Thursday 27th of July 2017
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Feast of Tabernacles

Succoth teaches us of YHWH dwelling with His people, and how the Body of haMashiyach is tightly knit together and interdependent upon each other.  On Yom Kippur we learned about how the flesh of our bodies refrains from eating food which is a picture of the angels who don’t have physical needs as we do.  Our fasting reminded us of our temporal state, we realized how dependant we are upon food and water.

Succoth teaches us this at another level.   Now we leave our houses, we make temporary structures (succoth=booths) and we move into these fragile tent-like temporary masterpieces.  We see that we are all sojourners, whether wealthy or poor we all sojourn through this life.  The wealthy may seem to ride through this life a bit “smoother” in the minds of the poor but the truth is that wealthy flesh or poor flesh is still flesh that is waxing old at about the same rate.

The 70 sacrifices during Succoth represent the Righteous Government of YHWH that serves all the Nations of the Earth, and welcomes each one into the Universal Government of haMashiyach.  There are many illustrations in this Moed for us to mature in understanding and acceptance of Torah and one another.  We apply the Torah principles of love and kindness, justice and mercy into our lives and interdependantly.  In the observance of this beautiful and blessed Scriptural Feast we learn more how to welcome the Ruach haKodesh to live within us, although we “sojourn” in a land which is hostile to the Kingdom of Elohim, we come out and live in temporary shelters to remind us who we are in YHWH and where we are destined.

Physical location has very little bearing on who we are, but our hearts still long to be together in Jerusalem as one people.  Those who cannot feel Jerusalem inside of them are not going to understand Succoth for what it really is.  And just a side note along with that comment, those who are abrasive towards the Jewish people, or view the Feasts of YHWH as being “Jewish Feasts” are missing the point by a country mile, I’m sorry but they are ignorant brutes who need a change of heart.  Jerusalem above is Mashiyach, and Jerusalem below will be harmonized to her Creator regardless of what mankind has to say about it, so the anti-Semites out there might as well learn how to view both Jerusalem and the Jewish people now during this time of Succoth.  We must realize that Succoth is universal and it extends both ways, not to Gentiles only or Jews only.

We clarify our understanding of the Kingdom of Elohim and apply ourselves into His Kingdom wherever we are living.  We are keen to study and understand the prophetic elements ofthe Kingdom of Elohim at every level of our being.  Although we have been delivered from physical Egypt (spiritual darkness), Babylon (confusion) has encroached and is forever trying to penetrate into our lives.  All the nations and all governments of the earth have chosen Babylon, except the Government of Mashiyach.  Those not having a love for YHWH and His Mashiyach are choosing Egypt, their slavery seems good to them, Babylon has showered people with all form of “blessings”, an excess addiction as powerful as the worst addictive drugs.

Many people would rather die than be cured of Babylon.  It is taboo to speak against the culture and values of intellectual modern scientific or religious Hellenistic and Babylonian society.  It is not only many Jews who find themselves in dire straights having lost their way in Babylon (confusion), the Christian and Moslem worlds have chosen to embrace all form of Hellenism and paganism, each fundamental religious idea based on man’s own initiatives are take souls back into Babylon (confusion).  Living in YHWH is the paramount goal for each of us to realize, during Succoth we are called to press into a personal relationship with YHWH and purge ourselves from the baggage of confusion, Hellenism and Babylon.  We are called to come outside, outdoors and live and put our trust in YHWH who has created the perfection of the natural world around us to delight in.

Succoth teaches us how our Fathers Avraham, Yitzak and Ya’akov and all of Israel were taught by YHWH as they sojourned toward the promised land.  The Mishkan (tabernacle) itself is a Succah (temporary dwelling) that reveals to us Mashiyach, the perfect man, as we are camped around the Mishkan in our own Succahs we see and learn of the One True YHWH who sojourns with His people.  We see that YHWH knows His Creation in the most intimate way, as we examine each component of the Mishkan we see that YHWH is far beyond man’s intellectual knowledge revealing our thoughts, souls and intents of our hearts to us.

