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Sukkot: a Holiday of Joy

28 Sep 2023 1:06 PM | Franklin Jester (Administrator)

By Henry HollanderSukkot is my daughter’s favorite Jewish holiday. It might be mine too, but I don’t like to play favorites.

Like Passover, Sukkot (Hag Ha-Sukkot in Hebrew: The Festival of Booths, or Sukkos in Yiddish) is a holiday we celebrate at home. Well, not exactly at home; sukkahs are usually home adjacent. You can build them in your yard or on your deck or on a balcony - any place where you have open sky above you. A Sukkah needs three walls, and it needs to be covered with fresh greenery – enough to give you a bit more than fifty percent shade.

My daughter likes Sukkot because it combines so many of the things that she calls fun: being together with family and friends, making meals with comfort foods, a construction project, and an opportunity to decorate.

You are supposed to "dwell" in your Sukkah during the holiday, but how do you know that you are dwelling? You dwell where you eat all your meals and where you sleep. We used to eat all of our meals in the Sukkah, and my daughter and her best friend once tried sleeping in ours, but they came inside after getting spider bites. Blu Greenberg, in How To Run a Traditional Jewish Household, reminds us that if it is pouring rain we are required to come inside, as the mitzvah of sitting in a Sukkah is only fulfilled when the holiday is a time of our joy.

Sukkot is a great time to get together family and friends, have some fun, and indulge your creative side. If you don’t have the space or the time to build your own, make sure to visit one at a local synagogue, JCC, or at a friend's house.

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