Succoth, the 7-day-long Jewish holiday which began last night, is also known as the feast of Tabernacles. This time recalls the period during the Exodus when the Israelites stayed in make-shift huts. In very observant homes, the first the last days are holy days on which work is forbidden. The last day of the festival is called Simchat Torah (rejoicing of the Torah) when the final section of the Torah scroll is read in the synagogue, and is then turned back to the beginning to start another year’s schedule of readings reading.
Sukkot begins on Wednesday evening of this week, and lasts for seven days. This Jewish harvest holiday is in dramatic contrast to the solemnity of Yom Kippur. The holiday, in addition to the harvest, commemorates the forty-year period during which Jews wandered in the desert, living in temporary shelters. It is a festival, also called “The Feast of Tabernacles”, “The Ingathering”, “The Feast of Booths” or just “The Feast”. Sukkot is pronounced SU-COAT in Hebrew. In Yiddish it is spoken as though it rhymed with BOOK-US.
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