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What's the connection between the High Holidays and Sukkot?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

Library » Holidays » Sukkot » Season of Rejoicing | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Question:

The High Holidays and Sukkot are in the same month, just about back to back, and seem to be connected. But what's the connection between the solemn Days of Awe and the joy of Sukkot? In that sense they seem so different?

Answer: 

You’re right—they are very different, but only externally. Everything that is experienced on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur through tears is experienced during Sukkot through joy. Sukkot is the culmination of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The observances of Sukkot, therefore, mirror the main themes of the Days of Awe:

· Rosh Hashanah: The highlight of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the Shofar. Traditionally, the procedure of blowing the shofar consists of 100 blasts: Tekia x60, Shevarim x20, and Treuah x20.1 These sounds are alluded to in the word used to describe the branches that cover the Sukkah: sechach, spelled samech (numerically equivalent to 60), chaf (20), chaf (20).2

· Yom Kippur: The primary service of Yom Kippur in the Tabernacle (and the Holy Temple) was the incense offering, which produced a cloud of smoke known as the “cloud of incense.” This cloud was the source for the “clouds of glory” that surrounded and protected the Jews in the desert. These clouds are commemorated by the sukkah, which surrounds us.3 

Footnotes

  • 1. A tekiah is one long blast; shvarim is the set of three short blasts; and teru’ah is the set of nine rapid blasts.
  • 2. See Pri Eitz Chaim, end of Sha’ar HaSukkot; Torat Levi Yitzchak p. 303.
  • 3. Source: Likutei Sichot, vol. 2, p. 425. Similarly, the seven days of Sukkot correspond to the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Simchat Torah
Holidays » Yom Kippur » About
Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » About

Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Sukkah
The temporary structure in which we are required to dwell for the duration of the holiday of Sukkot. The Sukkah must have at least three walls and its roof consists of unsecured branches, twigs or wooden slats.
Shofar
The horn of a Kosher animal. The Shofar is sounded on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and is intended to awaken us to repentance. Also blown to signify the conclusion of the Yom Kippur holiday.
Tabernacle
Mobile sanctuary which traveled with the Jews in the desert, containing the Ark with the Tablets, and the sacrificial altars. When the Jews entered Israel, it was erected in the city of Shiloh where it remained for more than 300 years. It was buried when the permanent Holy Temple was erected in Jerusalem.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
sechach
The roof of foliage which covers the sukkah (the hut used during the holiday of Sukkot).