History of Sukkot

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Hoshanah Rabbah, the “Great Hoshanah” at the end of the holiday, on which people beat the willows, also represents the ultimate end to the period of teshuvah (repentance), at which point the very last decrees are issued from heaven. The custom of beating the willows has its origins in Temple ritual, where people would beat the willows on the floor near the altar in a symbolic destruction of sins.

When the Temple was still standing, there was a water libation that was performed only on Sukkot. It became a very joyous celebration known as Simhat Bet Hashoevah, at which festive performances took place. Today, some use this as a time to hold a party, or to have performances in their sukkot.

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