The Mishkan (tabernacle) has three main components
Chatser (The Court) – Kodesh (The Holy Place) – Kodesh HaKedoshim (The Holy of Holies)
Each Human has three main components
Basar (The Flesh) – Nefesh (The Soul) – Neshama (The Spirit)
The Word of YHWH has three main components
Torah (Instructions) – Neviim (Prophets) – Ketuvim (Writings)
We become free by nurturing the higher worlds three main components
Emunah (Faith) – Tikvah (Hope) – Ahav (Love)
We become slaves by nurturing the lower worlds three main components
The Sinful Flesh – The Sinful World – Hasatan (The Adversary)
he lower worlds desires are in three main components
Lust of the Flesh – Lust of the Eyes – Pride of Life
Threefold Witnesses reveal YHWH and His Mashiyach
Avraham – Yitzak – Ya’akov
Gershon – Kohath – Merari
Saul – David – Solomon
Hananiah (Shadrach) – Mishael (Meshach) – Azariah (Abednego)
Cephas (Peter) – Ya’akov (James) – Yochanan (John)

There is a lesson in Succoth for us to thoroughly come out of the external world and dwell with YHWH, we are assisted in the Mitzvoth by living in temporary shelters to remember the finite nature of our existence and also remember how utterly dependant we are on YHWH for every aspect of life.  We compare life while sojourning, simple things like cooking, cleaning, and our personal security contrasts sharply with our lives in comfortable dwellings in the amenities we’ve showered ourselves with.  We feel somewhat secure when we lock our doors, put on the security alarm and go to sleep in our houses, but in our Succah we are reminded that it is YHWH who watches over us each moment and provides all the good things for us.

Succoth reminds us of the Shechinah of YHWH and the presence of YHWH as a pure white light that hovered over the Mercy Seat in the Mishkan.  We are reminded that He is with us, He goes before us if we choose to follow Him, but if we choose not to follow Him we go headlong into a strange world of our own making, we soon discover that all roads indeed lead to Rome (Hellenism) or to Babylon (confusion).  We learn these lessons about abiding in Him with great joy and about the goodly plans He has for His people.  Each day of Succoth represents a thousand years, we learn about the process of abiding in a Kingdom of Justice, Holiness and Unity, a universal standard of equality and acceptance of each soul.  After living in a Succah (temporary shelter like a tent) for a week, we experience all sorts of interesting lessons about life.  Succoth is like a magnifying glass into the Kingdom of Elohim and into our own souls, as we celebrate Succoth our souls are revealed to us in Mashiyach, we become alert and cognizant of what is really inside.

Succoth, as all the Moedim of YHWH is not something one can understand by intellectualizing it, one must experience it each year to receive the benefits.  As we learn the components of Succoth, the four species, the covering of branches and all manner of leaves and variety in our own Succah and those around us we are reminded of that Great Day, Shemini Atzeret when haMashiyach will harmonize each soul as one together in Peace and Justice.  There will be no poverty, no war, and no strife between each other, the greatness of each soul will manifest itself in the perfection of haMashiyach and Torah.  Tsiyon will be manifest in every world, the nature of mankind will be unified with YHWH and His Mashiyach.

There are an infinite amount of wonderful lessons available to be learned by observing the mitzvah (commandment) of Succoth.  HaMashiyach said that by doing his Father’s Mitzvoth (Commandments) we understand more of Him and know His Teaching is Truth.  It is because we are made in the Image of Elohim, that each of the Moedim (feasts) reveal insights that only YHWH Himself can generate in us.

The first mention of Succoth is in B’resheet (Genesis) 33:17, (I have included the Strong’s Concordance numbers for easy Hebrew reference).  “And Jacob <3290>* journeyed <5265> (8804) to Succoth <5523>, and built <1129> (8799) him an house <1004>, and made <6213> (8804) booths <5521> for his cattle <4735>: therefore the name <8034> of the place <4725> is called <7121> (8804) Succoth <5523>.”  Ya’akov journeys to Succoth and sets up “booths” or tents.

The second mention in Torah that refers to all of Israel journeying to Succoth.  Sh’mot (Exodus) 12:37-39 “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.  And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.”

