Get Ready for Sukkot!

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, October 1, 2022

From the sounds of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we move into the shelter of the holiday of Sukkot. The Sukkah is a simple structure. It provides a shelter from some of the elements, while letting others, such as wind and rain, come in through the roof. In the Sukkah we can see the stars. In the Sukkah we can appreciate the wonders of nature, and the fragility of life.

The sixth tractate of the second division of the Mishnah (rabbinic commentary on the Torah, 200CE) is called Sukkah. The very first verses give a detailed description of how to build a Sukkah:

  1. It must be less than 30 feet high.
  2. The walls must be strong enough to withstand ordinary wind gusts.
  3. The shade offered by the roof of the Sukkah should be able to block most of the sun’s rays while allowing the stars to be visible at night.
  4. There must be at least three walls, made of any material.
  5. The Sukkah must be a temporary structure.
  6. It is a mitzvah to eat one’s meals in the Sukkah.
  7. While it is a mitzvah to live in the Sukkah as much as possible, you are not obligated to sleep in eat, especially in colder climates. And if it is raining hard enough that there is more water than soup in your bowl, you may finish your meal indoors.
  8. The Sukkah can be decorated with fruits, vegetables, and art projects.
  9. There is no minimum size, but the Sukkah must be large enough for at least one person.

It is a mitzvah to build your own Sukkah and live in it during the week of Sukkot. It’s also a mitzvah to wave the lulav and etrog, and to invite guests to join you in the Sukkah.

We will be celebrating Sukkot together at Solel beginning Sunday October 9th. Come decorate the Sukkah and celebrate Sukkot with our hot dog dinner and family service starting at 6pm. And on Monday morning, October 10th at 10am we will hold our Sukkot morning service and wave the lulav and etrog. During the week of Sukkot, come and eat in the Sukkah with friends and family. In past years families have joined together for picnics, and groups have studied Jewish texts together in our Sukkah.

Did you know that Sukkot is a great time to think about environmental issues? Build and decorate your Sukkah with recycled materials! For more information about Sukkot, including the blessings to recite, go to: Want to build your own Sukkah? Check out PJ Library.


Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

Filed under: Rabbi's Message

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