What is the connection between the holiday of Sukkot and welcoming guests? What are the origins of the custom to invite the ushpizin, spiritual guests, to the Sukkah? To begin, learners will discuss the criteria critical for being both a gracious host and guest and then continue to analyze some Biblical and Rabbinic texts that delve into the Jewish approach to hospitality. (Be sure to see the Maimonides citation in the further study section.) Following this, students will investigate the kabbalistic tradition of inviting one of our forefathers as a “guest” each night of Sukkot (See the attached Ushpizin prayer) and research individually or in small groups what each one of these guests contribute to the spiritual environment of our sukkah.

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. Understand how the Sukkot custom of welcoming guests deepens one’s connection to God and the Jewish people of past and present

  2. Know the content of the Biblical and Rabbinic texts in relation to welcoming guest to the Sukkah

be able to choose an additional person from Jewish tradition whom they find to be inspiring and explain why they would like to invite this person to their Sukkah

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

  6. How To Do It video with a musical rendition inviting the ushpizin and ushpizot to the Sukkah

Student handout

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