Sukkot (the Feast of Booths) commences tonight and if you drive through Forest Acres or Spring Valley by the JCC (Jewish Community Center), you’ll be able to see a number of little huts, all erected in honor of the holiday. It’s mostly a half-holiday, meaning that most people work in the intermediate days. This year, it begins on a week-end, and luckily I won’t have to cancel/move classes to observe the opening days. Like so many other Jewish holidays, this one, too, began as an agricultural feast. And, again like so many other holidays, this one, too, commemorates an aspect of the Exodus, namely the temporary sojourn in huts before the entry into the land when the Israelites are told: “You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 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” (Leviticus 23:42-43).
Just prior to the passage quoted above in Leviticus, God tells Moses to command the people: “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” (Lev. 23:40), something that Jews today do in form of the Lulav, a contraption consisting of a closed frond of a palm tree, hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow), and etrog (citron) that is ritually shaken.
You can find much information on Sukkot on myjewishlearning.com
Sukkot lasts for seven days and is followed by Shemini Azeret.