What is Sukkot?
Sukkot is the holiday where Jewish people step outside their comfortable homes and live for 7 days in a temporary hut. It is also when we shake our lulav and etrog.
Sukkot is called Zman Simchatenu (“the Time of our Joy.”) The reasons for this deep, spiritual joy are many, but the most significant is that we have just come through a long season of introspection, topped by the Ten Days of Repentance, culminating in Yom Kippur. And we are certain that God has accepted our sincere resolutions to improve, and granted us a new year of wonderful, bountiful, beautiful life. If that’s not something to be ecstatic about, what is?
Sukkot is also referred to as the “Feast of Tabernacles.” This refers to the temporary dwellings the Israelites lived in during that 40-year journey in the desert to the Holy Land. Those huts were portable, like the Tabernacle, so the holiday is known by that name. Moreover, we live in temporary housing during the week-long holiday.
When is Sukkot?
Sukkot is 2 weeks after Rosh Hashanah and usually falls in September or October.
How is Sukkot Celebrated?
On Sukkot we eat and sleep in temporary huts, the Sukkah, for 7 days. We decorate our Sukkah and make it feel warm and cozy no matter what the weather is like.
We shake the lulav (palm) and etrog (citron) every day and we eat lots of stuffed foods to symbolize that we are "stuffed" or "wrapped" in God's blessings. See a list of ready-to-go Sukkot menus. It is at this time when we could become conceited with our possessions, and newly acquired success, when we leave the comforts of our homes and live in a flimsy roofed sukkah, and thereby put our faith in God.
Also there is an idea that real blessing only comes from things that are hidden from the eye. We therefore cover our blessings from everyone out there, and show our appreciation from God.