The festival of Sukkot is the most joyous of the three biblically mandated festivals. In the holiday prayers, each festival is given its own descriptive name: Passover is the "Season of our Liberation," Shavuot is the "Season of the Giving of our Torah," but Sukkot is described simply as the "Season of our Rejoicing"!

The Torah enjoins us no less than three times to rejoice, and be only happy, on Sukkot. (No other festival is the subject of this instruction more than once.)

Sukkot is the holiday when we celebrate Jewish unity—as symbolized by the sukkah, whose holy walls bring us all together; and the Four Kinds, that symbolize the essential unity of all Jews, despite differing levels of Torah knowledge and observance.

In the times when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, on every night of the holiday (starting with the second night), there was a grand Water Drawing Celebration. Unique to the holiday of Sukkot is the mitzvah to offer a water libation on the altar, in addition to the wine libation that accompanied all the sacrifices throughout the year. This water was drawn on the evening beforehand, amidst great fanfare, singing, reveling, and even acrobatic stunts performed by the time's greatest sages.

In fact the Talmud states that "one who has not witnessed the Festival of the Water Drawing has not seen joy in his lifetime!"

(Click here to read more about the Water Drawing Celebration.)

Today, too, it is customary to assemble on the nights of Sukkot; to sing, dance, say "l'chaim," and be merry. Click here to find a celebration in your area!