The holiday of Sukkoth began today at sundown. The holiday Sukkoth is held in memory of the Book of Exodus tale describing how the Israelites traveled for 40 years through the Sinai Desert in Egypt before entering the Holy Land. To celebrate the occasion, Jews built a structure known as a sukkah, a replica of the huts that Israelites lived in during their voyage.
The Sukkah is three sided with a roof and decorated with the fruits and vegetables of the harvest season. Usually in the family's backyard, meals and prayers are held in the Sukkoth.
I remember the Sukkah built at my hebrew school and its smell of Fall and Honey Cake and Sponge Cake and Mogan David Concord Wine! Ah the smells and flavors of childhood.
On Sukkoth, we are commanded to wave the Four Species, each noted for its special beauty:
- Esrog – the citron, a fragrant fruit with a thick, white rind. It is often picked from the tree while green, and then ripens to a bright yellow.
- Lulav – the palm branch, which is defined in beauty by having a straight shape and leaves tightly bound.
- Hadas – the myrtle branch, which has a beautiful plated pattern of three leaves coming out from the same point in the branch.
- Arava – the willow branch, which should have oblong leaves with a smooth edge.