The third mention of the booths <5521> is found in:  Leviticus 23:34 Speak <1696> (8761) unto the children <1121> of Israel <3478>, saying <559> (8800), The fifteenth <2568> <6240> day <3117> of this seventh <7637> month <2320> shall be the feast <2282> of tabernacles <5521 > for seven <7651> days <3117> unto YHWH <3068>.  Wherever and however we live we must each keep an appointment with the Moed of Succoth.  Succoth becomes the venue, the destination by which we can look around us and see how far we we’ve come out or gone into Egypt and Babylon.  The simplicity yet profound experience which YHWH has ordained is scorned and mocked by those in Babylon who use their intellects only to validate themselves.  The sum of most people is Babylon is their own definition of themselves given by Babylon.  Herein lies one of the hidden mysteries of Succoth as it pertains to the Nations of the World.  We are all designed to be one Universal community where each one is richly blessed, enjoying each other, blessing each other, sharing, and prospering each other in Mashiyach.  This is the destiny of those in the Mashiyach.  This is the aim of Torah to bring Harmony,  Justice and Peace to all the Nations.  Babylon operates by fear and intimidation, the wielding of material wealth and power over others, Babylon channels authority through it’s institution which itself is a temporary fiction.  When haMashiyach rode up to Jerusalem on a foal donkey of a donkey, he represented his Kingship by YHWH’s authority.  HaMashiyach was grilled by the religious establishment who queried him about his “authority,” to the hierarchal structure of Babylon Mashiyach is the greatest of all threats, a revolutionist who is destined to conquer and bring it all down.  The people who followed Yeshua spread their clothes on the ground and waved palm branches in front of him, Palms are commonly used to build Succahs, branches represent people who are individually unique, free and willing to invest themselves into Mashiyach and the lives of others to build the Malchut (Kingdom) of Elohim.

There are an infinite amount of lessons to be learned by observing Succoth, and much can be expected as we celebrate Succoth, we can only learn these things by experiencing the appointment with YHWH and opening our eyes, ears and hearts to YHWH and to each other.  Succoth is also time to stop and realize how frail we are, we desperately need dwelling places, domestic services and shelters from the weather to sustain our lives, through our natural physical needs we taught to learn of the spiritual.  YHWH asks us to come out of our permanent shelters and remember just who we are.

We remember that our souls are on a journey, none of us have arrived to the destination, we are sojourners in this life.  We remember to stop and consider what life is, and why we are here.  Where have we come from?  Where are we going with our lives?  YHWH says He sojourns with His people, He was with us in the Wilderness.  He was very close, He desires to be close with His people today.  Where is He in our lives each day?  Many souls have become tired, their attempts to flee Babylon were not satisfying, but their efforts were directed by ideas that YHWH Himself did not ordain.  Many souls have lost hope and believe YHWH does bad things or lets bad happen to them, others think YHWH will neither do good nor evil, but He has still not abandoned that which He has given life.  The truth is we are the ones who abandoned a relationship with YHWH and are yet to come to Him by His terms.  Succoth is a time when we can take back the ground and establish a healthy relationship with YHWH.  Succoth begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the Biblical calendar and is an eight day celebration.  YHWH commands joy during each day of Succoth and instructs us that we are not to eat the tenth portion of what belongs to Him at our own dwellings, but enjoy it together in the community at “the place which YHWH will choose”.

Don’t let Succoth become a religious exercise where you punch in the time clock to observe the Feast, that’s what the carnal weak flesh invites you to do.  Don’t let sleepy leaders make the Feasts of YHWH into a rote exercise for more sermonizing about the same old, same old.  Whenever YHWH’s people come together we must train our ears to listen to His Voice because His presence is with those who come up to His Feasts.  Plan, prepare and travel as far as you need to travel as the Ruach haKodesh is leading you.  You don’t know whether you will go to serve or to be served but there is always this sharing and experiencing within the body of Mashiyach that all believers will experience.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 14:24-26 And if the way be too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from you, which YHWH your Elohim shall choose to set His Name there, when YHWH your Elohim has blessed you: Then shall you turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go unto the place which YHWH your Elohim shall choose:  And you shall bestow that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul asks: and you shall eat there before YHWH your Elohim, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before YHWH your Elohim in the place which He shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles: and they shall not appear before YHWH empty:  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of YHWH your Elohim which He has given you.

Succoth is a most wonderful time of joy and thanksgiving unto YHWH!

