Rabbi Shefa Gold

What Is Ushpizin?

Inviting in the Ancestors on Sukkot
photo: Benjamin Fradin and Lena Obermann Fradin

Ushpizin is a way of inviting in of the souls of ancestors and other special figures into your sukkah.  Here is how ushpizin can be done:

1. Ask those present to think about who from the family or Jewish history that has gone on to the next level of existence, whom of these do you want to be in the sukkah with you? It’s nicest to say why you are inviting them...tell a story about them, or recall something they did that meant a lot to you, or everyone think of a question to ask the ancestor being invited in, for example, the Biblical Abraham and/or Sarah.

2. Then recite the Aramaic welcome: Tivu, tivu, ushpizin ee-lah-een, tivu, tivu, ushpizin kaddishin: (and announce): Come in, come in, honored and holy guests! (An MP3 sound file and songsheet for Rabbi Geelah Rayzel Raphael's "Tivu" song, done with the a capella group Miraj is attached.) The are seven traditional male and female ancestral guests to invite into your Sukkah (and tell their stories) from antiquity are:

The Problem and Repair of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Candle Lighting Ceremony

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

This article teaches unique and meaningful ways to convey honor and blessing to special people present at a rite of passage, for example, a bar or bat mitzvah. The birthday cake strategy with candles present that are lit with nice things being said about family members was invented by a Christian caterer and become mistakenly adopted during some bar and bat mitzvah parties. That caterer didn't understand a) That candles are lit to start and end the Sabbath, never during it and b) that a bar and bat mitzvah is not a 12th or 13th birthday party.