|Hut for the
Harvest - Sukkot
September 25th marks the
beginning of Sukkot, an eight day holiday in which Jewish families give thanks for gifts
that come from the land. A popular custom is to serve all meals outdoors in a sukkah for
eight days. The sukkah would be a simple hut built out of sticks, palm tree leaves and
filled with the fall harvest.
Building a sukkah can be a fun family affair. Four species are always used in the sukkah: citron (etrog), palm branch (lulav), 3 myrtle (hades) and 2 willow (aravah). Each day of Sukkot except on Shabbat, we shake these four species together during the daytime after saying the blessing.
Why do we have this custom? One explanation is that each of the four species represents a different.type of Jew. The mitzvah (good deed) requires all four kinds to symbolize our oneness as a people: we all need one another. These four species are waved in all four directions (north, south, east and west) and up and down, signifying that G-d is everywhere.
Blessing for the Four Species
[The first time you do it: and add below blessing as well:]
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech HaOlom She-heh-che-yoh-nu vi-ki-ye-mo-nu ve-hege-o-nu liz-man ha-zeta
[Each time after the first time:]
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech HaOlom A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzivo-nu Awl Ne-te-las Lu-lav