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Study and Theory/

Y. Carmel

The Jewish festivals have an ancient tradition

Maoz Chaim, 1971

The Jewish festivals have an ancient tradition. Every festival has its symbols, its customs, its prayers and even its menu.  It seems to be that the fixed tradition, which returns every year, gives the cultural-spiritual value of the festival. That is every festival has its fixed framework and content.


We are not trying to copy the festivals into our lives of renewal exactly as they were formed for many generations. In the circumstances of the lives of the dispersed people, we wish to renew the festivals and offer them the color and the spirit of a people returning to its homeland and sitting on its land. At the start of the settlement, with the initial steps of the group, the searches and the attempts to form the design and the content of the festivals began which are appropriate for the renewal.


There have been many achievements however the searches are continuing and the road is still long until the perfect formation which will express and merge the ancient tradition with the new life.


The eve of a festival can be a “pleasant evening”, enjoyable, cultural, happy and even fun – enjoyable for all the members. However nevertheless – what does it have to do with this festival, the concrete festival, relating to a certain date (a Hebrew date!)? During the year there are tens of eves of the Sabbath when it is possible (and desirable!) to hold “evenings” of various types such as “assignment evenings”, as we do on the eve of Sukkot in our kibbutz. However the festival, every festival, should be celebrated appropriately for that certain festival and pursuant to its contents.


What, for example, is the connection between our eve of Sukkot and the festival of Sukkot in general?

Such as evening could have been held on any eve of the Sabbath or any of the evenings of the year – certainly it should entertain and give enjoyment to the members. Even the decorations in the dining room, apart from a few palm branches, had no connection to Sukkot. No lulav, no etrog and nothing belonging to that festival.


Nothing was expressed – the member who left the dining room after our Sukkot party was right when she thought to herself and said out loud  “!and what will they do on Purim?!”.

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