Before Building the SukkahLit. hut or booth A temporary hut constructed outdoors for use during Sukkot, the autumn harvest festival. Many Jews observe the mitzvah of living in the Sukkah for the week of Sukkot, including taking their meals and sleeping in the Sukkah.
Take a few moments to breathe deeply. Close your eyes and think about your house or apartment; then think about the sukkah you’re about to build. Imagine the chinks in its roof, how vulnerable it is.
How thankful I am for the chance to enact the mitzvahLit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed." of building a sukkah, to connect me with all who labor with their hands.
May this sukkah be a place of joyful welcoming, reminding us that even in a flimsy structure with leaky roof we can still share what we have with others.
May this sukkah increase my compassion for those who live at the mercy of the elements, and my intention to help the homeless and needy in my own community.
There is no Temple, and I do not farm: I cannot make a harvest offering as in days of old. My offering to You is the work of my hands and the openness of my heart.
In the Sukkah: UshpizinLit. Guests (Aramaic) Biblical "guests" invited into the sukkah on each of the seven nights of the holiday. While the traditional ushpizin were all male, a new custom has been created, inviting female guests (ushpizot) as well. The seven ushpizin are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. The seven female ushpizot are Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Abigail, and Esther.
Eternal God, spread over us sukkat shlomekha, your sheltering peace. Surround us with your radiance, and open our hearts that we may feel your abundance. Let there be food and drink for all who hunger and thirst.
To this meal we summon sublime guests, our symbolic companions in this festival meal.
Welcome AbrahamAbraham is the first patriarch and the father of the Jewish people. He is the husband of Sarah and the father of Isaac and Ishmael. God's covenant - that we will be a great people and inherit the land of Israel - begins with Abraham and is marked by his circumcision, the first in Jewish history. His Hebrew name is Avraham. and SarahThe first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah.! May we be strengthened by your spirit of adventure and by the courage of your convictions.
On other nights, choose other figures to welcome, and name a quality of theirs you want to embody.
In the Sukkah: LulavOn Sukkot, three of the four species (the palm, the myrtle, and the willow) are bound and waved together with the etrog. The lulav is said to symbolize the spine, while the myrtle's leaves symbolize eyes, the willow's leaves are lips, and the etrog is the heart. and EtrogA lemon-like fruit (citron) used at Sukkot as one of the four species. Women desiring to get pregnant were given the pitom (stem) to eat after Sukkot.
Take up the lulav and etrog.
May my thoughts be holy, in token of the abundance of blessing that is mine from heaven and earth. With these four species I reach out to the Source of all Life, whose Presence is with us in all directions and all ways.
Wave the species in the six directions.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יָהּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב
Barukh Atah YahA name for God, as in "halleluyah" – praise God. Some people prefer this name for God as a non-gendered option., Eloheynu ruakhLit. Spirit. Some new versions of blessings call God "Spirit of the World" (Ruakh Ha’olam), rather than "King of the World" (Melekh Ha'olam). haolam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat lulav.
בְּרוּכָה אַתְּ יָהּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְשַׁתְנוּ בְּמַצּוֹתֶיהָ וְצִוַתְנוּ עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב
Brukhah At Yah Eloheynu ruakh haolam asher kid’shatnu b’mitzvoteha v’tzivatnu al n’tilat lulav.
Blessed are you, Yah, Breath of Life, who sanctifies us with Your commandments and has enjoined upon us the mitzvah of the lulav.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יָהּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
Barukh Atah Yah, Eloheynu ruakh haolam, sheheheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.
בְּרוּכָה אַתְּ יָהּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָתְנוּ וְקִיְּמָתְנוּ וְהִגִּיעָתְנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
Brukhah At Yah Eloheynu ruah haolam sheheheyatnu v’kiy’matnu v’higiatnu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are you, Yah, Breath of Life, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.