What are the Ushpizin?

What's something that all holidays have in common in Israel? GUESTS of course! That's exactly what Ushpizin translates to...keep reading to find out about Ushpizin on Sukkot.


A man holding up an etrog

Ushpizin translates to "guests" in Aramaic. During Sukkot, seven Ushpizin pay a visit to the sukkah. These "guests" are no other than the forefathers of Judaism -- one for each day of the holiday. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David.


Guests are an integral factor of Jewish festivals. Shabbat, Passover, Rosh Hashana, and of course Sukkot. Jews are supposed to enjoy the holidays, and part of that joy is sharing the celebration with those they care about, and with strangers. Sukkot more than any other holiday is about unity. Jews are all supposed to sit in the sukkah at least once, and that means inviting others in to join in!


Interestingly enough, each of the seven divine guests or "Ushpizin" corresponds to a different type of energy.

Love

Restraint/Discipline

Beauty/Truth

Victory/Endurance

Splendor/Humility

Foundation/Connection

Sovereignty/Leadership

Are there other cultural traditions related to Ushpizin? Sephardim often set aside a special chair for these guests, laden with books.


In short, the ritual of Ushpizin is a way to invite the souls of our forefathers into the sukkah, and to celebrate this festival with us!


Don't you agree this tradition fits in with the culture of Israel perfectly? Israel, where the taxi driver invites you to a Shabbat meal, and strangers invite you to their holiday celebration. Very fitting!


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