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the fifteenth day of the seventh month there shall be the Feast
of Booths to the Eternal One."
Sukkot retains its agricultural character, but also commemorates the journey through the wilderness towards the Land of Israel. The Torah identifies the Sukkah (booth) with the temporary dwellings in which the Israelites lived during that journey. Sukkot is a joyous time, in contrast to the solemn days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur just passed. But even while we rejoice, the Sukkah's temporary and fragile structure reminds us how precarious life may be.
Through the use of the Arba Minim (the four species), the Lulav, and the Etrog (pictured below), we acknowledge our dependence upon God for the food that we eat. Our thoughts turn to the wonder and beauty of our world, to our responsibilities as caretakers, and to our obligation to share. It is a mitzvah to bring produce to the Synagogue and for the community to share this with the less fortunate of its members and others.
The rejoicing culminates a week later in the festival of Simchat Torah.
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