Sukkot

sukkotenglishpetit.jpg
sukkotenglishpetit.jpg

Meaning and celebration of the festival of Sukkot

סוכות

The Feast of the Everlasting Joy

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The angel said to me, "Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’" Then he added, "These are God’s very words. Revelation 19 :9

Sukkot סוכות means booth or tent, a temporary dwelling, reminding us of the wanderings of the people of Israel in the desert. It also reminds us that we are « sojourners in the earth ».

It is during the festival of booths that we eat and/or sleep for seven days in our own hand-made booths. The roof must be made of tree branches so as to be able to see the sky to remind us that it is G-d who protects us during our stay on earth. 

It is the third festival that has a solemn convocation and to which the Jewish people are to attend by going up to the Temple. It is a rejoicing festival with two holidays; the first and seventh days. It is celebrated on the 15th of the month of Tishri.

You are to keep the festival of Sukkot for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing–floor and winepress. Rejoice at your festival––you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L’vi’im, and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. Seven days you are to keep the festival for ADONAI your God in the place ADONAI your God will choose, because ADONAI your God will bless you in all your crops and in all your work, so you are to be full of joy! Deuteronomy 16 :13-15

A particular commandment requires us to tie together four fruits, forming the Lulav, also the name of the tallest specie, the palm. It is to be shaken in front of the Sukkah. 

These four fruits are: 

  • The palm   
  • The willow           
  • The citron
  • The myrtle

These four species represent the different types of Jews, both pious and non pious but all indivisible in G-d’s eyes:                        

  • The citron (etrog) is delicious and smells good; it represents the scholarly Jew in the Torah who practices what he studies:  

But those sown on rich soil hear the message, accept it and bear fruit! –thirty, sixty or a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20

  • The myrtle (hadas) also smells good but is not edible; it represents the person who “forgets what he was taught”: 

Likewise, those receiving seed on rocky patches are people who hear the message and joyfully accept it at once; but they have no root in themselves. So they hold out for a while, but as soon as some trouble or persecution arises on account of the message, they immediately fall away. Mark4:16-17

  • The palm (lulav) is edible but has no smell; it represents the one who owns the knowledge but not the works: 

You believe that “God is one”? Good for you! The demons believe it too – the thought makes them shudder with fear! But, foolish fellow, do you want to be shown that such “faith” apart from actions is barren? James 2:19-20 De 6:4

  • The willow (arava) has no taste nor smell; it represents the one without Torah and without works, but who still is part of the Jewish people and needs to become integrated within the community so as to provoke in him an awakening that will bring him back to his faith: 

My brothers, if one of you wanders from the truth, and someone causes him to return, you should know that whoever turns a sinner from his wandering path will save him from death and cover many sins. Proverbs 10:12 , James 5:19-20

Therefore, the festival of Sukkot is a call to fraternal unity, and it is a duty to invite one another under the Sukkah to rejoice together for G-d’s kindness. It is the festival of fraternal love!

It is also the festival of water and rain. Prayers are said to bring the first rains, blessings for the dried earth.

For this occasion, during the period of the Temple, seventy bulls were offered for the atonement of the seventy nations of the world!                

The portion of the prophets’ writings read at this time is the messianic celebration of Sukkot in Zachariah 14.                               

The eighth day is called Simchat Torah, the joy of the Torah, a convocation to celebrate the end of the annual reading cycle of the Torah.

What about the body of the Mashiach, the Kehila (assembly) of G-d today?

The good news is we are all invited to Jerusalem to celebrate the coming back of the Great King and His Reign together with the people of Israel. He is the source of living water and in Him we find the true fraternal unity, in the shelter of His wings. On that day, the earth will be filled with His knowledge. He will be proclaimed ONE.

Then ADONAI will be king over the whole world. On that day ADONAI will be the only one, and his name will be the only name. Zachariah 14:9

G-d’s plan to gather everything in Him will be fulfilled so that we are one in Him, Jew and Gentile, the Two Houses reunified under the same G-d and His Torah. But before anything, He has to come back to Jerusalem, the city of the Great King, and to invite us all to celebrate Sukkot and to celebrate Him, the Living Torah! It will also be at Sukkot, that His eternal Torah will be read before the whole world!

Deuteronomy 31:10-12 Moshe gave them these orders: “At the end of every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot in the year of sh’mittah,  when all Isra’el have come to appear in the presence of ADONAI at the place he will choose, you are to read this Torah before all Isra’el, so that they can hear it. Assemble the people–– the men, the women, the little ones and the foreigners you have in your towns–– so that they can hear, learn, fear ADONAI your God and take care to obey all the words of this Torah;

It was also on that date that Yeshua decided to come in flesh to bring us the Light (see our study on the birth of Yeshua) 

  • Pesach: the deliverance
  • Shavuot: the gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Rosh Hashana: His coming back and the rapture
  • Kippur: our sins have been forgiven
  • Sukkot: His messianic reign
  • Chanukka: He is the Light of the world
  •  Purim: the defeat of Amalek

Let’s prophetically celebrate Sukkot while awaiting the glorious celebration to come, with Yeshua!

Celebration of the festival

  • Build a booth keeping the sky and the stars visible           
  • Make decorations about Israel; add garlands, kids’ drawings, symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel… Jerusalem.
  • Prepare a festive meal. Sfaradic Jews start the meal with couscous which reminds them of the manna in the desert because of its numerous seeds.
  • Pomegranate is the typical fruit for Sukkot because of the seeds that are a reminder of the manna and because of its crown, reminiscent of that of the Great King. 
  • If you were able to obtain Lulav, shake it in front of the Sukkah to symbolize fraternal unity. 
  • Start with the blessing upon the wine, Kiddush (sanctification) then on the bread motzi (taken out of, dragged).

« Blessed are you Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who created the fruit of the vine »

« Blessed are you Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who brought forth the bread from the earth »

May the L-rd bless you in this day of joy and fraternal unity, while we are awaiting that day when we can rejoice together in Jerusalem!

Chag Sameach   Happy festival!

חג שמח 

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