What is/are the Torah Readings for the first day and second day of Sukkot ?

The Torah readings for the first "full" festival day and second "full" festival day of Sukkot are from the biblical book of Vayikra or Leviticus: Leviticus 22:26-23:44, which describe all the divinely ordained festivals from G-d to be commemorated by the Hebrews/Jews. The festival of Sukkot is mentioned only at the end of this section, in Vayikra or Leviticus 23:33-44. Jews who live outside Israel observe the first two days of Sukkot as "full" festival days, meaning the full compliment of Torah and rabbinic laws apply to these first two days. Jews who live in Israel as well as Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews observe only the first day of Sukkot as a "full" festival day. In the Reform-Jewish tradition, which again observes only one "full" festival day of Sukkot - the first day of Sukkot - only the section which mentions the festival of Sukkot, the Sukkah, and the Four Species, that is, Vayikra or Leviticus 23:33-44, is read.

What is the Maftir ("additional" in Hebrew) Reading for the first two days of Sukkot ?

The Maftir for the first two days of Sukkot is from the biblical book of Bamidbar or Numbers, specifically Bamidbar or Numbers 29:12-16 . This section describes the sacrifices that were offered in Temple times by the Hebrews/Jews during the festival of Sukkot. Reform-Jewish congregations do not include a Maftir reading as part of their Torah readings.

What is the Haftarah reading (Prophetic reading) for the first day of Sukkot ?

The Haftarah reading for the first day of Sukkot is Zechariah 14 . In Zechariah, Chapter 14, the concepts of calamity, the end of days for all nations, and Redemption and Messianic times is related to the festival of Sukkot.

What is the Haftarah reading (Prophetic reading) for the second day of Sukkot ?

The Haftarah reading for the second day of Sukkot is from the biblical book of Kings; specifically, I Kings 8:2-21 . In I Kings 8:2-21, there is a description of King Solomon building the First Temple. In the first verse of this passage, the feast that is described is the festival of Sukkot. There is also a less obvious connection in this passage between the Mishkan or Tabernacle and the Sukkah or Succah ["Mishkan" means "Place of (Divine) dwelling" in Hebrew, referring to the portable and central place of worship for the Hebrews from the time they left Egypt until the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem in the 10th century B.C.E.].

Which biblical book do we read on Sukkot?

Another Sukkot custom is to read from one of the five Torah scrolls ("Megillot" means "scrolls" in Hebrew), with a different Torah scroll being read on a different holiday. The Torah scroll that is read on Sukkot is from the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes ("Kohelet" in Hebrew), with its theme of the shortness of life, meaning that the Festival of Sukkot and the temporary dwelling of the Sukkah itself represents the temporary nature and fragility of life. Another reason given for reading from Ecclesiastes on Sukkot is that the Hebrew name for Ecclesiastes - "Kohelet" - symbolizes a man who is in the autumn of his life, and this has been compared to the Autumn harvest as well as the winter to come, which results in the death of plants and trees. "Kohelet" is frequently called "The Preacher" because of the way he speaks in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Another reason given for reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes is that its melancholy words are appropriate for the autumn season and the festival of Shemini Atzeret. Still another reason given for reading from Ecclesiastes is based on a verse in Ecclesiastes: "Divide a portion into seven, yea, even into eight" (Ecclesiastes 11:2). Based on this verse, the Talmudic rabbis applied the words "seven days" to the seven days of Sukkot, and the subsequent reference to "eight", to the eighth day of Shemini Atzeret. The Book of Ecclesiastes is read in the morning synagogue services either on the Shabbat or Sabbath which occurs during the weekdays of Sukkot, meaning the Chol Hamoed days, or if the first day of Sukkot falls on Shabbat, then the Book of Ecclesiastes is read on that day in Israel, while Jews living outside Israel will read from the Book of Ecclesiastes either on the following Shabbat, which is also the day of Shemini Atzeret (the day after the seven-day festival of Sukkot, which is celebrated as a separate holiday) or during the Chol Hamoed days of Sukkot. The second to last verse of the Book of Ecclesiastes, however, reminds all that adhering to G-d and G-d's mitzvot ("commandments" in Hebrew, as in commandments from G-d) are the only worthwhile goals in life.

What is the Torah Reading for Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot ?

The Torah reading for the Shabbat or Sabbath which falls on the intermediate or middle days of the festival of Sukkot is from the biblical book of Shemot or Exodus; specifically, Shemot or Exodus 33:12 34:26 . This passage describes the commemoration of the "Shalosh Regalim", or "Pilgrim Festivals" in the following order in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar: first Pesach/Passover, then Shavuot/Shavuoth/Shavuos, and finally, Sukkot/Succoth. Within this Torah reading, Shemot or Exodus 34:22 relates directly to Sukkot. An interesting note to this passage is in the verses of Shemot or Exodus 34:6-7, which is recited in the Torah readings in the synagogue service on the three Shalosh Regalim festivals as well as in the synagogue service during the High Holidays. In these verses, which take place with Moses on top of Mount Sinai for a second time after the incident with the Golden Calf at Mount Sinai and Moses subsequently destroying the first set of tablets containing the Ten Commandments in anger upon seeing the Golden Calf, Moses has a momentary crisis of spirit, and he asks G-d if he could see G-d. The reply he receives is that he cannot see G-d live, but he is instructed to seek shelter in the cleft of a rock so that he can be "protected" by the "hand" of G-d whereupon G-d passes before Moses. One might then contemplate an association between the "protective" nature of the Sukkah or Succah and the "protective" nature of the cleft of the rock combined with G-ds' "protective" hand over Moses as he took shelter in the cleft of the rock.

More Sukkot Information

What is Sukkot ?
When is Sukkot ?
Sukkot E-Cards
Customs of Sukkot
Sukkah or Succah
Sukkot Readings From Scripture
Hol HaMoed Sukkot

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