What Does 'Sukkot' Mean in Hebrew?

Sukkot —it's more than just a word or the name of a holiday. For starters it's a celebration deeply rooted in Jewish history and faith. For thousands of years, Jewish people across the globe have been celebrating Sukkot. Here's a bit of background for the holiday.

The Root of Sukkot

The word 'Sukkot' comes from 'sukkah,' which means 'booth' or 'tabernacle' in Hebrew. When the Jewish Nation was wandering through the desert after the exodus from Egypt, they lived in temporary shelters. Sukkot is a commemoration of that time and of the clouds of glory that accompanied them in the desert.

Sukkos, Succot, & Succos

You'll also find Sukkot written as Succot, Sukkos, or even Succos. The reason for this is that it's originally a Hebrew word. Within the Hebrew language, there's different customs on how to pronounce it. While the letters remain the same in Hebrew, regardless of pronunciation. When transliterated into English, your custom will determine how you write it.

Customs on Sukkot

Sukkot isn't just about history. It's also about gratitude for the harvest. Think of it almost like a Jewish Thanksgiving, but with a twist. During Sukkot, families gather under makeshift shelters, with roofs made from branches and leaves, to share meals and celebrate together.

One of the most well-known parts of Sukkot is the sukkah itself. It's a hut or shelter where people eat, sleep, and hang out during the festival. It's also symbolic of getting back to basics and remembering that life is fragile yet beautiful.

The Mitzvot of the Holiday

Let's not forget the mitzvot, or the rituals of Sukkot. For starters, the lulav and etrog—a bundle of palm, myrtle, willow, and citrus fruit—that people shake while saying special prayers. The lulav and etrog are so essential to the holiday that they're almost like the official symbols of Sukkot.

Sukkot is a time for family, community, and reflection. It's a meaningful festival that brings people together, celebrates nature, and reminds us of our shared history and faith.

Chag Sameach!