Thursday, 18 September 2014

Living off the Grid for 7 days and nights in a Sukkah. Oct 8-15

A sukkah (Hebrew: סוכה‎, plural, סוכות sukkot ; sukkoth, often translated as "booth") is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Festival of Sukkot (September/October). It is topped with branches and often well decorated with autumnal, harvest or Hebrew themes. The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in Egypt.It is common to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the sukkah. Sukkot is considered a joyous occasion and is referred to in Hebrew as Yom Simchateinu (the day of our rejoicing) or Z'man Simchateinu (the time of our rejoicing), and the sukkah itself symbolizes the frailty and transience of life and its dependence on God.

A sukkah is a structure consisting of a roof made of organic material which has been disconnected from the ground (the s'chach). A sukkah must have 3 walls. It should be at least three feet tall, and be positioned so that all or part of its roof is open to the sky (only the part which is under the sky is kosher.)
Sukkot, Succot or Sukkos (Hebrew: סוכות‎ or סֻכּוֹת sukkōt or sukkos, Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (varies from late September to late October). It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The holiday lasts seven days (eight in the diaspora). The first day (and second in the diaspora) is a sabbath-like yom tov (holiday) when work is forbidden, followed by the intermediate Chol Hamoed and Shemini Atzeret. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, "booth or tabernacle", which is a walled structure covered with schach (plant material such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm leaves).

The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah and some people sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav (closed frond of the date palm tree, bound with boughs and branches of the willow and myrtle trees) and etrog (yellow citron) (Four species).

According to the prophet Zechariah, in the messianic era Sukkot will become a universal festival and all nations will make pilgrimages annually to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast there.(Zech 14:16-19) Rashi in Parashat Pinchas (Numbers, 29:18) writes that the 70 bulls offered whenever the Jewish people are able to offer animal sacrifices, the sum total sacrificed throughout the seven days of the Sukkot festival, correspond to and benefit the 70 national-linguistic groups encompassing all of humanity

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