Why Is Sukkot Celebrated? The Story Behind The Jewish Huts

The Meaning of Sukkot: Why On Earth Would We Celebrate Sleeping In Huts?

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman


Why do we even celebrate Sukkot? Sukkot doesn’t seem to commemorate an important historical event, unlike other Jewish holidays. What should Sukkot mean to us – and why on Earth do we celebrate by sleeping in Jewish huts?

Compared to Passover and Shavuot, Sukkot celebrations seem to be missing a big event to commemorate. We know the Sukkot story about how the Israelites slept in the desert in small Jewish huts, or booths, after fleeing from Egypt. But we also see that Sukkot refers to the place where they first slept. Why call a place "Sukkot" – basically, the Hebrew equivalent of "shantytown?” Are these clues about the importance of Sukkot?

The Torah tells us one more detail about the Sukkot food – unleavened dough – that they ate on their first night in these makeshift booths. But we also relate Matzah with Pesach, which commemorates the same night. So how is the meaning of Sukkot different? There still seems to be a missing event of why we celebrate Sukkot.

Rabbi Fohrman takes a deeper look at the Torah readings surrounding the story of Sukkot, and explores the real meaning of why we celebrate Sukkot, and the reason we build and sleep in sukkah huts.