SukkaHצילום: The Sukkah Place

Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths, is one of the most joyous times on the Jewish calendar.

This week-long festival falls shortly after Yom Kippur and commemorates the wandering of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, as well as celebrating the harvest season.

Central to the celebration is the sukkah—a temporary dwelling with a roof covered by schach.

You can click here to learn about the halachot of building a sukkah

and here for the requirements necessary for your schach mats

But why do we celebrate Sukkot in such a specific way? Let's explore the reasons behind this ancient tradition.

1. Remembering the Wilderness Wanderings

The sukkah serves as a tangible reminder of the fragile dwellings in which the Israelites lived during their 40 years in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. It symbolizes the trust and faith the Israelites placed in God to protect and provide for them in the wilderness, despite their vulnerable living conditions. By dwelling in Sukkahs, we connect with our ancestors' reliance on divine protection and provision.

2. Appreciating Divine Protection

The schach—the covering made of branches, bamboo, or other natural materials—plays a critical role in this connection. It must be thick enough to provide more shade than sunlight but sparse enough to allow the stars to be seen through it at night. This requirement reminds us of the divine protection that the Israelites experienced, symbolized by the cloud of glory that sheltered them from the desert sun by day and guided them by the light of fire by night.

3. Celebrating the Harvest

Sukkot occurs at the time of the harvest in Israel, marking the end of the agricultural year. The sukkah reflects the temporary structures that farmers would live in during the harvest season to stay close to their fields. Celebrating in the sukkah connects us to the land and the blessing of the harvest, encouraging gratitude for the Earth's bounty and God's provision.

4. Emphasizing Transience and Humility

Living in a sukkah for seven days also serves as a reminder of the transience of life and the importance of humility. The fragile and temporary nature of the sukkah, especially highlighted by the schach roof that exposes us to the elements, teaches us to focus on spiritual values rather than material possessions. It's a call to recognize our vulnerabilities and foster a deeper reliance on God.

5. Fostering Unity and Hospitality

The sukkah is also a symbol of hospitality and unity. It is customary to invite guests into the sukkah to share meals and celebrate together, known as ushpizin, which means "guests" in Aramaic. This tradition emphasizes the importance of community, kindness, and extending hospitality to others, including strangers and the less fortunate.


The celebration of Sukkot in a sukkah covered with schach is rich with symbolism and meaning. It connects us to our past, reminding us of our ancestors' faith and dependence on God. It celebrates the present blessings of harvest and community. It points us toward future hope, reminding us of the temporary nature of our earthly existence and the importance of focusing on spiritual values. As we dwell in our sukkahs, let us embrace these lessons, carrying them with us beyond the festival season.