October 9, 2014 
Sukkot traces its roots to the many agricultural ceremonies enacted by the ancient Hebrews, becoming a festival of thanks for a bountiful fall harvest and one of three “pilgrimage festivals” during which a portion of the first fruits were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Over the years, Sukkot was
transformed by the Torah into a
festival that celebrates and commemorates the protection afforded the Israelites throughout their wanderings in the wilderness, as referenced in Leviticus 23:42-43:
You shall dwell in booths seven days…Consequently, the major symbol of Sukkot is the sukkah, from the Hebrew word for “hut” or “booth.”
that your generations may know that
I made the Israelites dwell in booths,
when I brought them out of
the Land of Egypt.
Other symbols of the festival include the lulav (consisting of two willow branches, a single palm branch and three myrtle branches) and the etrog (Hebrew for “citron”), a fruit similar in color and shape to a lemon. The lulav and etrog are used together in a prayer ritual for Sukkot.
Worship services may be heard via live audio stream on the Emanu-El website, through the Emanu-El audio player after completion of the live service, or as podcasts. (MP3 files are available for one week after the service.)
View our Family Activities for Sukkot »
View Rabbi Davidson’s brief video greeting for Sukkot »
Back to Holy Days & Festivals