Westchester Jewish Center

Observing Sukkot

SukkotIn the Sukkah:

At each meal in the Sukkah, one should recite the following blessing:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav vitzeevanu Laishaiv BaSukkah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the Sukkah.

This blessing is recited after Kiddush on the festival days (the first two days) and after motzi on days when Kiddush is not recited. The blessing should always be recited while sitting, even if you have been standing for Kiddush.

It is a beautiful custom, in the Sukkah, to welcome our Patriarchs and heroes of the Bible. The Talmud mentions seven (one for each day.) They are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and King David. You may refer to any traditional prayer book for the ancient language of this ritual. (Be careful, it’s in Aramaic.) Instead, or in addition you may also want to prepare a story about each of these people to tell while sitting in the sukkah. Some families include our Matriarchs and female heroes of the Bible. Click here for an article from the United Synagogue website on inviting guests into your sukkah.

The Lulav and Etrog

Each day of Sukkot, with the exception of Shabbat, it is a mitzvah to take the Lulav and Etrog, hold them together, and recite the blessing. This ritual can be done privately, even at home, as it does not require a minyan. If you have a sukkah, it is a nice practice to fulfill this mitzvah in the sukkah.

When fulfilling this mitzvah one should take the lulav in the right hand and the etrog in the left. Before reciting the blessing, we hold the etrog upside down (stem up and tip down.) Holding them together, we recite the following blessing:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu bimitzvotav vitzeevanu al n’tee-lat lulav.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to take the Lulav.

After saying the blessing, turn the etrog right side up (stem down and tip up) and shake. The procedure for shaking the lulav is as follows:

  1. Extend the lulav and etrog (holding them together) in front of you and shake three times.
  2. Move clockwise to 3 o’clock, shake three times.
  3. Move clockwise to 6 o’clock and shake three times.
  4. Move clockwise to 9 o’clock and shake three times
  5. Then put the lulav up high and shake three times and then bring it down low and shake three times. In this way, we have focused the lulav and etrog in every direction. 

In most traditional prayer books, there is a nice meditation that can be recited together with the waving of the lulav and etrog.

Here are some sites that you may find interesting. If you find a dead link, please let us know at [email protected]
This is just a sampling. There are many more, offering information and activities.

http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer/sukkot.htm (has Hebrew, English and transliteration of all the blessings as well as an animation showing how to shake the lulav/etrog.
http://www.akhlah.com/holidays/sukkot/sukkot.php (especially for children)
http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/rfcj/category.cgi?category=SUKKOT (For information only; WJC is not responsible for the kashrut of these recipes.)