The Festival of Succoth (Tabernacles)

” And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 25:33)

  Right after the Day of Atonement , the Samaritans start the  preparation, for building their special Sukkot. Our ancient scholars have compared the Sukka to the image of Eden ( Garden of Eden), and determined that each soul who has passed thru the gates of the Day of Atonement, and was discharged from his sins,  eligible to come thru the gates of Eden, and to build the Sukka. The known Scholar, from the 19thCE Pinchas son of Yitschak, has  written about it, in his song, sung on the Sabbath of Sukkot :

“It is (The Sukka) the  revealed secret of paradise , to the one  who was emitted from his sins;
ya shall dwell in, after the afflicting  of the soul, and after  the abandonment of the sin “

Samaritan Succa

  The Samaritan tabernacle, is special and different from the Jewish one, as it contains all the kinds of elegant fruits, ( about 400 Kg) and smells as a garden. Unlike Jews, The Samaritans grasp the idea of “Pri Ets Hadar “[ In Hebrew transcriptions. In the english Jewish version of the Torah it was translated ,mistakenly, into “Citrus fruit”] as every elegant fruit, which can be use in the Sukka. The fact that the Samaritans also use the Citron (Etrog) in their Tabernacles, they consider it to be only one of the suitable fruits to be use in the Sukka, just like pomegranates, grapefruits from all kinds, lemons, etc’.

  The Sukka must be based on four varieties as it commanded in the Torah :

1.’Pri Ets Hadar’ -Fruit of elegant trees – Every elegant fruit which suitable and can survive the seventh days of the feast, can be used. Usually the Samaritans use the ‘Yemenite Citron’ – a huge and beautiful citron. There are no restrictions on its shape except for looking good and beauty. Other elegant fruits are : Pomegranates, Lemons, Apples and Grapefruits.

2.’Kapot Temarim’ – Palm branches.

3.’Anfe Ets Avot’ –  Leafs of  thick trees

.4.’Arve Nachal – Willow.

  At the following day of the  Day of Atonement  ,all the men and women of the community go their way to the orchards, to pluck their fruits for the tabernacles. The fruits are tied to a metal grid ,which is  attached to the ceiling of a large room inside the  home ,or placed on four strong poles-creating  an splendid spectacle.

  Above the metal-grid ,are placed  opened palm branches and  above them, are placed, the willows branches, forming a roof.  . The Samaritans build their tabernacles inside thier home, because the historical problem of being a little and persecuted people.  Their tabernacles were in the past, contaminated and profaned  by strange people, till it was decided by the sages  of the community about thousand years ago, to build the tabernacles inside the home to keep its holiness.

On the first day, of the seven days of the feast, the Samaritans observe the third pilgrimage of the year, being the last one after Passover and Shavuot. After the pilgrimage prayer, they return to their homes to a  festive  meal. During the seven days of the feast the Samaritans visit each other, admiring  the different tabernacles.The Sabbath that falls during the Seven days of Sukkot, is  called the Sabbath of the Festival of Sukkot.

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