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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10 Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.
Sukkot is a seven-day holiday that begins on the 15th of the month of Tishrei - תשרי. In 2015, people celebrated Sukkot on September 27th, and in 2016, they’ll celebrate it on October 17th. People celebrate the holiday in a Sukkah - סוכה (su-kah)—a temporary structure erected outdoors, whose walls are generally large pieces of cloth, and whose roof is made of branches and leaves.
Let's learn about why Jews build Sukkahs, and what they do inside them.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Sukkot has another name. What is it?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
The source of the holiday is in the Torah, which states “In order that your ensuing generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt.” On this holiday, people sit inside the Sukkahs in memory of the Sukkahs that the Children of Israel - בני ישראל (Be’nei Israel) dwelt in in the desert, after they left Egypt - מצרים (Mitz-ra-ym).
Usually, the entire family builds the Sukkah together, and the children enjoy decorating it with colorful paper chains and pictures, paper cutouts, and more. Observant Jews remain in the Sukkahs throughout the holiday, eat in them, and sleep in them too. Traditionally, people invite many guests to their Sukkahs, including relatives, friends, neighbors, and strangers.
The most important elements of the Sukkah, which are also the symbols of the holiday, are the four species - ארבעת המינים (arba’at ha’minim) the Lulav - לולב, which is a young palm branch, the Etrog - אתרוג, a citrus fruit that resembles a lemon, the Hadas - הדס, a myrtle branch, and the Arava, a willow branch - ערבה. Observant Jews hold the four species every day and say a blessing over them. One of the explanations for this tradition is to rejoice with nature, and to thank God for it. Each of the four species has special attributes, and together, they symbolize the variety within the nation of Israel.
The holiday of Sukkot is the only Jewish holiday without specific holiday foods. Though it is customary to eat in the Sukkah during the days of the holiday, there is no tradition that determines which food will be served.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What’s the other name for Sukkot, and what does it symbolize?
Sukkot is also called the Holiday of the Harvest - חג הקציר (hag ha’katzir), because it occurs at the end of the agricultural year when the harvest is collected from the fields. This name highlights the agricultural aspect of the holiday.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? When was the last time you slept in the great outdoors?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!