web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Sukkot: Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Facts, figures and symbols embedded in the holiday of Sukkot.
F121001on7

Photo Credit: Oren Nahshon / Flash90

1. The U.S. covenant with the Jewish State dates back to Columbus Day, which is celebrated around Sukkot (October 8).  According to “Columbus Then and Now” (Miles Davidson, 1997, p. 268), Columbus arrived in America on Friday afternoon, October 12, 1492, the 21st day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, the Jewish year 5235, the 7th day of Sukkot, Hoshaa’na’ Rabbah, which is a day of universal deliverance and miracles.    Hosha (הושע) is the Hebrew word for “deliverance” and Na’ (נא) is the Hebrew word for “please.”  The numerical value of Na’ is 51, which corresponds to the celebration of Hoshaa’na’ Rabbah on the 51st day following Moses’ ascension to Mt. Sinai.

2.  Sukkot is the 3rd Jewish holiday – following Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – in the month of Tishrey, the most significant Jewish month. According to Judaism, the number 3 represents divine wisdom, stability, permanence, integration and peace. 3 is the total sum of the basic odd (1) and even (2) numbers. The 3rd day of the Creation was blessed twice; God appeared on Mt. Sinai on the 3rd day; there are 3 parts to the Bible, 3 Patriarchs, 3 pilgrimages to Jerusalem, etc.

3.  The Book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon – one of the greatest philosophical documents – is read during Sukkot.  It amplifies Solomon’s philosophy on the centrality of God and the importance of morality, humility, family, friendship, historical memory and perspective, patience, long-term thinking, proper-timing, realism and knowledge.  Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A three-ply cord is not easily severed.” The Hebrew name of Ecclesiastes is Kohelet (קהלת), which is similar to the commandment to celebrate Sukkot – Hakhel (הקהל), to assemble.

4.  Sukkot starts on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrey, commemorating the Exodus and the beginning of the construction of the Holy Tabernacle in Sinai. Sukkah (סכה) and Sukkot (סכות) are named after the first stop of the Exodus – Sukkota  (סכותה).  The Hebrew root of Sukkah (סכה) is “wholesomeness” and “totality” (סך), “shelter” (סכך), “to anoint” (סוך), “divine curtain/shelter” (מסך) and “attentiveness” (סכת).

5.  The Sukkah symbolizes the Chuppah – the Jewish wedding canopy – of the renewed vows between God and the Jewish People. While Yom Kippur represents God’s forgiveness of the Golden Calf Sin, Sukkot represents the reinstatement of Divine Providence over the Jewish People.  Sukkot is called Zman Simchatenou – time of our joy – and mandates Jews to rejoice (“והיית אך שמח”).  It is the first of the three Pilgrimages to Jerusalem: Passover – the holiday of Liberty, Shavuot (Pentecost) – the holiday of the Torah and Sukkot – the holiday of Joy.

6.  “The House of David” is defined as a Sukkah (Amos 9:11), representing the permanent vision of the ingathering of Jews to the Land of Israel, Zion.  Sukkot is the holiday of harvesting – Assif (אסיף) – which also means “ingathering” (אסוף) in Hebrew. The four sides of the Sukkah represent the global Jewish community, which ingathers under the same roof.  The construction of the Sukkah and Zion are two of the 248 Jewish Do’s (next to the 365 Don’ts). Sukkot – just like Passover – commemorates Jewish sovereignty and liberty.  Sukkot highlights the collective responsibility of the Jewish people, complementing Yom Kippur’s and Rosh Hashanah’s individual responsibility.  Humility – as a national and personal prerequisite – is accentuated by the humble Sukkah. Sukkot provides the last opportunity for repentance. 

7.  Sukkot honors the Torah, as the foundation of Judaism and the Jewish people. Sukkot reflects the three inter-related and mutually-inclusive pillars of Judaism: The Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel. The day following Sukkot (Simchat Torah – Torah-joy in Hebrew) is dedicated to the conclusion of the annual Torah reading and to the beginning of next year’s Torah reading.  On Simchat Torah, the People of the Book are dancing with the Book.

