VIDEO: The unique history and symbolic nature of the Feast of Sukkoth

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Why are we commanded to build a temporary dwelling?  What exactly is a sukkah?

The Sukkah

The sukkah is a temporary structure made from anything that is not permanent. The roof has to be such that during a clear night, you can see the stars through the roofing. The walls have to be made of cloth or plywood or something that can be dismantled easily. The historical circumstance of the Feast of Booth is in remembrance of the 40 years that the children of Israel wandered in through the Sinai Desert together with Moses.

End of Harvest Period

Another aspect of the Feast of Sukkoth is the that it comes at the end of the harvest period. And another name of it is the Feast of Ingathering, the Feast of Harvest, when the grain fruit – olive oil, grapes and all other food substances that the farmers of Israel produce are actually gathered into the store houses and everybody feels secure financially and secure in every other way that God has blessed them during the last summer and spring harvest and now they can relax and sit and say ‘Ah…it is good for my soul. I am secure. Food is secure and everything is fine.’ And it is exactly at that time that the Feast of Sukkoth comes.

An Equalizer

The Feast of Sukkoth is an equalizer. It eqalizes between the rich and the poor, between the powerful and the less powerful. Because everybody is supposed to leave his house, his castle, his palace and go out in the same way as the poor people and live in a shack – in a temporary dwelling – with a leaking roof. During Sukkoth, everybody in Israel is equal and realises that before God that equality is what sets us apart as a nation. All year we are different. But during that week, we are reminded we are one people and we are equal. And our true identity is not in which type of home we live in – a palace or a shack – but it is in the grace of God that supplies us with all of our needs. We drive different cars, some are members of a country club, but during Sukkoth, all of us are open to the elements of the weather.

The Four Species in the Sukkoth

We have in the sukkoth four species that are commanded in the Torah. These four species are different from one another. We have the palm that has no taste and no smell. We have the willow that has no taste and no smell. The citron that has no taste and smell. The mertyl branch that has smell and no taste. Only by putting the four elements together in the hands and shaking them before the Lord, we fulfil one another and we all share, taste, smell and equally. This unity of the nation of Israel, this unity of society is one of the essential elements of the Feast of Sukkoth. It is a feast that equalises us, unites us and reminds us that God took care of us 40 years in the wilderness.

Entertaining Guests

The last day of the feast is very special and is mentioned in John 7. It is the celebration of water. It is the beginning of the rainy season. The rainy season usually starts during the Sukkot. Sitting in the sukkah everyday, having dinner in it for seven days, we entertain different guests, virtual guests. The real guests for our history and real guests for our own soul and understanding. Abraham is in for the first night, Isaac on the second night. Jacob on the third night and Moses and Aaron follow. And finally King David and in the last night, the Messiah.

Prophecy in Zechariah 

One of the interesting things about Sukkoth is in the last chapter of Zechariah. There is a prediction by the prophet that one day all the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to celebrate to the Feast of Sukkoth.

Join us in celebration of Sukkoth and stand with us in prayer for Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people.