Weekly Torah Commentary – Shabbat Succot October 21, 2016

Leviticus 22:26-23:44

Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals.  Like Passover) and the Feast of Weeks / Pentecost, Sukkot has a triple significance: Commemoration of our past, celebration of our present and faith in our future, when all the festivals will be fully realized for us and for all the nations of the world in the End of Days.

The Past: Living in a Sukkah

Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were traveling in the desert, living in temporary shelters.  At that time, they were sheltered from the burning sun by the cloud of God’s glory overhead.  The LORD’s glory clouds surrounded them like walls as well, protecting them from danger, and these clouds formed a nation-wide sukkah.

The Present: Building a Sukkah

Ever since those days, we remember God’s kindness and reaffirm our faith by constructing and dwelling in a ‘sukkah’ – a temporary three walled dwelling – for the duration of the seven days and nights.  We eat all our meals in the sukkah, invite guests to it and treat it as our home. Some even sleep in it, weather permitting.  Agriculturally, Sukkot is a festival celebrating the end of the harvest season, and Scriptural passages read on Sukkot typically have recurring themes of water, dew and rain.

The Future: The Nations Dwelling in Sukkot

Prophetically, the season of Sukkot is associated with the Messianic Kingdom, the time of resurrection (Isaiah 26:19, Ezekiel 37:1-14) and the great day we await when all the nations will be required to go up to Jerusalem to keep the festival of Sukkot, under penalty of rain being withheld from them (Zechariah 14:16-17).  At that time, God will come to us like the rain (Hosea 6:3), and will “tabernacle” among His people again (Leviticus 26:6, Ezekiel 37:27).

What a great day that will be!

“…and Hashem will be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one God, and His name will be one … and it will come to pass, that every one who is left [alive] of all the nations which came against Jerusalem [in battle] will go up from year to year to worship the King, Hashem of hosts, and to keep the feast of Sukkot.Moreover it will be, that whoever chooses not to come up (of all the families of the earth) to Jerusalem to worship the King, Hashem of hosts, then upon them there will be no rain.Additionally, if the family of Egypt does not ascend, and do not come, then upon whom there is no rain; there shall [also] be the plague with which Hashem will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of Sukkot.This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the sin of all the nations that choose not to come up to keep the festival of Sukkot…”

— Zechariah 14:9; 16-19

“… For the earth will be brimming full with the knowledge of the glory of Hashem in the same way that the waters cover the sea…”

— Habakkuk 2:14

May this Shabbat be filled with His presence in your home and may we all see the fulfillment of Zechariah 14 in our day.

Shabbat Shalom!
NOTE:  On Monday, the last day of Succot, we will read the very last verses of Deuteronomy followed by the first verses of Genesis, as the Jewish people worldwide continue the annual cycle of reviewing all of the Torah every year.  On this blog, we have studied the Torah portions for seven years now but not focused at all on the Haftorah which is also read every week.  The Haftorah is a reading from the Prophets or the Writings – in other words, from the other books in the Tanach (Old Testament), all of which have profound messages relevant to us.
Therefore, for this coming year, I will be posting commentary on the Haftorah portions and I trust you will find it both enlightening and inspirational.

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