Sukkot The Feast Of Tabernacles Explained
Sukkot aka. Tabernacles or Booths
Vayikra (Leviticus) 22:26-23:44
Prophetically speaking, Sukkot is more significant than then the other feasts. In the future, it will be mandatory for all the nations that war against Yerushalayim to go to Yerushalayim during the festival of Sukkot to worship the King. All nations that warred against Yerushalayim and refuse to go to Yerushalayim during Sukkot will be punished. Z'kharyah 14:16-19 in The Complete Jewish Bible states “Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot. If any of the families of the earth does not go up to Yerushalayim to worship the king, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, no rain will fall on them. If the family of Egypt doesn't go up, if they refuse to come, they will have no [annual] overflow [from the Nile]; moreover, there will be the plague with which ADONAI will strike the nations that don't go up to keep the festival of Sukkot. This will be Egypt's punishment and the punishment of all the nations that don't go up to keep the festival of Sukkot.” No other festival specifically requires nations other than the nation Yisrael, to go up to Yerushalayim. However, Sukkot is not like any other festival. Sukkot represents HaShem dwelling in the midst of His people. Unlike the other feasts, Sukkot does not represent one specific time that HaShem provided for Yisrael. Sukkot is a representation of all the miracles HaShem has provided for His people. Therefore, the festival of Sukkot, reminds us that in the past, present, and future HaShem miraculously provides for His people.
One of the past miracles that Sukkot reminds us of is Noah's deliverance from the flood. B'reisheet 8:3-4 states “the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. The ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” The ark came to rest on the third day of Sukkot since the first day of Sukkot is the fifteenth day as Vayikra 23:34 states “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” Therefore, Sukkot is a reminder of the deliverance HaShem provided for Noach and his family. Sukkot also reminds us of HaShem's deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Vayikra 23:42-43 states “You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born, shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” When the Children of Yisrael left Egypt, the first place they were led is Sukkot. Shemot 12:37 states “the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.” It is also at Sukkot that the Children of Yisrael made their first encampment as free individuals. Bamidbar 33:5 states “the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.” Sukkot is the first place that the Children of Yisrael dwelled, as free individuals. Therefore, dwelling in temporary structures during Sukkot reminds us of the miracle HaShem wrought for our freedom from bondage.
Sukkot is also a reminder of the miracles HaShem provides daily. During the festival of Sukkot, we are to be thankful for the Land HaShem promised the descendants of Avraham. To display our gratitude we are commanded to collect four native species of flora and use the four species to rejoice before the presence of HaShem. Vayikra 23:40 states “you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.” The use of native vegetation reminds us that daily HaShem provides miracles for the survival and sustenance of the Land of Yisrael. During Sukkot, we are also reminded that HaShem provides the daily needs of individuals. Devarim 16:13-15 states “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.” Rejoicing in the presence of HaShem with our increase, reminds us that HaShem is our sustenance and provider. Sukkot also reminds us that HaShem provides for our spiritual needs as well. At the end of the seventh year and the beginning of the eighth year during the feast of Sukkot the Torah is publicly read. Devarim 31:10-11 states “Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.” The public reading of the Torah reminds us that HaShem blessed the Nation of Yisrael with the Torah, so that we would not become like the other nations. The festival of Sukkot reaffirms the daily miracles HaShem is providing for the welfare of the land, our physical needs, and our spiritual growth.
Vayikra 23:41-43 statesyou shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.Keeping the feast of Sukkot perpetually through out all our generations reminds us that as HaShem provided protection for our ancestors and will provide protection for our descendants. As a result, we can be assured that HaShem will hold the enemies of His people accountable. Z'kharyah 14:16 of The Complete Jewish Bible states "Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot." The feast of Sukkot gives Yisrael the hope that HaShem will continue to provide miraculously for His people in the future.
Sukkot is the one feast that exemplifies the past, present, and future miracles of HaShem. As we celebrate this festival let us, rejoice in the Knowledge that HaShem never slumbers nor sleeps and His miracles are present whenever the need arises.
By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ABOUT Torah© 2011 About Torah