In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Sukkot & Ecclesiastes: The Vapor Until Eternity 5778
A major theme of Kohelet is the futility of mundane pursuits and pleasures, and the search for deeper meaning to life. Sukkot is also known as Chag ha-Asif—the Festival of Ingathering. It’s the time of year when the harvest has ended, and the crops are gathered and stored for the coming year. It’s a moment of great satisfaction, as one can see the fruits of his labor before him. Kohelet shakes our contentment with the reminder that mundane accomplishments are fleeting and empty. Even at the close of the harvest, we must seek real achievement and fulfillment. Sukkot itself demonstrates this theme by the commandment to live in temporary dwellings. We move outside our home, which provides a sense of permanence and comfort, and instead dwell in a flimsy hut. This recalls the transience of physicality, as does the book of Kohelet. -Malkie Janowskui, chabad.org
Devarim 16;12“You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. 13“You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat; 1 and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. 15 “Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
Like the humble and transitory huts we built when we left Egypt, the sukkah we build at this festival reminds us that our freedom to worship Hashem is our wealth, and that even if we live in temporary structures our joy can be complete. For seven days the Almighty asks us to put away the comforts of our normal dwellings; to gather together in a humble sukkah; and to eat, drink, and enjoy the company of family and friends. He does this to remind us of the real nature of joy. Apart from such reminders, we might be persuaded that our material possessions, our position in life, along with the host of other good things are more important than our relationship with God, family, and friends. – Tim Hegg
Sukkoth takes place in the Fall, so that it doesn’t appear as if this is for us. That’s why not in spring, spring its nice to camp outside. It should be interesting and intriguing to our friends and neighbors, it should foster learning and questions (growth). It should be clear that we are not doing this thing for our own pleasure (although immense gifting and pleasure transpires during Sukkot), but for the sake of Shema- obediently listening, and Avodah- worship in lovingly performing Hashem’s commandments because He said so.
This is all about Hashem .
The Gemara says that in the end of times Hashem will give all the nations the commandment of Sukkah- when it gets extremely hot…they will abandon the sukkah. They won’t just leave the Sukkah they will curse and kick it over…despising the commandment- who needs it? What do you think the lesson behind this statement from Jewish writings could be?
(Those who have set themselves outside the Torah intentionally tend to show irreverence and even a tone of mocking toward Hashem’s commandments and those who Shamar/guard them. Additionally it is to show the difference between those who love the Commandment and those who have made themselves unattached. Anyone who has taken part, heart-fully in Sukkoth knows that if it rains or becomes unbearable you are exempt and commanded to leave the Sukkah. When one must do this…it is devastating, we cry when a need arises to refrain from Sukkah. We are deeply disappointed, we certainly don’t feel relief, and could never think about abandoning the mitzvah…we pray for at least one hour of Sukkah, not kicking it. We love deeply the Sukkah.- Let us learn a little about why, and how this love comes upon us.)
Tale of the magician’s visit and the children who saved Sukkot- the entire town was busy preparing for the appointed time of Sukkot, carefully and happily engaged in their work. A magician came into the center of town where he expected to sell his tonic’s and wares with ease. Only, no one stopped even to take a look. They were completely engaged in their blessed task. The children all went out to the forest to gather branches for their S’kach (Sukkah ‘roof’). The magician took out a sack filled with intoxicating flowers which he shook out into the air, they carried with them a strange and pleasant aroma which when breathed in would cause a person to forget all about the commandments of Hashem, including those of Sukkot. (Bitter as he was that the people had cared much more about Sukkot than even to glance at him twice, it was bad for business.) The adults were all affected and they immediately stopped everything they were doing. When the children returned they were left to take up the tasks that the adults had abandoned. They pieced together from memory all the necessary work to fulfill the Sukkoth commandments- finishing the Sukkah and decorating it, preparing a meal to share, binding together the four species. When the sun went down they began to recite the blessings and as they did the heavens opened up and a strong wind blew through the town, ‘washing’ away any trace of the intoxicating flowers and their effects. Suddenly the adults all gathered into the Sukkah, remembering everything once more. From that time on it was a child who nailed in the last board on the Sukkah, a child who made the bracha (blessing) over the Kiddish wine, a child who was first to wave the Lulav…in honor of the day when the faithful children who remembered the mitzvoth saved Sukkot.
