Succoth, Feast of the Tabernacles 2023/ 5784,
The joyful festival of the fall feasts
It’s been some time now since I left Israel, but I still remember my years there.
The week before Succoth a bunch of people always asked me to help them to set up their Succah.
Each of them a very different Succah.
One of them for example used to cover his pergola completely with Palm branches and the sides with bamboo fences.
That was quiet a spacious Succah.
And the whole big family loved that week, because they enjoyed sleeping under the Succah for that week.
I mean, for cooking, and bathroom exercises they went into the house, but the rest of the week they stayed in the Succah.
They possibly still do it these days.
Another one, that was a rabbi had on his balcony a metal framed Succah and there bamboo on top and curtains on the sides. The most work there was always tons of decorations besides carrying all the metal poles from the storage to the balcony.
Another older lady had a tiny Succah. She surely did not sleep in there.
The size was more like a dinner for two, with a small table and two chairs and just enough space to get to the chairs – except for people above 200 pounds or so.
Yes, scripture does not give too many rules and specifications about size, and how it should be built, only a hand full of instructions.
However, not all people are able to have one in their homes.
Those who live for example in these big tall buildings without balcony, what can they do?
Maybe built a Succah inside?
Sure many will attend the one day or another somewhere nearby their homes in a Succah, because they are all around, whether once or several times during that week.
What is it all about?
It shall be a reminder of the time, when the children of Israel dwelt in tents in the wilderness for 40 years.
Think about it, to live in a tent for 40 years, and every now and then pack your tent and move to another place and pitch it up again.
And of course, back then, some had surely big tents, others small ones.
Large families, small families, wealthy and poor people all side by side, all in different tents.
Well, nothing new under the sun, and til today we have wealthy and poor, big and small houses.
But definitely back then they did not had all the same tents like today of mass production, made in China.
We could be lucky if they will last maybe only 40 under such harsh conditions like in the wilderness…
I know what I am speaking about harsh conditions.
I’ve made once a 3,5 day hike through the Negev in Israel – in August.
But I have been also camping in other countries with several days in rain.
And the children of Israel could have told stories of muddy battles in winter times.
At least the children of Israel did not had communist regulations and laws how to built their tents dictated by evil governments who just want to control every aspect of our lives (they think we are too stupid and not able to manage our own lives).
Yes, back then it was surely not an easy life, but Elohim gave them a lot of freedom.
Apparently their patience was limited or did not like it for other reasons and rebelled often.
I can understand that to some extend.
My hike through the Negev was short, but it made me aware how scary it becomes when you realize you’re running out of water.
I found myself a couple of times complaining on my sailing journey – yet most of it was against myself, the boat or the various circumstances, not so much against Adonai.
Building a Succah is definitely different as to built a house of stones.
Many if not most people today have built a house of cards, on a sandy foundation, but that’s another can of worms.
I have a lot of experience and skills in construction, that was surely one of the reasons why they asked me, because they knew I do quality work.
Building a Succah is of course easier with a few rules compared to build houses, where today it is just horrible with all the laws and regulations which makes you to quit before you even put the first stone.
However, back to Succoth.
I am not sure if I will build here a Succah.
Even if the people I stay with here, consider to build one, I’m not sure if I will sleep there.
We had thunder and some rain at Yom Kippur, and whatever the weather might be over Succoth.
But I hesitate a bit for other reasons.
You never know if a snake or other creepy animals like to join the warm sleeping bag.
And people in Scandinavia I guess might not be thrilled to sleep in a Succah – maybe some do.
They surely don’t have snakes, maybe more mosquitoes instead.
I know some people who use a ordinary tent for that week.
This would be also a nice idea, at least keep the animals out, but that’s usually not considered a ″Kosher″ Succah.
But for myself; I left my tent anyway behind when I went on the journey across the ocean.
Here and there people ask me why do I celebrate and keep the festivals.
Are these not Jewish holidays?
Well, first of all
though I don’t have Jewish documents but who knows if I am Jewish or not.
There have been so many conversions in the last centuries for different reasons that… no-one really knows the true origins.
But… all the festivals are not only for the Jews but for the Hebrews, the children of Israel and foreigners, that’s why I keep it.
Who knows, I might be one of the tribes of Naphtali or Ruben, or Dan or a mixture.
But I definitely count myself as a descendant of Adam and not one of the tribes of the monkeys.
I simply want to obey the word of Elohim, and there it says we shall keep the Moadim, period.
Yeshua kept all the festivals, including Shabat.
My desire is, just to be like Him and follow His footsteps.
And that includes to keep the Moadim.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t force anyone in saying ″You MUST″ keep them or else you are….dadada… or you will be cast into… blah blah blah.
It’s your own personal choice.
Yeshua did not force anyone – even to follow Him.
But the consequences for those who don’t follow him – they have the bear themselves (for eternity).
And the last, the forth reason:
Yeshua said: If you love Me you keep My commandments, as He kept His Fathers commandments.
Well, I love Him, and so I keep His commandments, simple as that.
Of course, mostly I don’t celebrate them possibly in a proper way as I understand because it’s not always possible for several reasons or of some I simply don’t have the full understanding how to celebrate.
And actually, most of the tons of man-made additions of the laws, their commandments I don’t understand.
Enough for me is to understand what the Pharisees did not, or did not want to understand when the asked him what is the greatest commandment in Torah.
And Yeshua answered:
″You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.″
Whether you are able to dwell under a Succah during Succoth or not, at least remember how the Israelites dwelt in tents 40 years in the wilderness until they made it into the promised land.
Rav Shaul, the Apostle Paul and also Shimon Keepha (Peter) compared the body with a tent.
And yes, one day sooner or later, this tent, our personal individual Succah will be torn down.
But for those who have a personal relationship with Yeshua and are written in the book of life will receive a new tent, not made of human flesh but in Glory and we will enter the eternal promised land.
May we soon will finish our virtual 40 years in the wilderness and enter our eternal promised home.
One thing I am sure we will have no more 40 literal (worldly) years to go.
So we remember in our earthly tents how the children have been 40 years in the wilderness in their tents but also look forward to finish our own journey.
If we don’t murmur or rebel too much, we will make it.
Let us remember Joshua and Calev and hold on to the same trust that Adonai will defeat all the giants on our way and bring us home.
Yeshua was born very likely during Succoth, definitely not by the end of the secular year.
We don’t have too but we could also a little bit think about His birth during that week.
But… may we get in trouble with the hardcore Christians and their narrative, that prefer the connection to paganism – I name it usually Jeremiah 10 festival.
And especially those who have a toy or chocolate factory…
they will be very much offended, if we decide to follow the commandments of Adonai in scripture instead their profit show.
How dare are you to follow the truth…
Well, there is nowhere in scripture any commandment to celebrate Yeshuas birthday because if it would have desired it there would be something written about it.
Nothing wrong to speak about Yeshuas birth when He came in the flesh, but we do better to remember His death and resurrection and what it means for us.
But that’s now a bit too far off a message about Succoth.
Enough is to know we celebrate not because of a tradition, nor a religious duty, but because out of a loving relationship with the Him, our Lord and Savior.
And if you don’t have a personal relationship with Yeshua, today is the day to invite Him into your heart.
Don’t wait til tomorrow, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
To walk with Him might become a bit like a walk in the wilderness, like the children of Israel, but it will be a great journey into the promised land to heaven/ paradise, a place where Yeshua will reign forever and ever.
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