Alright, you made it through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and now it’s time for the joyful festival of Sukkot. Are you ready for yet another holiday? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with this checklist. #NoHolidayFatigue
- Lulav (palm branch) — It is a mitzvah to take what is known as the four species (arba’at haminim) and shake them each day of Sukkot (but not on Shabbat). The lulav (palm branch) is one of those four species.
- Hadass (myrtle) and aravah (willow) — The hadass and aravah are two more of the four species that we shake during Sukkot. When the lulav, hadass and aravah are bound together and ready to “shake,” they are collectively referred to as “the lulav.”
- Etrog (citron) — The etrog completes the four species. It is a yellow citrus fruit that resembles a lemon. Many people spend time searching for a “beautiful” etrog (the phrase that is used to describe the etrog in the Torah is “pri etz hadar,” “fruit of a beautiful tree”).
- Learn how to shake the lulav and etrog — Read our simple instructions for how to shake the lulav and etrog. You can purchase a lulav and etrog in most Judaica stores or online.
- Three sukkah walls — If you’re building your own sukkah, you will need at least three walls. The minimum dimensions for the walls are 7 tefachim (26 inches / 65 cm.) in length x 7 tefachim in width x 10 tefachim (40 inches / 95 cm.) in height.
- Roof covering — The roof covering of the sukkah (called sekhakh) is usually made of cut branches or plants. The sekakh must be loose enough to see the stars at night, but thick enough so that the shade it provides is greater than the light let in from the sun.
- Decorations — Gourds, origami, paper chains… It is traditional to decorate the sukkah based on the tradition in the Talmud that mitzvot should be performed in a beautiful way: “Beautify yourself before [God] in mitzvot. Make before Him a beautiful sukkah” (Shabbat 133b).
- Find a sukkah to “dwell” in — Even if you are not building your own sukkah, you can still find sukkot where you can eat meals, read and hang out during the holiday. You could visit a sukkah at a local synagogue, Chabad, JCC, the homes of family, friends or neighbors, or look up where to find one in your area.
- Focus on what brings you joy — The Torah (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16: 13-15) describes Sukkot as a joyful holiday: “You shall hold the festival of Sukkot for seven days… You shall rejoice in your festival…and you shall have nothing but joy.” This is a time to focus on the simple pleasures of being close to nature, spending time with family and friends, and doing whatever brings you joy.
- Learn more about Sukkot — Check out our guide to the holiday, plus get ready for what follows immediately after Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
Originally Published Sep 20 2021 08:18PM EDT