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Jewish Holidays - Sukkot

Orna Moore weaving

Why are we commanded to sit in a Sukkah?

The Torah says "You shall dwell in booths for seven days, every citizen of Israel shall dwell in booths -- in order that your generations shall know that I caused the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt (Leviticus 23:42-43).

When the Jewish people left Egypt and traveled into the wilderness they numbered about 3 million people. The wilderness was a place of great desolation inhabited by deadly snakes and serpents, and there was no protection from the burning heat of the sun. God therefore miraculously protected His chosen nation by surrounding them with seven clouds of glory -- four around the sides, one above them, one below them like a carpet and one to lead the way. We are commanded to sit in a Sukkah to remember this wonderful and miraculous act of kindness.

How much time should one spend in the Sukkah?

The Sages say, "For the entire seven days, a person should consider the Sukkah to be his permanent home and his house to be a temporary place." Therefore, a person should eat, sleep and spend his time in the Sukkah in the same way that he does in the house during the year. He fulfills a Torah commandment every single moment that he spends in the Sukkah, both day and night.