Inside Israel – Sukkot in Jerusalem (part 1)

Hi! Welcome to another Sunday look inside Israel, thanks to J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer. Today is part one, dated from October 12, of her heart stirring letters concerning this year’s Sukkot celebration. Thank you for joining us as we let J take it away . . .

SUKKOT – 12.11.2011
Sukkot…my favorite holiday…is ushered in this year by the dramatic announcement made last night by our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, that a deal has been struck with Hamas for the release of our captive soldier, Gilad Shalit. The whole nation watched with such a mixture of emotions. He has been captive now for more then 5 years. There are to be more then 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners released for his ransom…including more then 200 serving life sentences with ‘blood on their hands’. The Prime Minister told us that the changes in the Middle East have resulted in a sudden serious concern for Gilad’s life and they were convinced that there would be no better deal in the future. Some of the issues that cloud the joy that would be expected with such an announcement reflect the complexity of the matter. There are thousands of bereaved families that will be having their loved one’s killers released (each of the major prisoners are responsible for hundreds of dead and many more maimed). There is concern for the Gilad who is to return home…after all that he has been through…who will this be and what lies ahead for him…IF he returns home alive at all. There is concern with the compromised position that Israel has put herself in in the eyes of the terrorists, who consider this a ‘win’ for themselves and a sign of weakness on our behalf.

But in the midst of this there in not only REASON to rejoice…a son is to return home…there is also COMMAND to rejoice!

DEUT 19:13-15 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles (‘booths’, Sukkot) seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to The Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you and your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”

LEVIT 23:40-43 “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of date palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.”

Sidewalks, yards, rooftops and balconies are all clothed with a wide assortment of sukkas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and bring with them an inherent sense of joy. Somehow, just looking at them makes me want to smile. Some are like little wooden play houses made of wood with palm branch roofs standing on the side walk.

As I walk by I can hear people setting up house inside. Others, like ours, are more tent like with cloth walls. Our clothes line becomes the ‘foundation’ for our palm branch roof. One year I invested in several yards of material printed with symbols of Sukkot to brighten our sukka. It makes up the back side with several bright table cloths serving for 3 other sides. Under the palm branches (from the clothes line) I have hung fresh dates and pomegranates, grapes, flowers and fragrant leaves, as well as some ‘fruit like’ decorations that we have acquired over the years. Many people put up Christmas lights and all sorts of Christmas like decorations. We have a woven rug for a floor, a table and as many chairs as we can fit in because the sukka is open to all who would like to come in and sit and rejoice with us. It is open to friend and stranger alike and is such a good time to get to know people. I have pinned the scriptures above to the ‘walls’ in English and Hebrew and it does sometimes inspire stirring conversation.

The sukka… this ‘vulnerable’ little dwelling with a ‘roof’ through which you can see the stars and the moon… a commandment to rejoice before The Lord… a time set apart to sit under His ‘hugeness’ and consider our ‘smallness’ and to remember that in HIM…we “live and move and have our being”…WHAT A HOLIDAY!

And, OF COURSE, it rained a slight bit this morning. And OF COURSE the temperature dropped a great deal today. To me these are such ‘symbols’ of His BLESSING after the long hot dry summer.

Our dinner was served as a Thanksgiving feast, and we spent many hours together outside rejoicing.

The kitchen is clean and I will go to bed, but I hope to write to you several times during Sukkot…and share with you heartbeats of this most precious holiday.

I do humbly thank you for your comments over this past ‘emotional roller coaster’ of a week. I am so thankful for His body! Lovingly, your sis.

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 6:11 am  Comments (8)  
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  1. This is all temporary… we are just passing through!
    Like Abraham and Sarah… and billions over the years… by faith we look for the Heavenly City…
    Love Susan

  2. What a precious comment, Susan! Thank you! God bless you and the faith He displays in you!
    love and prayers!

  3. thank you for sharing all this news and celebration! We have been praying for the safe release of Gilad Shalit…
    God be with His people…

  4. Thank you so much, faith-filled fisherlady, for taking the time to read and comment. J of Jerusalem is so blessed whenever some one does and I will be sending this on to her! God bless you as you celebrate Him today!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this about Sukkot. Thanks for educating me – a glorious time.

  6. When I was married to Riley’s dad, who is Jewish, I was always bummed they didn’t build a Sukkot shelter, but they lived in mostly paved Long Beach, Long Island. I do love the traditions of Judaism, especially Pesach, in which women have a large role and children get to read from the Haggadah.

    We all – Christians, Jews, and Muslims – worship the God of Abraham. I wish politics did not get in the way of that reality… and that love will someday reign in all our hearts, especially those in power. Shalom, AMy

  7. It would be fun to be there, wouldn’t it? J paints us pictures with her words though, and that will have to do for me!
    God bless you Tammi, and I pray that you and yours are doing great!

  8. You have such a wide array of experiences, Amy! It all combines to make you who you are today, in Him. Thank you for sharing this and I’ll send it off to J! She’ll be so blessed!
    love and prayers!

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