Sukkot is a joyful, family oriented holiday which follows the somber, introspective and private character of the Yom Kippur High Holy Day. The seven day Sukkot Festival (Festival of Booths) is described in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:34-35 and 23:39-43. This year it begins at sunset Sunday, 30 September and ends at sunset on Monday, 7 October. All seven days of the holiday are observed with the recitation of special prayers, scriptural readings and the reading of the Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) on Saturday, 6 October.
Sukkot is characterized by two principle practices. First, Jews are commanded to build, take all of their meals in and (if possible) sleep in, temporary booths covered with palm fronds or thatch during the seven days of the festival. These booths (sukkot/huts) commemorate the temporary, portable dwellings in which the Jewish people lived during our 40 year sojourn in the wilderness following our liberation from slavery in Egypt. The second practice is the special bouquet – consisting of a closed palm frond (Lulav), a citron (Etrog), a myrtle (Hadas) branch and a willow (Aravah) branch these four together are referred to as the four species of Israel. They are held during morning prayers on each of the seven days of the holiday (excepting on the Sabbath), and a special blessing is recited over them. The origins for the use of the four species of Israel is derived from Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:40.
Markets for the four species opened up throughout the entire land of Israel immediately after the Yom Kippur High Holy Day. The following photographs were taken at our local neighborhood market which this year as in years past is held in the garden of “The Stiebelach” Synagogue.
Photographs by Isa David-Ben-Rafael owned by IsraeLightly Blog.