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D'var Torah for Sukkot 5781

This week the pilgrimage festival of Sukkot (Jewish Thanksgiving) falls on Shabbat. In the diaspora, the festival is celebrated for eight days.

The Torah readings for the first two days are the same as for Passover (Pesach). They are Leviticus 22:26-23:44. The portion gives a review of the various holidays throughout the Jewish year and of course discusses Sukkot as well.

It states: “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths to the Lord, [to last] seven days.”

The portion also instructs how to observe the holiday: “Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Lord [to last] seven days: a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. You shall observe it as a festival of the Lord for seven days in the year; you shall observe it in the seventh month as a law for all time, throughout the ages. You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 43 in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God.”

The Torah portions throughout the Intermediate days are Numbers 29:17-29:31. It states “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, you shall observe a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations.—Seven days you shall observe a festival of the L-RD. You shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the L-RD:… It then details the specific offerings for those four intermediate days.

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