A sukkah in the parking lot. Ashdod, Israel.
Yesterday Baruch and I went to Jerusalem, where we had a few meetings. I was hoping to capture some photos of elaborate sukkahs, but it was very crowded and I didn’t really have the opportunity to walk through neighborhoods. As this is one of the three holidays where it is commanded to go up to Jerusalem, the city is the epicenter for Jewish people around the world to visit at this time.
This was also the day that the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem held their yearly Jerusalem March. Each year, people from all over the world come to march in solidarity with Israel. These are primarily Gentiles who want to show their love and support for the people here. It is quite a testimony and it is appreciated by a large segment of Israelis. People carry flags from their own country to give out as well as candy for the children along the way. It is very encouraging to see so many Charedi families come out to the event.
Please find below a short commentary below by Baruch for this week’s Torah reading, which is Chol HaMoed Sukkot.
Although there are many aspects to the Feast of Tabernacles, a primary one is to demonstrate dependence upon HaShem. This was the major lesson that G-d wanted to teach the people during the forty years in the wilderness. It was very clear that the faithless generation died in the wilderness and only those who trusted in the redeeming G-d entered into the Promise Land. When Israel did not demonstrate this faith and dependence upon G-d, the people went into exile. Despite what some teach today, exile did not end Israel’s relationship with HaShem; rather it was for the purpose of healing this relationship and maturing Israel to become G-d’s faithful servants.
A very critical chapter in the New Covenant is John 6. This chapter contains some of Yeshua’s most difficult teachings— the type of teachings that require a great amount of faith and dependence upon G-d. It is not a coincidence that in this section Yeshua spoke about Israel’s time in the wilderness. Yeshua taught about the Manna and how without it Israel would not have survived. Yeshua compares Himself to this Manna and that in the same way it was absolutely necessary to partake of the Manna to live, so too must one receive Yeshua to find life in the Kingdom.
It is very significant that in this chapter when Yeshua speaks about receiving Him, He says,
“‘Amen Amem I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in you.” John 6:53
Please notice the emphasis on the word eat. This is not the common Biblical word for eating; rather, it relates more to an animal eating. According to Jewish culture, eating is more in regard to fellowship, while animals eat because of the necessity to survive. Yeshua chose this Biblical word to teach that without receiving Him one will not survive spiritually (or physically).
The Children of Israel observed the Feast of Tabernacles to remember their dependence upon G-d. Why not celebrate this Festival remembering the True Manna, the Bread of Life, Yeshua the Messiah and our absolute need to trust Him and depend upon Him for all things.