Jewish Holidays and Festivals Index

Harvest Festival (Succoth or Sukkot)
aka Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Booths,
or Feast of the Ingathering.

Succoth begins four days after the Day of Atonement. The Festival of Sukkot lasts 7 days.

The word "Sukkot" means "booths" and refers to the temporary dwellings that Jews are commanded to live in during this holiday. Traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation is Sukkos or Succos, which translates literally to "Feast of Booths". This holiday is described well in

When the children of Israel fled from the Egyptians, they lived in huts called "tabernacles", wandering for 40 years in the desert living in temporary shelters. The name of the holiday is frequently translated "The Feast of Tabernacles".

During Sukkot, two important temple-related ceremonies took place.

1) The Hebrew people carried torches around the temple, illuminating bright candelabrum along the walls of the temple to demonstrate that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles.

2) The priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple where it was poured into a silver basin beside the altar. The priest would call upon the Lord to provide heavenly water in the form of rain for their supply. During this ceremony the people looked forward to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Some records reference the day spoken of by the prophet, Joel.

Sukkot with its lights is also the time to remember Solomon's dedication of the Temple, the Lord's house. The Temple became the symbol that set the people apart from others. They and their Temple were to be an "ensign" to the nations. That ensign was a "light" to the world in its day and would be so again in latter-days.

The process goes from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Agriculturally, Sukkot is Israel's "thanksgiving," a joyous harvest festival to celebrate the ingathering of grain and wine. As an historical feast, the festival is a reminder that Israel was required to live in homemade tabernacles, not in their homes after the Exodus.

Like Passover and Shavuot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural.

The holiday commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert living in temporary shelters.

Sukkot is also a harvest festival, the Festival of Ingathering. Along with Passover, it is one of the holy (and happy) times that the Children of Israel were given to remind them of being delivered from bondage.

See Lev 23:39-43: 7th full moon of year, symbol of wilderness in Egypt at Exodus and Coming of Prince of Peace at sanctuary in wilderness

The Feast of Tabernacles is to be kept every year (Zechariah 14:16; Deuteronomy 16:16). Where? While some claim that the Feast of Tabernacles from the past through current times must only be kept in Jerusalem, the children of Israel were not even in Jerusalem for centuries after the commands for its observance in Leviticus 23. The Feast of Tabernacles can be kept in cities other than Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8:15; cf. Deuteronomy 14:23-24).

Stuffed cabbage is usually a special food eaten during this festival.

For LDS Readers: An immense amount of significance

In the New Testament, Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles and spoke the amazing words of John 7:37-38 on the last and greatest day of the Feast

Why would we consider ancient Jewish festivals in the context of our Book of Mormon study? Well, in Lehi's day, a person could not keep the Law of Moses without observing these annual feasts. These were holy celebrations and were kept and remembered even more intently than was the strictly observed weekly Sabbath. Certainly these holidays were important to Lehi and his descendants. Even though they knew that in Jesus Christ the Law would find its fulfillment, they did keep the Law of Moses.

From a spiritual perspective we remember God's sheltering presence and provision for us, and our deliverance from bondage, and the kingdom of the Messiah. Remember that in light of his work as the High Priest of the New Covenant we now have access to the Temple.

Teaching the law of God was an important part of this feast during the days of the children of Israel:. We can do that!

A great amount of study has been about the similarities with Mosiah 1-7: King Benjamin's gathering his peoplesin their tents facing the tower, and he gave the most inspiring talk ever recorded before his coronation of Mosiah preceeding Lomg Benjamin's death. He was instructed by an angel to give this talk.

One very good read on this subject; 655 pages - including a chapter by Hugh Nibley - is 'King Benjamin's Speech "That Ye May Learn Wisdom"' by John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks. Other references for thought:

There have been also some study of the simularity with a final talk by Ezra.

Can you picture: Your family, or you yourself, or a group, figuratively creating your booth facing the temple and spending seven days studying scripture, praying intently and seriously, and attending the temple with no television, other entertainment or recreational diversion during those days?