As we celebrate our joyous holiday of Sukkot, I would like to invite you to explore the tradition we call “ushpizin” in your own Sukkahs or in our beautiful Sukkah at KI. “Ushpizin” and “ushpizot”.is a short ceremony to welcome our ancestors- our patriarchs and matriarchs into our Sukkah.
On the first day we say, “I invite to my meal the exalted guests, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. May it please you, Abraham, my exalted guest, that all the other exalted guests dwell with me and with you – Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.” On each day, a different one of the seven is called in order. And of course, for our matriarchs we call upon them and other important women of Israel — Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Devorah, Hannah, Huldah, Abigail, and Esther — either with the men or on their own.
Calling upon our ancestors is an important practice through our worship, and also for those wishing to bring the memory of their loved ones closer. In Avot/Imahot, we call upon our ancestor’s deeds of loving kindness as paving the way for us. In Mi Sheberach, we call upon our mothers and fathers to bring strength to us in our times of need.
During the High Holy Days at the confessional, we call upon God of our ancestors to forgive and pardon us. When we are in the Sukkah, in the peace and light of nature, we connect with the voices of our past, still there guiding us.
Please come, shake the Lulav, smell the etrog, relax, dine, and feel at home in our Sukkah; and perhaps add the tradition of “ushpizin” and “ushpizot” to your Sukkot traditions and feel the strength of our ancestors always with us and still guiding us.