You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world…

Shalom U’Vrachot,

Baruch Ben Daniel

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Pesach Chag HaMatzah HaBikkurim Shavuot Yom Teruah Yom HaKippurim Succoth Shemini Atzeret
A Succoth Experience

One time I was building a Succah (booth), stringing it all together with all the creativity I could muster, I was making it as secure as I could (after all, I was a general building contractor at one time).  It was a conventional Succah with the poles making a up the framework and joined with the roof, tied with rope.  The walls were heavy canvas with a nice sized opening for the doorway, then a variety of branches were put on top for the roof.  Inside were all sorts of decorative festive things including fruit, grapes, nuts here and there…  We placed chairs inside and a small table with some of favorite reading and study materials, Bibles, Siddur, Machzor, a guitar, songbooks, on another table were a few bottles wine and drinks, a variety of foods, pita bread, homous, veggies, dips, smoked salmon, cheese etc.  There was a mattress to sit or sleep on, with some sleeping bags and pillows.

Heavenly.  And I was ready to relax and enjoy the Chag.  Everywhere around the neighbors were doing the same thing (a few miles from Tiberias, Israel) but, I noticed the next door neighbor had a Succah that wasn’t quite up to standard, I noticed he strung it together with some cheap sheets over a cheap flimsy metal frame, it looked like he got it from the garbage dump really (sorry), and then he got a ridiculous white and yellow roof that isn’t even halachically acceptable… (sorry again…).  I noticed that they threw in a few incidentals to make it a “feasty” looking thing, nevertheless it was heart warming, why?  Because my neighbor is doing Torah and seeking the common good in haMashiyach.  Later on in the evening we were getting ready to sleep, I had put a makeshift light inside my Succah, but it was getting late so I was just about ready to turn off the light.  I noticed the neighbor out there getting ready to sleep in his Succah as well, you think to yourself, brave soul… hope it doesn’t fall on top of him… (sorry)  I gave the neighbor a smile and a wave and was off to sleep.  Seems as though I was just entering into REM (deep sleep) when I was startled by a swooshing sound from the wind… OY (translated OY VUH YOY!!!) … you think to yourself… I hope this baby holds together, then I thought about my neighbor… OY… you say a little prayer that the wind will not blow it all down… but sure enough, the wind picks up and a heavy gust challenges my Succah, then I heard strange noises coming from the neighbor’s place… you say to yourself… I could just pretend I’m sleeping… (sorry) then you think, no, that’s not right… you get up and pull on your clothes, you jump over the little fence and try to help your neighbor pick up the pieces, his Succah has been defeated, you figured he was ripe for a disaster anyways when you saw him building it but, c’est la vie!

As the wind continues to gust, you’re helping your neighbor pick up the pieces all of sudden a very heavy gust of wind presents itself and your body goes 60 degrees into the wind to stay upright… you glance over and witness your beloved Succah, your pride and joy take on the shape of a big ole air balloon, it turns into a parachute… pulls its stakes from the earth and heads for the moon… there you stand… “bummed out”… you look around and see all sorts of patio furniture rolling across the field, down the road, over the fields and across the roads… it’s windy city on the Hills of Shomron, you reach down pick up a few grapes off the floor and smile as you enjoy their sweetness, all was not lost…

For a good portion of the night the neighbor and I engaged in a scavenger hunt trying to pick up the pieces, the wind continues to blow briskly and you both eventually retreat inside to warm beds… but before you do, you get re-acquainted with your neighbor, you see that he truly loves YHWH and his desire is to serve the Master, no he doesn’t go to synagogue, daven (pray) or live in a way exemplifying a Torah observant soul, but, he’s a very likeable decent family sort of guy, and he’s trying his level best to keep it all together.  You discuss together the goodness of “HaShem”, the goodness of the Torah, the magnificence of Mashiyach, the richness of Creation and the many blessings you commonly enjoy together that are a gift from YHWH’s hand.

All these things you have to agree are very very good. You think to yourself, there’s a lesson in the branches that once covered the roof of my blessed little Succah.  There were short and long branches, some narrow, some wide, all different species of branches, some were strong branches with good structural integrity, others were more delicate but the leaves were either small or wide enough to provide good covering.  You realize the branches are definitely like people, with great variety, each essential and important to one another.  We all need each other, in the good times to fully enjoy the good things, and in times of crisis when our souls are joined together to sustain each other.  But let’s not wait for a crisis before we respond to one another’s really important needs, this is what Succoth is all about…

Behold how good and how blessed is for brothers to dwell together.

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