- This tale is a picture of two kinds of mindsets. Those who become intoxicated with the pleasant aroma the world has to offer and who forget that it takes dedication to guard Hashem’s commandments. The adults, upon seeing the children building an old hut, binding together plants in a strange way, perceived the children’s working on the mitzvoth were nonsense. The children however being enabled to remember their significance weren’t effected by the notion that it was all nonsense. They remembered and preserved- they saved Sukkot. This is indeed what we do when we live our lives as a testimony to the commandments by living them out and sharing them with our children. By pursing them with joy and heart we do much more than teach, we become living witnesses. Sometimes I think that those who have detached themselves from the commandments look at their performance as interesting, cute, or on the other hand perplexing, irrelevant or (chas v’shalom- God forbid) to be nonsensical. We can learn from the tale of these children who busied themselves with faithfully filling out the work of Hashem, even when their leaders and elders forgot what was important.
None of the patriarchs lived in a house.
You do not need great
buildings of stone
to find God.
The following fascinating sets of verses and the way they are set together…I believe may be meant to show us that Hashem is evident throughout all our journey’s. There is a more concrete place where His Shkinah can be found. At the same time, He shelters and leads with that presence in our lives ALL the way.
Sh’mot 40:33 He erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; 37 but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. 38 For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.
2 Samuel 7;1Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you.” 4 But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, 5“Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? 6“For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. 7“Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ 8“Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. 9“I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. 10 “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, 11even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.
The House -The Holy Temple’s were destroyed- Why wasn’t the mishkan destroyed?
Because it was built from the heart. ❤
(Shlomo spent several more years FIRST building his own house than he did on the Holy Temple. The second temple became an extravagance beyond what was at first planned. It is even named for Herod who was not even a Jewish King.)
- Sh’mot 35; 20 Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence. 21Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. 22 Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came…
One interpretation: ‘I was happy with a tent- the Mishkan- I was pleased to Tabernacle.’
This is what a tent was for. Closeness, intimacy, movement along the journey.
Sukkot- is a picture of the Millennium.
(Shemittah- Jerusalem the Torah going forth, people assembled to learn Torah)
- Yeshayahu 2; 3 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. 3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the Torah will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
- Micah 4;1And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the Torah, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
- Devarim 31; 10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, 11when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this Torah in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12“Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this Torah.
Sukkot- is about Celebrating all the time…
We are not living in houses, we are living in Tabernacles because it combines the temporary with the permanent. We will stream to be there Jerusalem with the Temple but we will be dwelling in Sukkot. This is a picture of The Temporary and The Eternal coming together. When Earth and Heaven come together. When God and Man come together. When The Journey of the wilderness and the Promised Land come together and that will be during the Millennium. What we do now when we observe (shamar/guard) Sukkot is that we choose to reside in Shadow – the closest you get to heaven before heaven comes. Just as a Hebrew marriage takes 7 days, and the Chuppah is a temporary symbol of the marriage to come (this is like the Sukkah), at the end of that seven days you leave the Sukkah to enter the house- the marriage….Eternity. (Earth created to exist for 6,000 years, the 7 thousandth year is the Millennial Kingdom and then 8th day speaks of eternity.) The Sukkah- The Kingdom for 1,000 years dwelling in a heavenly Kingdom here on earth and after that is heaven itself…
- Matthew 8; 5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came and pleaded with Him, 6“Lord, my servant lies at home, paralyzed and in terrible agony.” 7 “I will go and heal him,” Yeshua replied. 8The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell one to go, and he goes; and another to come, and he comes. I tell my servant to do something, and he does it.” 10 When Yeshua heard this, He marveled and said to those following Him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”13 Then Yeshua said to the centurion, “Go! As you have believed, so will it be done for you.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
Sukkot- when it is regarded & expected & awaited & believed in with all heart becomes the closest to heavenly life. Even the tradition of welcoming in the Ushpizin (the guests), the Holy Tsaddikim is pointing to the notion of Sukkoth being a picture of the Millennial Age and Heaven.
Sukkoth – speaks of the Age of the Messiah.
