dedicated to the rules of building a sukkah.

A Sukkot primer

There are so many questions regarding sukkahs: How many walls? How high? How short? Can it be on wheels? Can it be made of wood? What about fabric? And if you don't have palm fronds which are a particular favorite for the sukkah "roof", can you use beach grass? What about Indian corn? Can it be on a camel? (yes!). So many questions! Well, Israel is Beautiful is here to give you a quick Sukkot primer and some pictures of the sukkot that we've spotted in Jerusalem and around the country.

What is Sukkot all about?

Unlike other holidays, this holiday has two purposes: (1) to remind us of the temporary dwellings (the sukkot) that the Children of Israel lived in during their 40 years of wandering in the desert and (2) to celebrate the end of the fall harvest season. As the holiday lasts for seven nights, we spend those days and nights in the sukkah; some of us eat all our meals there and some actually sleep in their sukkah through the entire holiday! Along with Shavuot and Passover, it is also a harvest festival when, during the times of the First and Second Temples, Jews from across the country would come to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices.

Is Sukkot mentioned in the Torah? Yes! In the Torah, it is referred to as Chag HaAsif (holiday of the ingathering or harvest) or as Chag HaSukkot (the holiday of Sukkot). The date for celebration is also ordained as beginning on the 15th day of the 7th month. (Exodus 34 and Leviticus 23)

The Sukkah walls