Term Paper, 2009, 10 Pages
- and its connection with the rain
Introduction p. 1 Sukkot p. 1 Conclusion p. 6
The Jewish Calendar of the Festive Days hews to the moon, therefor are there no fixed dates in the year. The Jewish Festive Year is characterised as on the Nature Year bounded and historically determined. Traditional events from the history of the people were dedicated to certain feasts. Thereby bring they the historical action of God to his people in mind. Every year hopes the people on new actions from God now and in the future. The Jewish Calendar is divided in 12 months: Tišri, Hešram, Kislew, Tebet, Šebat and Adar are part of the autumn, and Nisan, Tyyar, Sinan, Tammuz, Ab and Ellul are part of the spring. The Jewish Year began originally in autumn, the natural orbits of the moon form the basis of the year. The twelve months begin each with the appear of the crescent. Later the beginning of a year was installed of the first day of the new moon after the equinox in spring. 1 All feasts begin with sunset, on the eve of the actual day. 2
Sukkot is one of these feasts, it takes place in the month Tišri and in the following excerpt will be told of it and its connection with the rain.
A few days after the highest feast Jom Kipur is Sukkot celebrated, the Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot is last of the three of the Feasts of Pilgrimage in the months Tišri. Pilgrimages were essential to the survival of Judaism. In the absence of synagogues and schools it was important to maintain physical contact between the people and the leadership of the Temple. Jerusalem was not only the religious and cultural capital of the nation but also its political center. The pilgrimages helped keep ancient traditions alive and also enhanced national solidarity. 3 All of them refer to the history of the Jewish Community, remind the crucial experience of the people of Israel, of the exodus from Egypt. 4 It is a feast of the national memory, it is about the special relationship of God to his people. A memory of the liberation of God from the bondage of the people. It looks back on the fourty years lasting journey through wilderness and the sorrow with that God had accompanied. 1
1 Karl-Heinrich Bieritz, Das Kirchenjahr: Feste, Gedenk- und Feiertage in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Verlag C. H. Beck 2001, 6. Ausgabe, hier: S. 42/43.
2 http://www.hagalil.com/judentum/feiertage/ , Das jüdische Jahr, hier: Was ist eigentlich ein Feiertag?.
3 Abraham P. Bloch, The Biblical and historical background of Jewish customs and ceremonies, 1980, hier: S. 184.
4 http://www.hagalil.com/schweiz/israelit/sukkot-0.htm , Rabbiner Macel Marcus, Sukkoth, hier: Erinnerung an unsere gemeinsame Geschichte.
At Sukkot Salomo had adepted the temple which has symbolised the presence of God. The obviously ritual of the feast is the tabernacle, which gave him his name. A housing that gives not much protection against wind and rain. It must not be a constant building and has to build-on new every year. It remembers the instability of the human existence. This device is underlined by the reading from the book Kohelet, which is attributed to Salomo. Sukkot is also a harvest festival, Chag haKazir. 5 Many Jews are sitting in their tabernacles and capture their daily meals there, their are those cottages recreated in whose the Israelits lived in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Essential as decoration are palm leafs, citrus fruits (Etrogim), myrtle- and wicker branches.
After the actual feats day is Sukkot celebrated for another six half feast days (Chol haMo'ed). In this week are all schools closed and also some shops and companies, at least for half a day. Each day is half working day and half feast day. 6 The last day of Sukkot is Hoshana Rabba due to the multiple prayers of Hoshana recited at the conclusion of the morning service. No feast is richer in mizwot as Sukkot. To the mizwot belong: the requirements of the Tora, building of a Sukka and living in it, the four species, the libation, the taking of the wicker branch (Arawa) on Hoschana Rabba („great help“) 7 and the requirement: You shall cheer at your feast (Dwarim 16,14). The Jews want to achieve the sake of their Creator and to expiate their sins and the sins of the humanity. 8
Long time ago, the people of the Israelites were farmers and shepherds. While the growing season, on the day they worked on the fields and in the night they came back to their houses. And during the harvest the fruits grew up and would rot if they would not picked up in time. Because there was no time to return to the houses, the farmers built tabernacles on the fields to rest and for protection. When the harvest was finished, all came back home, celebrated and were thankful that the harvest brought enough food for the following winter. So building a Sukka is a celebration of nature. 9
One speciality of Sukkot are the four plants which were bound together to a feast bouquet: the glorious and good smelling Etrog (a citrus fruit), the beautiful, but smell-less Lulav (a date 2
5 http://www.hagalil.com/schweiz/israelit/sukkot-0.htm , Rabbiner Macel Marcus, Sukkoth, hier: Erinnerung an unsere Wanderschaft.
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