What's a Kvitl, and Why Wish Anyone a Good One?

“A gut kvitl!” East European Jews once said to each other in the days just before and during the holiday of Sukkot, and many still do. What does it mean?

alefbet/iStockphoto.

alefbet/iStockphoto.

Observation
Oct. 10 2017
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.


A gut kvitl!” East European Jews once said to each other in the days just before and during the holiday of Sukkot, and many Yiddish-speaking and Orthodox English-speaking Jews still say it, especially before the holiday’s seventh (and, in Israel, last) day of Hoshanah Rabbah, which this year falls on Wednesday October 11. But what’s a kvitl, and why wish anyone a good one?

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More about: High Holidays, Religion & Holidays, Sukkot