Inviting Jewish Foremothers to the Sukkah
A contemporary twist on the traditional ceremony.
The traditional ushpizin ceremony--in which various male biblical figures are symbolically invited into the sukkah--has inspired many contemporary versions, which expand upon the set of guests invited to the sukkah. One of the most popular of these new ushpizin ceremonies involves inviting seven femail biblical figures; there are many versions of the liturgy for this ritual and the following is one example;
Enter, holy guests, in the spirit of hospitality. Enter, nurturing ancestors through whose deeds and devotion our lives are inspired. Enter our Sukkah and share our meal. Enter Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Deborah, Ruth and Esther.
Sarah our mother, whose laughter reached heaven
Enter our Sukkah this first night of seven.
The Holy One blessed you with insight profound.
May we hear your voice; may your wisdom abound.
Rebecca our mother, renown for your modesty,
Directed your son on his personal odyssey.
Enter our Sukkah; provide inspiration.
Let your sense of vision encourage our nation.
Rachel our mother, beloved and cherished
Devotion completed the path where you perished.
Though exiled children recounted your sorrow
Returning, we promise a brighter tomorrow.
Leah our mother, whose nurturing care
Provides an example for Jews everywhere,
Enter our Sukkah, and share harvest's prize
As bountiful as the stars in night skies.
Deborah our leader, so valiant and wise,
Your judgments were fire that burned in your eyes.
Enter our Sukkah as you sat 'neath your tree
Dispense to us visions of your prophecy.
Ruth our sister, whose choices we laud
In embracing our people, our land and our God,
Enter our Sukkah; your praises we sing,
Grandmother and teacher of David the King.
Esther our heroine, queen of the land,
You offered your life to thwart Haman's hand.
Enter our Sukkah, recounting your story
Of how your adventures restored us to glory.
Conclude each night:
Each mother our leader, our teacher, our guide
With gifts from the One who has blessed her.
Ushpizin, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah
Deborah, Ruth and Esther.