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33And the L-RD spoke to Moses, saying, 34“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the L-RD. 35On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 36For seven days you shall present food offerings to the L-RD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the L-RD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

37“These are the appointed feasts of the L-RD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the L-RD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, 38 besides the L-RD’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the L-RD.

39“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the L-RD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the L-RD your G-d seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the L-RD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the L-RD your G-d.” Vayikra [Leviticus] 33-43

The commandment of Sukkot is found in Vayikra [Leviticus] 23, Bamidbar[Numbers] 29, and Devarim [Deuteronomy] 16 with several other mentions throughout Scripture. It is crucial that these verses be the starting point for anyone interested in celebrating Sukkot. Once a solid knowledge of literal Scripture is acquired then one should begin reading the traditions of the feast. Have the ability to distinguish between man-made traditions and the mitzvot [commandments] of HaShem. In most cases Jewish traditions support the mitzvot [commandments] and make mitzvot [commandments] easier to keep. For example the mitzvah [commandment] of writing the words of the Sh’ma on the doorposts of your house is made easier by affixing a mezuzah. Although, some traditions may distract from the purpose and are not scriptural. For example, stepping over a silver spoon as a bride and groom enter the secluded room. Do you have any questions about what is commanded and what is tradition in relation to sukkot?

Please leave a comment with your questions. Also, here are some great resources to expand your knowledge of Sukkot and celebrate this joyous occasion together with Israel.

Overview of Sukkot:

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm

Basic and advanced information [audio, text, video]:

http://www.ou.org/chagim/sukkot/

Special Torah Readings for Sukkot:

Sukkot, Day 1 Lev 22:26-23:44 Num 29:12-16 Zech 14:1-21
Sukkot, Day 2 I Kings 8:2-21
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 1 Num 29:17-25
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 2 Num 29:20-28
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 3 Num 29:23-31
Sukkot, Chol Ha-mo’ed Day 4 Num 29:26-34
Sukkot, Intermediate Shabbat Ex 33:12-34:26 Ezek 38:18-39:16
Hoshanah Rabbah Num 29:26-34
Shemini Atzeret Deut 14:22-16:17 Num 29:35-30:1 I Ki 8:54-9:1

Blessing upon entering a sukkah:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam,
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leishev ba-sukkah.

Blessed are You, L-RD our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who sanctifies us with His mitzvot and has commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.

Ordering Etrog and Lulav sets:

http://www.esrogfarm.com/2010/07/esrog-lulav-sets-for-shipping/

Additional Scripture Readings:

Numbers 29 12 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the L-RD seven days.”

Deuteronomy 16 13 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress.”

Ezra 3 4 “And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required,..”

Nehemiah 8 14 “And they found it written in the Law that the L-RD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,..”

Ezekiel 45 25 “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil.”

Hosea 12 9 “I am the L-RD your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.”

Zechariah 14 16 “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the L-RD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.”

John 7 2 “Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand.”

Did you build a sukkah? If so, tell us about it!

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These are the holidays that man says we may have off.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday
  • Christmas Eve (1/2 day)
  • Christmas Day

However, it is not man we are here to serve. The reason we are here is to serve HaShem and draw closer to Him, but how can we expect to do this if we do not keep and observe His Moedim {appointed times}? None of the previous holidays are in the Bible except for New Years and even that is on the wrong day. Thankfully, HaShem compiled the Moedim into one chapter of the Torah! Vayikra {Leviticus} 23 explains when each Moed {festival} is, what it is celebrating, and whether or not we may work. It is very important to purchase a Hebraic calendar and study Vayikra 23. The Hebraic calendar is also available online at www.hebcal.com. Throughout the year there are 7 days we are commanded not to work as listed below for the year 2010.

  • Pesach – the first and last day – March 30, Tuesday and April 5, Monday
  • Shavuot– May 19, Wednesday
  • Rosh Hashanna– September 9, Thursday
  • Yom Kippur – September 18, Saturday
  • Sukkot– the first and last day – September 23, Thursday & September 29, Wednesday

It is important to note though these dates and days may vary from year to year, HaShem’s calendar does not change. He is an unchangeable and eternal G-d and His Moedim are “appointed times” during the year. We should all be examples in our workplace and request these days off. Most companies should grant permission for time off because they are required by law not to discriminate against religions. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that it is prohibited to deny a requested reasonable accommodation of an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – if an accommodation will not impose more than a de minimis cost or burden on business operations.1 Most likely your boss and coworkers will inquire about why you have these days off which becomes a great opportunity to share Torah and our obligation to keep it. Many people have said they were first introduced to Torah and began keeping the Mitzvot {commandments} after attending a Pesach seder, a Shabbat service, a Sukkot party, or any other Biblical celebration. HaShem desires our observance of His wonderful Moedim so we may keep His Torah and draw closer to Him. Let us be a light and an example for our friends, families, and coworkers. Let us be Tzadikim {righteous ones}.

1 http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_religion.html

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