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Sukkot & Simchat Torah

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Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah: October 4-13, 2017

The seven days of Sukkot—celebrated by dwelling in the sukkah, taking the Four Kinds, and rejoicing—are followed by Simchat Torah.

Sukkot—when we expose ourselves to the elements in greenery-covered huts—commemorates G‑d sheltering our ancestors as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Four Kinds express our unity and our belief in G‑d’s omnipresence.

Coming after the solemn High Holidays, it is a time of joy and happiness.

The first two days (or one day in Israel) are yom tov, when work is forbidden, candles are lit in the evening, and festive meals are preceded with Kiddush and contain challah dipped in honey.

The intermediate days are quasi holidays, known as chol hamoed. We dwell in the sukkah and take the Four Kinds every day (except for Shabbat, when we do not take the Four Kinds).

The final two days (or one in Israel) are Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. They are yom tov, marked by dancing with the Torah, Yizkor memorial prayer, and even more joy.