The Holiday of Succot (Booths)

  • The time of the holiday of Succot is called the festival of joy.
  • Jews go out of their homes in Autumn season and dwell in booths called Succot.
  • The Blowing of the Shofar on the High Holy Days culminates in joy and salvation.

On the High Holidays ten days between Rosh Hashanna until Yom Kippur is emphasized prayer and repentance and the blowing of the Shofar. On Rosh HaShanna is blown one hundred blasts of the Shofar in each of the two days and the Fast Day of Yom Kippur is culminated with one long blast of the Shofar.

It is a custom on Succot to live in booths for one week.

The purpose of the blowing of the Shofar on Yom Kippur culminating ten days of repentance is described by the prophet Isaiah, 27:13, “And it shall come to pass on that day, that a great shofar shall be blown, and they shall come who were lost in the land of Ashur, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”  The Shofar is the sound of freedom; it is also a call for repentance.

The Ram’s horn is chosen for the purpose of the blowing of the Shofar because the shape of the Shofar is particularly chosen as a symbol of its purpose.  The Shofar is narrow at the bottom where the one that blows the Shofar places his lips.  The Shofar broadens as it grows upward where the sound finally emanates.  The words of Psalms are recited before the blowing of Shofar to give it special meaning, “From the depths of my heart I call out to God.” (Psalm 130). “From the narrows I call out to God, he answers me with a broad answer.” (Psalm 118:5)  The calling out to God begins from the depths of the heart where is a narrow opening feelings of pain and anguish, crying and weeping.  The sound comes up from the heart until it is heard a great groaning, a loud cry, a loud shout, soft sighing and weeping. It comes out as the sound of Shofar and further in words of prayer. Its culmination is freedom like is pictured in the words of Isaiah regarding the great Shofar.

The Bible requires of every male to take a myrtle branch with a triple leaved branch and a weeping willow branch on the first day of the holiday and connect it with a citron fruit to make a divine unitytle branch with divine unity.

The Jewish people were specially chosen to blow the Shofar because they have rejected freedom and received the Divine Law from God with blind faith. The blind faith of the Jewish people in God suffering throughout the ages for the sake of the Torah and Judaism is compared to the narrow mouth of the Shofar. The narrow mouth of the Shofar is the fear of God which broadens into love of God the wideness of the heart from where the sound of the shofar emanates. These are two aspects of the shofar the mouth, the fear of God and the broad side, the love of God.  The two sides of the Shofar, at the lips is restricted freedom even until acceptance of slavery to God.  At the end facing upward is freedom, love and unity.

These are the two great spiritual lights of the Torah represented by the Jewish people who continually reject the Messiah the son of Joseph the Messiah of freedom, and those of the world that have received the Messiah the son of Joseph. The one who blows the Shofar is the Messiah the son of David the chosen saint who many people today recognize him to be the Lubavitcher Rebbe even twenty years after his passing.

Shofar is the revelation of the expansion of song and words from silence and a single sound.  About this revelation came in the last generation in Judaism a student of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odessa who introduced into Judaism the song of the Messiah and the redemption which is related to the Shofar of the Messiah. Rabbi Nachman himself in his life was an example of highest level of spiritual freedom which is possible to be revealed in Judaism which is fundamentally against freedom. He instructed his students to go into the field and pray from their own hearts in their own words.  He taught that God belongs to you; prayer belongs to you. In the mystical letter received by his student by Rabbi Odessa Rabbi Nachman two hundred and fifty years after his death signed his name Na, Nac,Nachma, Nachman from one letter sound Na his name opens to two letters, three letters and four letters like the sound of the Shofar. His students call this revelation the Shofar of the Messiah and this mystical letter the letter of the redemption. In this letter was revealed resurrection when Rabbi Nachman appeared after his death to write the letter and sign his name.  Rabbi Nachman passed away on the holiday of Succoth which is connected to joy and redemption.

Rabbi Israel Odessa holding the letter he received from Rabbi Nachman 250 years after his death with the secret of the Great Shofar.

Finally after many generations of Jews waiting for the Messiah and the redemption, in this last generation appeared two candidates for the Messiah Rabbi Nachman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. These two great saints represent Chassidism which was established by Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov to fill the gap between the Messiah the son of Joseph and the Messiah the son of David the two sides of the Shofar narrow and broad. The Messiah in heaven instructed the Baal Shem Tov the way to reveal the Messiah through spreading out the wellsprings of the Torah written in mystical teachings.

The High Holy days are followed by the holiday of Succoth.  Moses the prophet of truth organized the Jewish religion to be the beginning and the end of the revelation of God on earth.  It all began on Mount Sinai recorded in the Bible.  First Moses instructed the Jewish people in their share in the great revelation which has taken almost six thousand years. The Jewish people introduced the fear of God and his law into the world. This is still their purpose but Chassidism has taken it a step further toward freedom, joy and truth. The Messiah the son of Joseph is the revelation of the internal light within the world revealed through resurrection. It is also called the universal light and energy.  The Messiah the son of David is the vessel through which this great light is revealed in the world.

Shofar is blown to awaken souls to God and repentance and to bring the Messiah.

On the holiday of Succoth there are two principal positive acts which are done in honor of the holiday which are taking the Lulav or myrtle palm branch with a citron fruit called Esrog, and building and sitting in small huts outside called Succoth.  The Lulav is taken and drawn close to the heart at the time of its blessing.  When this act when it is fulfilled in the Sukkah, the roof of the Sukkah which is made from branches transcends from above over the Jew.  These two lights are the inner light of fear of God and the transcending and universal light of faith. They are both united on the holiday of Succoth.  On the holiday of Succoth the whole world was invited by bring sacrifices to the holy temple in Jerusalem and was sacrificed seventy cows representing the seventy nations. Jews are commanded to dwell in the Sukkah the seven days of the holiday which implies to eat, and sleep in the Sukkah. The Sukkah should have at least three walls and should be covered with branches.

The revelation of God on earth is built in stages.  There are two lights which are joined together on the holiday of Succoth representing the two messiah of peace. The Messiah contributes to the revelation of God but the Messiah is not God. God is unlimited.  See

About the holy Sukkah of peace is recited at the end of each evening prayer, “God should spread out the Sukkah of peace, for us all of his people Israel and upon Jerusalem.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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