The Festival of Booths
Begins 9/29/2023 @ sundown
Ends 10/7/2023 @ sundown
“Perform the Festival of Booths for seven days after the ingathering from your threshing-floor and from your winepress, and you shall rejoice in your festival, you and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Lewite, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates. For seven days you shall observe a festival to יהוה [YAHUAH] your Elohim in the place which יהוה chooses, because יהוה your Elohim does bless you in all your increase and in all the work of your hands, and you shall be only rejoicing!"
YAHUAH has forgiven us,
now let's rejoice with our Sovereign
and give Him thanks!
Sukkot is a seven-day festival that YAHUAH commanded us to keep every year in the fall, at the close of the harvest season.
It is connected with Shemini Atzeret, the closing festival on the eighth day. On the first day and the eighth day, we have a set-apart gathering and we do no work (a Sabbath).
(33) And יהוה [YAHUAH] spoke to Mosheh, saying,
(34) “Speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to יהוה.
(35) ‘On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.
(36) ‘For seven days you bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. On the eighth day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. It is a closing festival, you do no servile work.
What Do We Do?
The main mitzvot (commandments) that we're supposed to do during Sukkot are:
Build and "dwell" in a sukkah
Rejoice before YAHUAH with fruit, branches, and leaves
What's a Sukkah?
A sukkah is a temporary dwelling. It's what the children of Yisrael dwelled in during their 40-year journey through the wilderness. Hence, the name of the festival: sukkot! [sukkah is singular, sukkot is plural]
Why Dwell in a Sukkah?
YAH commands us to build and dwell in a sukkah in remembrance of the wilderness journey.
When we dwell in the sukkah, we are reminded that just as YAHUAH cared for, provided for, and protected the children of Yisrael each and every day for forty years - in the middle of a desert, no less - so too He provides for and protects us, each and every day of our lives.
What about the Branches?
The leaves and branches represent all that the earth brings forth. YAHUAH brings forth food from the earth to nourish all that lives.
When we wave the branches, we thank YAH for sustaining us and supporting us and providing all that we need to live, and we pray and ask Him to continue providing and meeting all our needs.
Ruth & Mika'el in the sukkah
(39) ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you gather in the fruit of the land, observe the festival of יהוה for seven days. On the first day is a rest, and on the eighth day a rest.
(40) ‘And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of good trees, branches of palm trees, twigs of leafy trees, and willows of the stream, and shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim for seven days.
(41) ‘And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה for seven days in the year – a law forever in your generations. Observe it in the seventh month.
(42) ‘Dwell in booths for seven days; all who are native Yisra’elites dwell in booths,
(43) so that your generations know that I made the children of Yisra’el dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה your Elohim.’ ”
For Yisra'el & the World
Sukkot is a celebration that is significant to both Yisrael and the whole world.
For us - Yisrael - Sukkot is the culmination of a national journey. It is often grouped with Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Festival of Weeks). These three together describe the most important events of our history:
At Passover, YAH delivered us from slavery in Mitsrayim (Egypt).
At Shavuot, He gave us His Torah, words to live by.
At Sukkot, He dwelled with us in the wilderness as He led us to the Promised Land.
Sukkot is a celebration of YAHUAH dwelling with us and leading us - His treasured possession - into the blessed life that He promised us!
For the world, Sukkot is also the culmination of a journey - a spiritual one.
Sukkot is the third set-apart day of the seventh month:
First is Yom Teruah, the Day of Blowing Trumpets, when the whole world is called upon to recognize and accept the sovereignty of YAHUAH.
Ten days later is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when we seek the compassion of YAH for forgiveness and atonement not just for our sins, but for the sins of the world.
Then, five days after Yom Kippur, we celebrate Sukkot, the season when we thank YAH for all His provisions to care for the entire world, and we ask Him to continue to bless and sustain all the nations and all the peoples of the earth in His ultimate kindness.
The entire world must take this spiritual journey: to first recognize the sovereignty of YAHUAH, then to seek His forgiveness, and then, when the relationship with the Sovereign is restored, YAHUAH will bless all of His creations!
YAHUAH is our Elohim and Sovereign, and He is Elohim and Sovereign over the entire world!