Sukkoth is the Last Feast of the biblical year, it indeed speaks of the Last Days and Consummation of the Age. Sukkoth pictures the return from exile, the ingathering of the Jewish people to their homeland.The rebirth of Israel has everything to do with the Messianic age, Israel has an appointment to keep…coming to Jerusalem for Sukkot is for the purpose of meeting Hashem.
Sukkoth- speaks of the harvest.
Gathering in the fruit. The Messianic Age is one of fruitfulness in the land. We see that Israel has become a land which flourishes with actual fruit. This we see before our eyes, a Wilderness bearing fruit. The ultimate fruit will be when the Messiah is recognized and accepted (& partaken of). When Israel says “yes” to the Messiah- this is when the healing will come ( chk verse….tree giving life, water from the temple…)
Sukkoth speaks of coming together. The ingathering at the end of the Year, the ingathering at the end of the Age.
- Yechezkiel 47; 12 “By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.“
- Revelation 22; 1Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him.
- Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (ekklesiais). To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God.
- Mishlei 3;1My son, do not forget my teaching (Torah), But let your heart keep my commandments (mitsvot)…8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones…18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.
Hashem is taking all the broken off pieces (branches) and ASSEMBLING them, from death, from exile. This is like dry bones coming together. Even the four plant species of Sukkot (each from different types of trees, each representing different kinds of believers) represent man’s bones.
- Tehillim 35;9 And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; It shall exult in His salvation. 10 All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, and the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”
- Tehillim 51;7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.9 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.11Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.
When believers are coming together, assembling, being gathered together as the 4 species come together to unify the testimony which we declare when heartfully performing these commandments…and they are “shaken” (as if to call hearts from every corner to Hashem) toward the East, West, North, South, earthward and heavenward…these trees (and the people who hold them together) bear testimony that God is sovereign over all the winds….and all the realms.
Sukkoth- is about redemption.
God takes the tears of Israel and redeems them. Even trees are planted in Israel in honor of the departed. Tree’s planted! Redemption! Water and spirit are poured out in the end times.
On the 8th day of the Feast…Hoshana Rabbah…the water libation, water and blood (of grapes-wine) is mixed and poured out on the altar. We pray for rain, for life. In the end times there will be great immorality but also day’s of the Spirit being poured out on all flesh.
- Habakuk 2;13 “Is it not indeed from the LORD of hosts that peoples toil for fire, and nations grow weary for nothing? 14″For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
- Acts 2;17‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people; your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Sukkot is about Testimony-
Everything God says
He will fulfill.
Everything God said has happened,
or is inline to happen.
Israel’s existence and her devotion to shamar (guarding) of His Torah in the Land is testimony of this fulfillment. The controversy in the world still centers around Jerusalem.
IN THE END YOU WILL REJOICE. There will be dancing and singing in the streets.
- John 16;21A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask Me anything.
- Zechariah 8; 4“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. 5‘And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’ 6 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the LORD of hosts. 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; 8 and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’
Kehillah/ Assembly (corresponds to Ekklesia– ‘Church’) הַקְהֵ֣ל Hakehel (sounds like Koheles) – to call together, to be gathered together.
This command comes at Sukkot- in the Shemittah at Sukkot the KING IS TO ASSEMBLE THE PEOPLE AT JERUSALEM AND TEACH THEM TORAH.
The tradition is to read Koheles (Ecclesiastes) at the time of Sukkot. Let us investigate, why?
The book we are to read at Z’man Simchateinu “The Time of our Rejoicing” begins as follows:
Koheles 1;2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
(appearing 38 times in sefer Koheles) The word Hevel, is often translated in this book in the following ways- vanity, meaningless, empty, pointless, futile, purposeless…
all of which are wrong.
#1891 (v) haval הָבַל – to breathe, to exhale, to act or speak vainly, to have a vain hope.
- The first context of this shoresh is found in 2 Kings 17;13 Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the Torah which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain הַהֶ֙בֶל֙ וַיֶּהְבָּ֔לוּ, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.
#1892 Hevel הֶבֶל – vanity, darkness, breath, breathing, breath of the mouth, exhalation, shallow breath, fleeting breath, a VAPOR, MIST.
- 1st and only occurrence in the Torah: Devarim 32:21 ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation…
If we read this Sefer sowing the word Vapor (as in something temporary, passing, here and then gone) then we will begin to grasp that all of the things this “man who had it all” taught about are temporary and fleeting, though they often appear to us as though they are not, or nwe pretend that they are not, we spend all or most of our time trying to collect these fleeting things so we can be happy. By reading these inspired words we are called again to the realization that a great many things in life are of a fleeting nature, and that we must recognize and appreciate those things that bring the greatest joy and are more permanent. The time spent in the Temporary Tabernacle with Hashem taps us into this REALITY:
Where Hashem and I connect-
This is Reality,
This is Treasure,
This is Home.
We may think that ‘I am the greatest, richest, built the temple, fame & wisdom accumulated…’ but we all die in the end, and what does it mean? The whole of life is a mere breath. Kohelet is the sustained exploration of mortality.
The Hebrew Words Related to The Soul: nephesh, ruach, neshamah- all have to do with breathing.
ר֫וּחַ Ruach- Spirit; נָ֫פֶשׁ nephesh- Soul, living being; נְשָׁמָה neshamah- Soul or Spirit, breath, gasp, pant.
Koheles is speaking about how we cannot escape death. Who was the first human being who died?
#1893 (Proper Masc. Noun) Hevel הֶבֶל. B’reshit 4;1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten קָנִ֥יתִי a manchild with the help of the LORD.” 2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Hevel. And Hevel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Hevel, who was killed by Cayin, whose name means…. I have acquired a man by God.
Kaniti…only appearing 6 times in Tanakh. Koheles is speaking about the “vapor” in acquiring.
Koheles 2;7 I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure (segullah- rarely occurring, only 4 times in Torah, only in reference to the Children of Israel being considered as a Rare Treasure to Hashem) of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines. 9 Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind (ruach- a breath…) and there was no profit under the sun. 12 So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15 Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind (ruach- a breath…). 18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity. 24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? 26 For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind (ruach- a breath…).
Cain and Hevel is the account of the drama of the attempt to beat death- by THINGS that will live on, Koheles realizes this cannot be done by our acquiring.
# 7069 (v) kana קָנָה- to found, create, acquire, obtain, to possess, to buy.
#7469 (masc. n) ruwt רְעוּת -longing, striving, desire or study ( or any thing)
# 3664 (v) kanas כָּנַס – to gather together, to hide, to hide oneself away, wrap oneself up.
# 3254 (v) yasaf יָסַף – to add, to increase, to do more, additions, increases.
# 5998 (v) amal עָמַל – to toil. # 5999 (masc./fem n) amal עָמָל – wearisome labor, produce of labor, weariness, trouble, vexation, sin, wickedness.
Koheles is not saying that working, loving, learning, and enjoying the physical pleasures of this world are meaningless. But the good with the bad…they are both fleeting, like a vapor, here and gone and thus temporary. Therefore when something positive transpires it should be greatly appreciated and rejoiced in, thanking Hashem and growing in appreciation and love. So too for the difficult and negative experiences, we can take comfort and even find joy in struggle because these too are passing and will come to an end. But our appreciation and joy in Hashem…this is how we “beat death”, sorrow, desperation, depression. Humbling understanding that all we can do is try to live for Him.
The feast of Sukkot is a deep lesson about the importance of taking time to reconnect with the Lasting. The Unchanging. The Eternal. Eternity, Earth as it should be, Heavenly…and we do this by facing the temporal and passing. Knowing our comforts in life CAN be lived without and that some of the greatest pleasure is derived in a quiet moment of connection with the Master of the Universe, learning to trust Him in love- There is nothing of more value, and it cannot be found or bought under the “usual” or comfortable conditions.
The first night of Sukkot is bright, alight with a full moon, as the feast continues and the days and nights pass, there is an increased sense of significance and affection. But the moon wanes and once faces the notion that the feast will indeed come to a close. The last and “great day” of the Feast is known as Hosanna Raba. It is the culmination of this entire season. It is at this time, with great pomp and the “greatest delight of the entire year” that a procession would come with song, music, dance, praise making their way from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam where living water would be taken back up to the Temple Altar and poured out along with a wine libation.
- John 7; 37On the last and greatest day of the feast, Yeshua stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 To the one who believes in Me, it is just as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” 39 He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.40 On hearing these words, some of the people said, “This is truly the Prophet.” 41Others declared, “This is the Messiah.”
Yeshua stood up and declared that everything the people had been experiencing in their lives, all of their needs, namely the water (the spirit, the breath that sustains life) would not only be provided through Him but it would come from their trust (learned at Sukkot) and brought to mind by their testimony (remembering His Torah by keeping these Feasts and fostering this witness and remembrance yearly). Yeshua, on this day, during this season is telling us about coming to the well (Him) from which life now, and eternal life is created and sustained. And when we do come what are we to come with?!! Joy! It is this joy that Koheles is teaching us about at Sukkot. The joy that will transcend all time, every THING we can ever think we need, every hardship…the joy because we know what lasts: הַיְשׁוּעָֽה
- Yeshayahu 12;1Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” 3Therefore you will שָׂשׂוֹן joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” 5 Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. 6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
You can draw water with JOY from the SPRINGS of YESHUA. Of Salvation.
To find salvation, the DEPTHS of salvation you have to DRAW FROM THE DEEP.
Deep into your heart, deep into the heart of God, deep into Salvation…
and we do it with Joy.
This is the feast of Dwelling, this is the feast of Joy.
The heart is only satisfied
when it is satisfied from Hashem.
This is what Sukkoth is about. Being satisfied and delighted only in Him.
Tehillim 46; 10 “Cease and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Be still (dwell) and (then) you will KNOW that I am God.
Heaven is where He is!
Heaven is where you are,
He will make your life heavenly.
The thoughts of Shlomo HaMelech speak to every generation, ours is in particular need of it. Our schedules have become so full that we savor even a moment of time in which we can enjoy a rare minute of silent reflection. It is our relationships within family and community that suffer the most in such a fast paced society. We fail to take the time to simply sit, eat, and enjoy the greatest gift of all—friendship. God knows we need Sukkot! Seven days to rejoice before Him. Notice well that this rejoicing is coupled with dwelling in the sukkah. Our joy is not first and foremost in the beauty of the Temple, or even in the wonderful ceremonies carried out by the Kohanim, the rejoicing of Sukkot is done in the Sukkah because it is there we gather with our families and friends, there we reconnect to the ground zero of our joy—the important people God has put into our lives.
“Vapor of vapors,” says the Preacher, “Thinnest of vapors! All is a vapor.” (1:2)
“Vapor of vapors,” says the Preacher, “all is a vapor!” (12:8)
The book of Koheles begins and ends with “bookends” and inside are the journey of striving to beat death, to leave a legacy, to acquire and to become accomplished. From the man who experienced everything we are told then, “The Moral” of the story of Life and this journey we are all on:
Koheles 12; 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Koheles is really about joy. Joy- simcha…our lives in the moment.
Not saying ‘am I happy about life as a whole…’
but rather, holding “eternity in an hour” the “power of now”.
Koheles understood that defeating “death” means rejoicing in today, not worrying about tomorrow.
Living in the moment,
living in joy, living in family…
rejoicing and thanking God for NOW.
To solve the problem we have striving to “defeat death” and securing a legacy…
we go out to dwell in a rackety old (temporary) structure….
open to the wind, the rain, the cold and the storm, and you rejoice.
In this life, when the wind blows, when the storms rage, when our hearts shiver…
be still, and know He is even revealing Himself therein.
Finding joy in EVERY moment with Hashem- defeats death (sorrow, doubt, self).
May you be abundantly filled and blessed. May each day from this point forward be intent and in focus…taking the light, the lessons, the GIFTS, the great simcha, the joy which came down into the Sukkah from Shamayim (Heaven) into your hands and into your hearts…may you take it all into your life and this new year and new cycle and spread it throughout these days until we come again to Tabernacle with Him. May each day be made into a sanctuary, a Mishkan, a temporary dwelling for His worship to be made known and to become a powerful testimony that all that is good and lasting originates and remains in Him. Thank you for sharing these sacred appointments with me, may your life be filled with as much joy as it can physically and spiritually maximally contain.
Mirjam, this is once more in your memory and honor. You came with me in the Sukkah and you’re with me everyday. I love and miss you so very much.
Resources: Much of this entry was learned from Rabbi Kahn, Jonathan Kahn, Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Tim Hegg and more. See Homepage and My Resources entry for a complete list.