• Issue: August 1971
  • Designer: A. Kalderon
  • Plate no.: 324 - 327
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Sukkot, important in Jewish tradition, is the third of the "three occasions" on which the Israelites used to go up to the Temple in Jerusalem. Sukkot is also known as the Harvest Feast. "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the lord seven days" (Leviticus 23:39).

The celebration in the Temple was especially joyous, and involved surrounding the altar with "the four species" - citrus fruit (the etrog), a palm frond (the lulav), the branch of a thick tree (the hadas, or myrtle), and the willow. The holiday applied to all - the citizen and his family as well as the poor end lowly people dependent upon him: "And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou and thy son and thy daughter, and thy manservant and thy maidservant, and the Levite and stranger, and the fatherless and the widow that are within thy gates" (Deuteronomy 16:14).

Another aspect of the holiday is the injuncture to reside in a tabernacle (i.e., booth) in memory of the provisional and temporary living accommodations of the Israelites in the desert during their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land: "On Sukkot ye shall dwell seven days... so that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt" (Leviticus 23:42, 43).

Sukkot is a continuation of the days of judgment and mercy - Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (New Year and Day of Atonement) - earlier in the same month. "And on the holiday (Sukkot) they are judged on the water" (Mishnah, Rosh Hashana, Chapter 1). The Temple ceremonies included pouring water on the altar, and the "celebration of the well," and indeed many of the prayers during the seven days of the holiday and the following day as well ask for beneficient rain for the new year. Rain is considered to be a concrete expression of the Lord's blessing, ensuring the continued existence and security of the nation on its land: "And I will give you rains in their season, and the land shall yield their fruit, and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely" (Leviticus 26:4, 5.

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Festivals 5732 (1971)