Past Jewish Festivals

Succot Day 2 (Tabernacles 2)

14 October 2011

Tishrei 16 - On the 15th day of TISHREI, four days after YOM KIPPUR we celebrate the third of the Pilgrim festivals SUCCOTH. Originally a harvest festival it was given added historical significance as a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt when our people had to live in temporary dwellings called SUCCOTH (Booths). The biblical regulations concerning the holiday mention the injunction to live in the SUCCOTH.

On the 15th day of TISHREI, four days after YOM KIPPUR we celebrate the third of the Pilgrim festivals SUCCOTH. Originally a harvest festival it was given added historical significance as a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt when our people had to live in temporary dwellings called SUCCOTH (Booths). The biblical regulations concerning the holiday mention the injunction to live in the SUCCOTH.

The symbol of the festival concerns the four species: the LULAV (Palm branch), bound up with three HADASSIM (Myrtles) and two ARAVOT (Willows), together with the ETROG (Citron). Each day, except on Shabbat, a circuit of the synagogue with the four species in hand is made while reciting the special prayer called HOSHANA (O deliver). The seventh day of the festival is called HOSHANA RABBA. During this service a bunch of five willow twigs bound with a palm leaf arebeaten until all the leaves are broken off. This is tosymbolise the suffering man inflicts upon himself in search of forgiveness. It also represents his hope andtrust in G-d for nature’s renewal.

HOSHANA RABBA is the final day of the Judgement cycle which started on ROSH HASHANAH. The eighth day is SHEMINIATZERET (The Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly). The last day is SIMCHAT TORAH (Rejoicing of the Law). In Israel Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined in one day. On SHEMINI ATZERET we pray for rain, we also recite YIZKOR. SIMCHAT TORAH marks the end of the annual cycle of the Torah reading, and the new cycle starts with the reading of the first chapter of Genesis. HAKAFOT a procession with the Torah scrolls, is the mark of the day. Special attention is given to children, who join the celebrations with flags and singing.

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