Sukkot

The Fall Feast

Feast of Tabernacles

All names for a festival that God established and requires participants to be filled with JOY.

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 says…13 “You are to keep the festival of Sukkot for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing-floor and winepress. 14 Rejoice at your festival — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L’vi’im (Levites), and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. 15 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!

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day feast. These seven days are a great time to spend together as a family. It is almost like outdoor camping. Sound fun yet?

If you notice, even the “foreigners” living among them were to celebrate! That means EVERYONE!

I love the last phrase, “so you are to be FULL OF JOY!”

The first idea is to plan a sukkah, which is like a tent or a three-sided structure. It is called a tabernacle or booth. This three-sided “tent” is usually covered with cloth, but if it rains where you live a water-proof material might be a better option.

The inside you can decorate with all kinds of ornaments, paper chains or fruits and vegetables. They can be hand made or you can buy them at the store. It is colorful and should make you happy.

Some people run an electrical cord and have lights inside. You could also use candles or flashlight. There are also battery operated lights that are fun.

This sukkah represents the tents that the Israelites lived in when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. During that time they had to move around to find food and always had to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. They were not able to build a house.

The “roof” of this structure is the most important. It is supposed to be made with palm branches just laying on the top. It is great if you can find large branches to put on top. If not, find something that you can see through. The object is to be able to see the stars through the roof of your sukkah.

Why are you supposed to see the stars? To remind you of how great God is. When you see the night sky through the roof of your tent, you should be reminded of all that God created! He has done great things for His people.

During the seven days of Sukkot you are supposed to eat meals together in this tent. You can choose to play games if you want too. Some people enjoy sleeping in theirs.

The Jewish people carry with them a “lulav.” This is a portion of a date palm, myrtle, willow and an etrog (similar to a lemon). You can Google for pictures. Each one represents a person.

• The lulav (date) has taste but no smell, symbolizing those who study Torah (the Word) but do not possess good deeds.

The hadass (myrtle) has a good smell but no taste, symbolizing those who possess good deeds but do not study Torah.

The aravah (willow) has neither taste nor smell, symbolizing those who lack both Torah and good deeds.

The etrog (citrus lemon) has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds.

God said in Zechariah 14:16 that one day “all nations of the world will one day come up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” This is the one feast that is mentioned as ALL nations will celebrate.

For those who believe in Jesus we know that He came as a baby and lived among the people. We also believe that He is coming again and will take us to the most glorious feast that we have ever eaten.

We can celebrate knowing that our Father has taken care of us and provided for us. He has given us everything. We should remind ourselves all the time of this great love He has for us.

As you spend time as a family in the sukkah – your temporary dwelling – you can look at the stars. You can read about the greatness of God in the Bible. You can be thankful for the house you live in and the food you eat. I think that will bring all of you JOY. 

Feast of Tabernacles begins this year at sundown tonight (Friday the 2nd). I pray you find a way to celebrate HIM during this time of Feasting…

Shabbat Shalom. Chag Semeach Sukkot.

Rose Horton

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash