Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Sukkot: Feast of Tabernacles

There are 3 Jewish Feasts that Israel was commanded to observe: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.  Because LDS Sunday School is studying the Old Testament and because of the Lunar Eclipses (Blood Moon Tetrads) that will occur this year and next on the Jewish Feast Days, I have decided to make an observance of the Jewish Feast's this year; just for fun.

Pesach/Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread: commemorates the liberation of Israel from bondage in Egypt.  It also points to the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  (April 15-16, 2014)

Shavuot/First-Fruits/Feast of Weeks: commemorates God giving the Torah to Israel.  It also points to God giving the gift of the Holy Ghost following the ascension of Jesus Christ.  (June 4-5, 2014)

Sukkot/Ingathering/Feast of Tabernacles: commemorates Israel's dwelling in tents in the desert and being fed with manna. However, unlike the spring feasts, the fall Feast of Sukkot has not been fulfilled.  In fact, Zechariah says that all nations are to observe the Feast of Sukkot in the Last Days or be cursed with plague and receive no rain.  This feast suggests Israel will once again dwell in tents at the great Last Days Solemn Assembly at Adam-ondi-Ahmen and in Jerusalem. (Oct 9-10, 2014)

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Old Testament, Zechariah, Zechariah 14:16)

Jewish Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute explains that Sokkot is a unique commandment because it is the only mitzvah where the whole body participates.  It also is a reminder that this life is temporary and that we are to worship Hashem with our whole body: heart might mind and strength.

Rabbi Richman tells the parable of a rich traveler who stays in the home of a poor family. The rich traveler asks the poor man, "How do you live like this? Don't you have furniture?"  The poor man asks the rich traveler where is his furniture.  The rich traveler responds that he has plenty of furniture back in his own house.   The poor man then says, that he likewise has plenty of furniture in his real home in heaven. 

In addition to eating and sleeping in a booth or tent for 7 days, Sukkot also involves the waving of the Lulav or 4 kinds: Palm, myrtle, willow, citron. The waving of the 4 kinds represents the unity of Israel.  The elect are likened to the citron fruit whose tree yields fruit all year round.  

I found it very intetesting that Rabbi Richman said that the Bible likens a sweet taste with a good reason or idea and a pleasant fragrance with good works.  He says that like the willow or myrtle or palm, some people in Israel learn a lot of Torah or perform a lot of Mitzvot, while others do not.  However, the waving of the 4 kinds is a reminder that we should be focus on our unity that we are all a part of Israel and not who knows more or does more than others.

Equating a good taste with a good idea reminds me of Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon where Alma invites the Zoramites to "experiment upon the word of God" and promising them that the word would be "delicious".

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, ....  ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. (Book of Mormon, Alma, Alma 32:28)

Lastly, the final requirement in observing Sukkot is that one is to be joyful while dwelling in the Sukkot.  This suggests music (joyful noise) be a part of the week-long festivities. 

Rosh HashanaSep 25-26, 2014The Jewish New Year
Yom KippurOct 4, 2014Day of Atonement
SukkotOct 9-10, 2014
Oct 11-15, 2014
Feast of Tabernacles
Shmini AtzeretOct 16, 2014Eighth Day of Assembly


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