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ushpizin

(Aramaic: "visitors"), according to the Jewish Kabbalistic book the Sefer ha-zohar ("Book of Splendour"), seven ancient worthies who take turns visiting the homes of all pious Jews to share their dinner on the festival of Sukkoth. A custom developed of reciting a fixed formula of invitation to the seven: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. Poor scholars are sometimes invited to join the family dinner as representatives of the ushpizin.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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