Sukkot – Selected Laws and Traditions

Selected Customs and Traditions for Sukkot 5780- 2019



The blessing on the candles for Sukkot, Shemini Aseret, and Simhat Torah is:

“Barukh Ata Ado-nay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Asher Kiddeshanu Bemissvotav Vessivanu L’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tob”.

The blessing on the candles for Shabbat is:

“Barukh Ata Ado-nay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Asher Kiddeshanu Bemissvotav Vessivanu L’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat”.





Both nights of Sukkot coincide with a weekday; therefore, the Kiddush does not include the mention of Shabbat. You may find the Kiddush in any Sukkot Mahzor under the section “Kiddush for Sukkot for a weeknight”

Make sure that all kiddushim are recited after dark.


On the first night recite the blessing at the end of the Kiddush: “Barukh Ata Ado-nay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Asher Kiddeshanu Bemissvotav Vessivanu  Lesheb BaSukkah

Then recite the blessing: “Barukh Ata Ado-nay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Shehehiyanu Vekiyemanu Vehigianu Lazeman Hazeh”.

On the second night recite the blessing “Shehehiyanu” first and then recite the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah”.

Kiddush on Shabbat Hol Hamoed during Sukkot is a regular Shabbat Kiddush; however, one must recite the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah” when one is eating at least one ounce of bread in the Sukkah throughout the entire Holiday of Sukkot.  The “Shehehiyanu” blessing is not recited.


Shemini Asseret and Simhat Torah                                    

The holiday of Shemini Asseret also coincides with a weekday, therefore the Kiddush is a regular holiday “Kiddush for a weeknight”. While we do sit in the Sukkah, the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah” is not recited but the blessing of “Shehehiyanu” is recited.

The Kiddush on Simhat Torah is also a weekday Kiddush.  We recite the blessing of “Shehehiyanu”.  We do not sit in the Sukkah, and we do not recite the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah”.



It is customary not to wear Tefillin during the Hol Hamoed period.  We recite the paragraph “Yaleh Veyabo” mentioning the respective holiday in every Amida, and In Bircat Hamazon.  We chant the complete Hallel with the blessing “Ligmor Et Hahallel” following Shahrit during the entire nine days of the holiday.  Following the Hallel we say the Hosh’anot of that day.  We add the Musaf prayer every day of the holiday.



On Sukkot, one of the three holidays known as the Shalosh Regalim, we celebrate and commemorate the protection that the Israelites received from G-d in the desert throughout their journey to the Holy Land.  Our Hakhamim learned from the verse “…you shall live in Sukkot for seven days…” that these were the clouds of glory in which G-d encircled the Israelites in order that they be protected from the sun and the burning heat.  The Missva of Sukkah is to dwell, eat, drink, and if possible to sleep in it. The first two nights one must eat in the Sukkah, as well as throughout the holiday anytime when one desires to consume one ounce or more of bread. The blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah” is recited standing and only when one is planning to eat one ounce or more of bread. Women are exempt from the Missva of Sukkah; however, it is praiseworthy if they choose to sit in the Sukkah. They should not, in any case recite the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah”

The observance of Sukkot is similar to Shabbat and any other holiday, in that one may not work, ride in a car, buy or sell.  However, cooking (transferring fire, putting food on the fire, etc.), and carrying (house keys, talit, siddur, etc.) even without an Erub is permitted.  One may not strike a match even for the purpose of cooking, however fire may be transferred from an existing flame. We suggest that you leave a candle burning from before the Holiday, or you may use the candles lit in honor of the holiday


The Missva of Lulab and Etrog

Beginning on the first day of Sukkot one is obligated to fulfill the Missva of the Lulab, Etrog, three Hadasim, and the two Arabot.  This Missva must be fulfilled for all the days of Sukkot except on Shabbat.  Before fulfilling the Missva for the first time, one should recite the following blessings:

“Barukh Ata Adonay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Asher Kiddeshanu Bemissvotav Vessivanu Al Netilat Lulab”.


Following this, only on the first time one should recite the blessing of “Shehehiyanu”.

 “Barukh Ata Ado-nay Elo-henu Melekh Haolam Shehehiyanu Vekiyemanu Vehigianu Lazeman Hazeh”.

On all other times only the blessing of the Lulab is recited.

After reciting the blessings, one should hold the Lulab with the Hadasim and the Arabot in the right hand and the Etrog in the left hand with the Pitom facing upwards.

Women are exempt from the Missva of the Lulab, but should they wish, they may perform it without reciting the blessing.


Shabbat Hol-Hamoed

Shabbat Hol-Hamoed is observed like any other Shabbat.  However, we do not take or handle the Lulab and Etrog on Shabbat and they are considered Mukseh.   Like any other Shabbat, there is the Missva of eating three meals (with bread), and these meals must be eaten in the Sukkah.



Hosha’ana Rabba is known as a mini Yom Kippur.  Although we do not fast, we conduct prayers with Selihot similar to Yom Kippur.  It is the last day of the period of judgment that began with Rosh HaShana.  It is the day in which the Heavenly Books of Judgment are sealed, especially regarding one’s sustenance for the coming year.  G-d provided Hosha’ana Rabba as the last opportunity for prayer and supplication to the Almighty for a happy and healthy New Year.  Therefore, our sages have instituted the entire night of Hosha’ana Rabba to be a time for prayer and supplication, Selihot, and learning.  Hosha’ana Rabba is the last day of Sukkot and the Missva of Lulab is in rigor and special prayers are conducted as well.  It is customary to hold a bundle of five Arabot while reciting special prayers at the conclusion of the service.



The observance of Shemini Asseret is similar to that of Sukkot, namely one is obligated to sit in the Sukkah, however without reciting the blessing of “Lesheb BaSukkah”.  The Missva of Lulab is not observed on Shemini Asseret as well.



Simhat Torah is observed in a similar fashion to Shemini Asseret.  However, one should not sit in the Sukkah for the meals.  It is customary to sing and dance with the Torah. Hakafot are conducted and the celebration of the Hatanim takes place.  Please come to Knis and partake in this happy occasion, in which we thank G-d for having given us such a precious gift, the Torah.







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