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Tabernacles, Feast of

Tabernacles, Feast of, one of the oldest and most joyous of Jewish holidays, called in the Bible the Feast of Ingathering and today often called by its Hebrew name, Sukkoth [Heb., = booth]. The holiday begins on the 15th day of Tishri, the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, and lasts for eight days (seven days in Israel). The Feast of Tabernacles, which marked the closing of the harvest season for the Jews of ancient Palestine, is today celebrated by the taking of all meals in a lightly constructed booth roofed with thatch (a sukkah ) to recall the shelters of the Jews when they wandered in the wilderness. The palm branch (lulav or lulab) and citron (etrog or ethrog) used in conjunction with prayers of the Feast of Tabernacles possibly go back to the harvest festival associated with the holiday. The day after Sukkoth is Simhath Torah [Heb., = rejoicing of the law], which celebrates the annual completion of the reading of the Torah. Ex. 23.16; Lev. 23.33–44; Num. 29.12–40; Ezek. 45.25.

See H. Schauss, Guide to Jewish Holy Days (1938, repr. 1970); P. Goodman, The Sukkot and Simhat Torah Anthology (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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