8.  The seven days of Sukkot are dedicated to the seven Ushpizindistinguished guests (origin of the words Hospes and hospitality): Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David. They defied immense odds in their determined pursuit of ground- breaking initiatives. The Ushpizin constitute role models to contemporary leadership.

9. The seven day duration of Sukkot – celebrated during the 7th Jewish month, Tishrey –highlights the appreciation to God for blessing the Promised Land with the 7 species (Deuteronomy 8:8): wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olive oil, and dates’ honey – 3 fruit of the tree, 2 kinds of bread, 1 product of olives, 1 product of dates = 4 categories.  The duration of Sukkot corresponds, also, to the 7 day week (the Creation), the 7 divine clouds which sheltered the Jewish People in the desert, the 7 blessings which are read during a Jewish wedding, the 7 rounds of dancing with the Torah during Simchat Torah,  the 7 readings of the Torah on Sabbath, etc.

10.  Sukkot’s four Species (1 citron, 1 palm branch, 3 myrtle branches and 2 willow branches = 7 items) – which are bonded together – represent four types of human-beings: people who possess positive odor and taste (values and action); positive taste but no odor (action but no values); positive odor but no taste (values but no action); and those who are devoid of taste and odor (no values and no action).  However, all are bonded (and dependent upon each other) by shared roots/history. The Four Species reflect prerequisites for genuine leadership: the palm branch (Lulav in Hebrew) symbolizes the backbone, the willow (Arava in Hebrew) reflects humility, the citron (Etrog in Hebrew) represents the heart and the myrtle (Hadas in Hebrew) stands for the eyesThe four species represent the vitality of water: willow – stream water, palm – spring water, myrtle – rain, and citron – irrigation. Sukkot in general, and a day following Sukkot – Shmini Atzeret – in particular, are dedicated to thanking God for water and praying for the rain. The four species symbolize the roadmap or the Exodus: palm – the Sinai Desert, willow – the Jordan Valley, myrtle – the mountains and the citron – the coastal plain.

11.  The Sukkah must remain unlocked, and owners are urged to invite (especially underprivileged) strangers in the best tradition of Abraham, who royally welcomed to his tent three miserable-looking strangers/angels.

12.  Sukkot is a universal holiday, inviting all peoples to come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as expressed in the reading (Haftarah) of Zechariah 14: 16-19 on Sukkot’s first day. It is a holiday of peace -The Sukkah of Shalom (שלום). Shalom is one of the names of God. Shalem (שלם) – wholesome and complete in Hebrew – is one of the names of Jerusalem (Salem).

Originally published at the Ettinger Report.

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sukkot: Guide for the Perplexed 2012”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest Indepth Stories
William Safire

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

Whatever one has to say about Iran, it does have clout in the Middle East and the Gulf region and could play a key role in addressing the ISIS threat.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe states that every member of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the entire nation just as a leaf depends on the tree from which it grows.

“Israel must prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries, which may endanger its existence”

“I pray that fellow Jews open their eyes & connect themselves to the national side of being a Jew”

The big service ISIS is doing the West right now is checking Iranian power, just as the Sunni rebels inside Syria are keeping the Iranian agent Hezbollah in check, and just as the PLO is keeping Hamas in check, at least to some degree.

Research shows that high doses of marijuana can produce acute psychotic reactions, lower IQ in teens

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

More Articles from Yoram Ettinger
Jewish Holidays' Guide for the Perplexed

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

Pres. Obama claims there’s no Islam-driven terrorism or radicalism, only “local” cases of terrorism.

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

Regional pro-US Arab countries rely on Israel as a deterrence to rogue Islamic regimes.

The 49 days between Passover and Shavou’ot are dedicated to enhancing one’s behavior, following in the footsteps of the Jews, who forged/enhanced their own national character during the 40 years in the desert.

The elimination of Jews was the top priority of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Abbas – an ally of Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela – provides Hamas with a vital tailwind.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/sukkot-guide-for-the-perplexed-2012/2012/10/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: