Feast of Tabernacles


In the end, those who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, to celebrate a time of thanksgiving (Literally, “to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles,” or “Booths.”). - Zechariah 14:16
Sukkah Booth
The Feast of Tabernacles
Image:Sukkah Booth

Picture courtesy of Shalom Kiwi

Sukkot (Hebrew: "Feast of Booths," "Feast of Tabernacles," or "Feast of the Ingathering") is a Jewish holiday taking place on the 15th day of the month of Tishri, five days after Yom Kippur (in September or October). Originally an agricultural festival meant to thank God for a successful harvest, and one of the 3 great pilgrimage festivals, to remind Jews of the 40 years God provided for them in the wilderness. Sukkot is a joyous 7 to 8 day celebration with a wide variety of accompanying traditions. Today is the 2nd day of Sukkot, sunset tonight the 3rd day of Sukkot will begin. The holiday lasts for a week but the first two days are considered the most Holy, and most Jews will take these two days off work like on Shabbat (Sabbath), most forms of work are to be avoided as a show of reverence to God. Instead time is spent in prayer and celebrating with family. On the first 2 days special prayers are said and the Hallel is recited (Psalm 113-118). The sukkah (small hut or tent) represents both the dwellings that ancient farmers would live in during the harvest months and also the temporary dwellings (tents) used by Moses and the Israelites as they wandered in the desert for 40 years. So camping for a week in the backyard although you don't have to sleep in it.

The observers of the holiday ritually wave a collection of branches, including the lulav and the etrog in all directions. A lulav is a bouquet made from a single palm leaf, two willow branches and three myrtle branches, held together by woven leaves. An etrog is a citron, a lemon-like fruit grown in Israel. Here in New Zealand I think God would give us some leeway and substitutes would be totally acceptable (a lemon instead of a etrog). The most important thing to remember is to have fun camping out with your family and having stories, round a campfire in the evening, especailly ones about Israel's 40 years in the wilderness and the reasons why Christians should also celebrate Sukkot. See the video today on our facebook page.

Sukkot is a joyous holiday and a time of great celebration for all Jews! In fact, Sukkot is so closely associated with happy emotions that traditional sources often call it Z'man Simchateinu (Hebrew:"the Season of our Rejoicing"). For the 7 days of Sukkot, Jews are encouraged to celebrate God's role in their lives and rejoice in the good fortune of the past year. Sukkot should be a happy time spent with your friends and family, so let go of any negative thoughts or feelings at this time. Be upbeat, positive, and thankful to God for the entire week. But not just Jews are now celebrating Sukkot; annually since the 1970's thousands of people from all nations have marched in a Parade of Nations for Sukkot - sponsored by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, showing Christian support and love for Israel. Last year and this year I don't know if it happened due to the plague (Covid) but, "Next year in Jerusalem!"