Parashat Chol HaMoed Succot (Feast of Tabernacles)
Torah Reading: Exodus 33:12-34:26
Maftir: Numbers 29:20-22
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16
This Shabbat is the Shabbat during the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot). This holiday period has great significance in regard to the Kingdom. Jewish tradition associates the entrance into a succah (booth) like the entrance into the Kingdom of G-d. Most of you who hear this would take great exception to such a statement. Nearly anyone can walk into a succah, while only those who are believers in the Gospel of Messiah Yeshua will enter into the Kingdom. This represents a big difference. You are right. The point is that not just anyone who walks into a succah will be in the Kingdom; rather the message is that one should enter into a succah recognizing his or her absolute dependence on G-d’s grace. The succah was a temporary structure and represented one’s life in this world. In the same way that the succah was really insufficient for the forty years in the wilderness, but in the same way that one’s clothes and shoes did not wear out, so too did HaShem cause the succah to last until it was time to enter into the Land of Promise. This was a result of the grace of G-d and only afforded to those who trusted and recognized their dependence upon G-d.
It is very appropriate for followers of Messiah Yeshua to build a succah for the Feast of Tabernacles. Please note that it is impossible today to make the required sacrifices that the Torah demanded for the Feast of Tabernacles without a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. For the sake of this article, let us set aside the question of whether one should make such offerings even if there were today a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. Also, one should be aware that the only place that one could observe this Festival was in Jerusalem. My message to you is that despite all the impossibilities of observing the Festival as the Scripture instructed, one can have a great spiritual experience building a succah52 and studying the Biblical truth surrounding this Festival and applying this truth to one’s life. Being unaware of the Scriptural truth concerning this Festival or any of the Biblical Festivals makes it more difficult to understand the Biblical Yeshua. For example, understanding the Feast of Tabernacles provides the reader with greater insight into John chapters 6-7.
Marking the Feast of Succot and exploring its message can assist one in being prepared for life in the Kingdom. Recently I spoke to a Christian leader who called such Festivals unfitting for New Covenant believers and tied to legalism. This conversation took place as he was discussing with his staff his church’s observance for October 31st. I asked him why they were having a special event on that date. He responded because of Halloween. We want to give our children an alternative. I came to find that this alternative was dressing in “appropriate” costumes and eating candy and a party with Christian music. I remarked, why not teach your children and adults about a Biblical Festival that Yeshua observed and how the New Covenant relates it to a particular time in Yeshua’s life? Why not teach them about an observance that all those in the Millennial Kingdom will observe with Yeshua (See Zechariah chapter 14)? His response was again that I am legalistic and tied to the old and they have the freedom to do as they please.
Sometimes speaking to brothers and sisters in the L-rd can be frustrating.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag S’meach!