Tishrei: Talking to the Dead on Sukkot

Tishrei, the official head of the Jewish year is chock full of holidays. We have Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the Days of Awe, during which is also the Autumnal Equinox. Then we have Sukkot, Hoshanah Rabba, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah. This is the time of the year, where we take stock and look to the year ahead. It makes a lot of sense to do this in the Fall. In ancient times, or just an agrarian culture, this is when you finish up the harvest and see how you are going to make it through the winter. It’s a pretty universal theme across many cultures.

Another theme that appears across many religious & indigenous traditions during the days following the Autumnal Equinox is the gates between the worlds being open, or the “veil between the worlds” being thin. In particular, this appears in holidays where people honor their beloved dead. Two holidays like this that leap to mind are the Mexican Day of the Day, and the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Judaism also has its holiday where we honor our revered ancestors this time of year: Sukkot.

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