Sukkot and Simchat Torah: the Basics


Sukkot is the third and final festival that commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt. The escape of Israel from Egypt is remembered at Passover, entering into a covenant with God at Mount Sinai is recalled at Shavuot, and sleeping in a temporary hut or booth (“sukkah” in Hebrew) while wandering in the wilderness is memorialized in the holiday of Sukkot. “Sukkot” is the plural form of sukkah.

Simchat Torah is the last of the fall holidays, arriving at the end of Sukkot. During Simchat Torah we can be filled with joy and love for God, for the Torah and for the Jewish community. The name of this holiday means “Joy of the Torah,” and it marks the completion of the year long cycle of weekly Torah readings (parshiot).

This booklet will explain all the hows, whys and whats of these holidays, from symbols and ritual items through blessings and the importance of guests.

Let this booklet guide you through the the end of the last of the autumn holidays. This booklet is also great as:

  • a handout for new synagogue or community members;
  • material in a class on Jewish holidays for family education;
  • take home resources for religious schools, community gatherings and events leading up to the holidays.

Consider leaving this booklet out for members of your community to read and take home during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur!