Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sukkot

 

Leviticus 23:33 "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the people of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Booths for seven days to the Lord. On the first day shall be a holy gathering; you shall do no labor in it. Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord; on the eighth day shall be a holy gathering to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord; it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no labor in it. On the first day shall be a Shabbat, and on the eighth day shall be a Shabbat. And you shall take on the first day the branches of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the branches of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And you shall keep it a feast to the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths seven days; all who are Israelites born shall dwell in booths; That your generations may know that I made the people of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God."

The construction of the Sukkah varies based on the opinion of various rabbis. The Talmud has a whole tractate called "Sukkah" for this. How small is small? – your body must be in the Sukkah but the table can be in the house, but not taller than 20 cubits. It should have at least three walls and be covered with branches in such a way to have more shade than sunlight but to be able to see the stars at night. Some have hinged roofs to cover it in case of rain. The walls could be highly decorated but not engraved with Torah passages. Shulhan Aruch gives instruction as how to build it and even how to take it down. It is customary to invite guests on each night of Sukkot so we invite one of seven exalted men of Israel to take up residence in the sukkah with us. Also, any earthly guest, called Ushpizin - it was, and still is in some communities, an honor to be able to invite guests into your Sukkah.

If you cannot sleep inside, at least eat all meals inside the Sukkah; the Orthodox do not take even a sip of water outside sukkah.

Hoshana Rabbah – the Great Salvation. This is the name of the seventh day of Sukkot. It is so called because the word Hoshana is repeated a number of times in the prayer. The Hoshana service is symbolized by bunches of willow tied together with strips of willow bark or palm leaf carried by the worshipers as they walk around the synagogue seven times. They beat the floor with willows and recite the prayer "A voice proclaims good tidings..." This prayer expresses the messianic hope for Israel's redemption. In some communities it is customary to spend the entire night in reading the books of Deuteronomy and Psalms.

Shemini Atzeret the solemn assembly. This day, so designated in the Bible (Leviticus 23:36), is the last day of the Festival and is observed in the Shabbat spirit. It is also one of the four days of the year when Yizkor prayers are recited. The additional service, Musaf, includes a special prayer for the rain, looking forward to the coming days of rain and the water so essential for a fruitful year, hence another name for this day, "The day of drawing of water," Isaiah 12:3: "And you shall draw water with joy from the springs of salvation." In the B'rit Chadashah we see Yeshua's response to this prayer: John 7:37-38: "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (Sukkot) Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, 'If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"

Now, in the Messianic belief Sukkot is the birthday of Yeshua, so it is a very appropriate Holy days for us to observe, not only that but Sukkot will be celebrated by all nations in the Millennium, Zechariah 14: 16. "And it shall come to pass, that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths." So, learn now about Sukkot because you will teach all the Gentiles how to wave the lulav and not how to staff their stockings and decorate a pine tree.

Weekly Scripture Reading

 

For
Shabbat

May 20 / Iyar 24, 5777

Parashah: Behar (on Mount) & Bechukotai (My decrees)

— Torah:
(Vayikra) Leviticus 25:1 – 26:2 & 26:3 – 27:34

Chazak! Chazak! Venischazeik! (Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!)

— Haftarah:
Jeremiah 16:19 – 17:14

In the evening count Omer 40


SHEMITTAH - the Sabbatical year, and YOVEL - the Jubilee year, teach that true joy of life comes when man stops striving for material gain in favor of spiritual growth. It teaches that the source of physical sustenance, as well as the spiritual one, is not the world but God. He is the provider of everything man needs, physically and spiritually...

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