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As far as I can tell every single Jewish Holiday celebrates a particular event that happened on the date we celebrate it. Namely:

Rosh Hashanah - (Tishrei 1) Creation of Man

Yom Kippur - (Tishrei 10) Final time Moshe decends Mt. Sinai

Sukkot - (Tishrei 15) ???

Chanukah - (Kislev 25) Miracle of the Oil

Purim - (Adar 14) Jew were saved from Hamans decree.

Pesach - (Nissan 15) - Jews left Egypt.

Shavuot - Jews received the Torah.

It is true that Sukkot commemorates the Clouds of Glory which protected the Jews in the desert, but I have not seen any source that this began on the 15th of Tishrei. Can anyone shed some light on this?

  • The question seems to imply the reason for the holiday celebration is to commemorate the events that you mentioned. This is not always true. Maybe, I'm inferring incorrectly? – DanF Oct 6 '14 at 2:39
  • @DanF, my question is only meant to suggest a general rule among holidays. However I would argue that commemorating these events is indeed at least one aspect of each holiday. – Binyomin Trager Oct 6 '14 at 3:51
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The Tur (O.C. 625) indicates that you are correct in your question, as he explains why Sukkos isn't in the spring, since we got the huts after we left Egypt in the spring, and it should be then that we celebrate. But it was moved to make it more obvious that we are doing it for the Mitzvah, and not to appreciate the nice weather. This seems to imply that there isn't any corresponding event for which it made sense to have it at the time that it is.

The Vilna Gaon (Shir HaShirim 1:4) explains, based on the opinion that the sukkas correspond to the Clouds of Glory, that after the sin of the golden calf the Clouds of Glory left. The Jews got repentance for that sin on Yom Kippur, 10th of Tishrei. On the eleventh, Moshe commanded the construction of the Mishkan. Supplies were gathered for the next three days, and on the 15th of Tishrei, construction began. When the Jews began construction of the structure that would bring Hashem's presence back to them, the Clouds of Glory returned. Thus, the 15th of Tishrei is the date of the return of the Clouds of Glory, which we "reenact" by going out into the Sukkah on that date.

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The Gra (commentary to Canticles 1:4) explains that the Clouds of Glory returned to the Jewish camp on 15 Tishrei after leaving due to the sin of the Golden Calf.

(He reasons that Moshe came down with the second set of tablets on 10 Tishrei. He immediately gave the command to build the Mishkan on 11 Tishrei. The people brought gifts for two mornings. On 14 Tishrei the donations were distributed to the workers and on 15 Tishrei the work began, and with it came the return of the Clouds.)

Additionally, it's a harvest moon and Sukkot is the Holiday of the Harvest.

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