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