Sukkot, with its unique Biblical command to "rejoice" over a new year and harvest season, is a very special time to be in Israel.
Celebrations and events take place throughout the country on each of the seven days of the festival, and in particular on the "intermediate days" ("chol hamo'ed" in Hebrew), during which religious restrictions on various activities usually forbidden on Shabbat (Sabbath) and festivals are more relaxed.
But perhaps the most boisterous of celebrations can be seen during the annual "Simchat Beit Hasho'eiva" (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing), which commemorates the special water libation which was conducted towards the end of Sukkot in the Temple in Jerusalem, prior to its destruction in 70CE, known as "Nisuch ha-Mayim" ("Pouring of the water").
The Talmud relates that Sukkot is when God judges the world for rainfall, and relates that the "Nisuch Hamayim" was always a particularly joyous occasion, claiming that "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life."
Worshipers carried torches, and were accompanied by the Levites, who administered in the Temple alongside the Kohanim (priests), playing harps, lyres and other musical instruments.
Although the Temple in Jerusalem still lies in ruins, Jewish communities across the world, and especially in Israel, still take part in celebrations of their own.
Below is a compilation of videos from across Israel, and in particular from hassidic communities, which place a special emphasis on the Simchat Beit Hasho'eva celebrations. The religious Zionist Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem is famous for its annual Simchat Beit Hasho'eva which draws crowds of celebrants from all over the country.
Arutz Sheva wishes all of our viewers a happy, enjoyable and meaningful chag!
At the tomb of First Century Tanna'itic sage and Jewish mystical, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, in the holy city of Meron
Celebrations in Jerusalem by the Biala hassidic sect
In the hareidi-religious city of Modiin Illit
Lalov hassidim celebrate in Jerusalem
Bobov hassidim celebrate in Jerusalem
Celebrations at the Merzak Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem (click here for more coverage of that event)