Here and there you will notice a bit more vocabulary in various sections, but these are more central items, so that you have them handy.

  • arucha ארוחה
    = meal 
  • bracha ברכה
    = blessing. Blessings = brachot ברכות .
    Bracha is also a girl's name. 
  • choref חורף
    = winter 
  • gamal גמל
    = camel 
  • geshem גשם
    = rain 
  • katzir קציר
    = harvest 
  • kishut קישוט
    = decoration. The plural is kishutim קישוטים . 
  • kochavim כוכבים
    = stars. The singular is kochav כוכב . 
  • mayim מים
    = water 
  • mizrach מזרח
    = east. Also a decorative item - like a small artistic plaque or hanging- put up on an eastern wall of your home to remind you which way is Jerusalem. Mizrachi מזרחי means Eastern, and also refers to Jews and Jewish culture from the Eastern/Arabic world. 
  • perot פרות
    = fruits. The singular is pri פרי . 
  • pil פיל
    = elephant 
  • shemesh שמש
    = sun 
  • simcha שמחה
    = joy; also a joyous occasion or celebration. 
  • stav סתיו
    = autumn.
    Stav is also a common girl's name in Israel. 
  • tefila תפילה
    = prayer. The plural is tefilot תפילות . 
  • teva טבע
    = nature. Natural is tiv-i טבעי (masculine, singular). 
  • yerakot ירקות
    = vegetables. The singular is yerek ירק . "Two for the price of one!" :) - greenery is also yerek ירק . The color green in Hebrew is yarok ירוק (singular, masculine). 
  • Yerushala-im ירושלים
    = Jerusalem


  • arava ערבה
    = willow
    The leaf of this member of the four species / arba-a minim is said in Midrash to resemble a mouth. It does not have taste or odor - so it is also thought to symbolize those Jews who neither know Torah nor perform any good deeds. 
  • arba-a minim ארבעה מינים
    = "four species"- citron, palm, myrtle and willow,
    aka etrog אתרוג , lulav לולב , hadas הדס , arava ערבה .
  • arba-at haminim ארבעת המינים
    = "the four species".
    These are used during Sukkot. This mitzvah/obligation is referred to in the Torah [Leviticus 23:40]: "On the first day you shall take the product of the citrus trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days." (See more in our other sections). 
  • etrog אתרוג
    = citron
    This member of the four species symbolizes the heart. In commentary, as it has taste and fragrance, it is said to portray those who are both knowledgeable in Torah and also do ma-asim tovim / good deeds. 
  • hadas הדס
    = myrtle
    The leaf of this member of the four species stands for the eye. As it has aroma but no taste, it symbolizes Jews who may not know Torah, but do perform good acts. 
  • hidur mitzvah הידור מצווה
    = "beautifying the commandment" so as to further glorify God. Like when one tries to get the most perfect and beautiful etrog, or in how one decorates one's sukkah… 
  • lulav לולב
    = palm frond
    This member of the four species represents the spine. As a date has taste but no odor, it is said to signify those who know Torah but do not engage in good deeds. 
  • sechach סכך
    = roof covering
    In the case of a sukkah, this refers to the branches, fronds and greenery used on top. 
  • Simchat Bet HaShoeva שמחת בית השואבה
    = "joy of the water drawing", a water ceremony in Temple Times. Some version is still done in Tzfat / Safed by Chasidim, and it is said to be a very impressive sight. See much more in our other sections :) . 
  • sukkah סוכה
    = booth, hut. The plural, like the primary name of the chag, is sukkot סוכות. 
  • ushpizin אושפיזין
    = Aramaic for guests. Ushpiz אושפיז is also a literary word for guest.
    This is a Jewish tradition whose origin is likely Kabbalist, where ushpizin are spiritual biblical guests that visit the sukkah. A short prayer may be recited symbolically inviting these guests. (For more, see Worthwhile Information and other sections).


  • Chag Adonai חג יי
    = "The Lord's Festival", another name for Sukkot. 
  • Chag HaAsif חג האסיף
    = "Festival of the Harvest" or "Feast of the Ingathering", another name for Sukkot. 
  • Chag HaSukkot חג הסוכות
    = "Festival of the Booths" or "Festival of the Tabernacles". 
  • Chol HaMoed חול המועד
    = "Intermediate Days of the Festival" (see more in Worthwhile Information). 
  • HaChag החג
    = "The Festival", the idea here being that in more ancient times Sukkot was actually the most important festival of the year (see also Overview). 
  • Hoshana Rabbah הושענא רבה
    = "Great Hosanna", a more solemn semi-festival within Sukkot, falling on its seventh day. The Hoshana part of the name meaning literally: "We beseech you O Lord save us now". Interestingly, it also means a willow twig, which fits right in with the rituals that day (for more, see Overview). 
  • shalosh regalim שלוש רגלים
    = the three pilgrimage festivals, which are Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. On such occasions, as directed in Deuteronomy 16:16-17, Israelites would be expected to go to Jerusalem to bring offerings to the Temple. 
  • Shemini Atzeret שמיני עצרת
    = "The Eighth Day of the Assembly". Atzeret means cessation, assembly; or a concluding assembly, so-to-speak. Notable mostly for its prayer for rain. Its timing overlaps with Simchat Torah (see also Overview and Worthwhile Information sections). 
  • Yom Tov יום טוב
    = full festival day. (The literal translation would be "good day"). 
  • Zeman Simchatenu זמן שמחתנו
    = "Season of Our Rejoicing", with a connotation of thanksgiving for harvests and other personal achievements of the year; another name for Sukkot.
    zeman זמן = time, period of time
    simcha שמחה = joy; also a joyous occasion or celebration. 

In The Synagogue

  • hakafa הקפה
    = circuit. Plural is hakafot הקפות. For the first six days of Sukkot a daily circuit is made in the synagogue. One holds a lulav and etrog in this procession and recites the Hoshana prayer specific to that day. On the seventh day, Hoshana Rabbah, the circuit is repeated seven times instead. 
  • Hallel הלל
    = literally, "Praise". The Hallel is from Psalms 113-118, and is only chanted on happy occasions. Hallel is recited during Sukkot morning services when the four species are waved. This is so that we remember that God is ruler of all nature. 
  • Kohelet קהלת
    = Ecclesiastes. This book is read on the last day of Sukkot. (See also Worthwhile Information). 
  • Tefillat HaGeshem תפילת הגשם
    = prayer for rain