When the holiday of Yom Kippur ends, materials began to be gathered for the construction of the sukkah-a temporary dwelling in which the seven-day-long holiday of Sukkot is celebrated. In Poland, this period is called the holiday of the "Kuczki", which comes from the Old Polish word kucza, which means "shepherd's hut". Sukkot is also known as the festival of the Booths or Tabernacles. It is one of three pilgrimage holidays (shalosh regalim) during which in Biblical times one was supposed to go on a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem to give offerings from the harvest.

Sukkot is celebrated over the course of seven days, from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of the month of Tishri, in commemoration of the Jews' exodus from Egypt and their forty days of wandering through the desert.

The command to observe this holiday is found in the Bible, in Leviticus 23:34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days,'" and in Leviticus 23:42-45: "Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so that your descendants will know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

In addition to the symbolic ceremonies connected with the exodus, Sukkot is also a harvest festival. Another explanation is that this holiday allows people to remove themselves completely from the troubles of daily life and civilization, and to return to the conditions that make it possible to "touch the earth with one's feet and see the stars overhead," which in turn brings people closer to the presence of God in their lives.
Moving for a week to the "booth" that has been constructed outside is supposed to aid this process. This booth, or sukkah, is a building made of boards, or canvas stretched across boards, covered with branches and leaves so that sunlight can enter, and so that at night the stars are visible. The inside of the sukkah is heavily decorated with garlands made of flowers and branches, fruit, rowan berries, flowers and also carpets and paintings. They are built in courtyards and gardens, although when some people design their homes, they construct part of the roof in such a way that a sukkah may be erected on top of the house.

One should eat at least one meal a day in such a "booth", to which friends are invited, as well as the poor, homeless and lonely. The ushpizin are the mystical guests to the sukkah, Biblical forefathers and rulers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David.

During this period, sweet dishes are served, as well as juicy ones and stuffed specialities, such as pierogies, stuffed cabbage, stuffed fish and all kinds of sweet pastries, cakes and candies.

The festival of Sukkot also has special ceremonies during religious services. When the halel is said�Psalms 113 to 118-praising God, recalling the exodus from Egypt and expressing faith in salvation, the arba minim is shaken, a term which means literally "with four species". This is a kind of bouquet made up of palm leaves (lulav), willow sprigs (arava) and myrtle (hadas), as well as the fruit of the goodly tree, which is in the citrus family. This symbolizes the different kinds of Jews who make up the Jewish community. The palm bears sweet fruit, but has no aroma, and symbolizes the people who study the Torah, but who do not follow its commandments. The willow has neither aroma, nor fruit, and symbolizes those who have lost their faith. Myrtle has a nice smell, but no fruit, which represents those who follow Jewish laws but are not learned. The fruit of the goodly tree is aromatic and bears juicy fruit, and is the symbol of human perfection. The bouquet of these four species also symbolizes the human spine, which must bend before God. During the ceremony, it is shaken in all four directions, as well as up and down, which expresses one's belief that the Almighty is omnipresent.
In the liturgy of the seventh day, Hoshanah Rabba (Hebrew, "Please save us!"), seven circuits are made around the synagogue, holding a lulav. During this joyful procession, during which there is also dancing and singing, each time the pulpit (bimah) is passed, one Torah scroll is taken back to the ark (Aron Kodesh). As the ceremony draws to an end, the lulav is beaten against the floor until all its leaves fall off. This "threshing of the leaves" is supposed to bring rain, i.e., to be a sign that next year's harvest will be a good one, but it also symbolizes that one is being cleansed of one�s sins, which have fallen away, just like the leaves from the branches.

In the Diaspora, an eighth day is added to the seventh one-shmini atseret (the eighth day of gathering), which is a summing up of the entire period of autumn holidays: from the atonement holiday of Rosh Hashanah, to Yom Kippur and Sukkot. In synagogues a prayer for rain is said, and also Izkor, a prayer for the dead. The main ceremony of this day is the Simchat Torah (Hebrew, "Joy of the Torah"), which marks the conclusion of the yearly cycle of Torah readings. Before prayers begin, the rolls are raised to the pulpit, and lit candles are placed on the ark, as a sign of the eternal presence of God. Men carry the scrolls around the synagogue, and children wave colorful paper banners, the tops of which have an apple with a candle stuck in them. This ceremony lasts many hours, and after it concludes (siyum), all the faithful are invited for something to eat.

In keeping with tradition, Sukkot is celebrated in Poland with great festivity. Although the booths are no longer erected individually, for each family, every year a large sukkah is constructed near the synagogue, where the entire congregation celebrates. It is a chance for shared prayer and song, and also for a social gathering, to which women bring something that they have made to eat.

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