Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reflections on the High Holy Days - Part 3 of 3

Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is a time of joy and happiness as we eat our meals outside, sing, dance, and reflect on the blessings of being His children.  It is my favorite time of year.

In Leviticus 23:33 - 44, The L-rd commands us to observe this Feast in remembrance of  the wilderness experience of the children of Israel.  Sukkot in Hebrew means "booths".   During this Feast, we reflect on the 40 year journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Most people think they lived in tents during the journey, but actually, they built shelters of tree trunks and branches, called booths.

Today, it is customary to build a sukkah in the back yard, to decorate it with fruits and vegetables, and then to dwell in it for seven days. We (the Goldens) don't live in it, but we do eat meals there in the evening.   At night, as we look through the leaves and branches above us and observe the moon and stars, we remember G-d's protection of the Israelites and are reminded it is He who provides for and protects us even today.


I'll never forget my first Sukkot, where I attended a re-enactment of the New Testament passage from  John 7. Yeshua was at the Temple in observance of  the Feast of Tabernacles.  On the last day, the kohen (priest) poured water, while praying for G-d to bless the land with rain.  As this ceremony was being performed, Yeshua stepped forward and announced, "If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drink.  Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being"  In effect, Yeshua was declaring himself to be the "Living Water".  Imagine the shock of those who heard these words.

How true these words are in the lives of those who know Him.  That blessed spring wells up and flows forth, refreshing the spirit, not only of the believer, but of those who hear and see the effect the Living Water produces in our lives.  Yeshua satisfies our thirst and gives us peace.



Another tradition of the Feast of Tabernacles each year is the waving of the lulav.  The branches of the palm, myrtle and olive are bound together with the citron.  The lulav is then waved to the north, south, east and west as a reminder of G-d's sovereignty over all the earth. He is above, below, and all around us.   He is our source, our provider in all things.  This is a wonderful reminder each year, and especially so in this time of economic uncertainty.   How thankful I am to be His child and for his provision.

This year, we celebrated my birthday along with Sukkot.  It was indeed a joyous day for me as I was blessed to celebrate with my Ma'gen Da'vid Synagogue family.  They showered me with gifts for my garden, and indulged my addiction to anything to do with birds.  I received several bird houses and a beautiful bird bath.  I thought I would share some pictures from our combined celebration this year.

The succah - decorated with palm and pine branches, fruits, vegies, and flowers.

hanging the decorations

listening to Rabbi - isn't the sunset beautiful?

some of Ma'gen Da'vid congregation in front of the succah

celebrating my birthday

Cody waving the lulav.


 




5 comments:

  1. Looks like it was a beautiful celebration. Thank you for sharing your post and so much knowledge with us.

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  2. I loved reading about this. How beautiful it all was -- celebratory!

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  3. First, happy birthday, Gail. You are a blessing! I just read about the feast of tabernacles this morning in Ezra 3! Your post is meaningful.

    One of my customer celebrated in Israel a few years ago and told me how colorful the event is. I'm refreshed in The Living Water with you!

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  4. You always do such a terrific job of explaining the deep and wide truth of G-d in easy to understand way. Lev 23 is one of my "favorite" chapters of the Bible.

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  5. What beautiful meaningful celebrations. I'm glad you shared them with us.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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