Sukkot – A Celebration For Every Nation!
There’s a party in Jerusalem and EVERYONE is invited! Watch this entertaining sneak preview into Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, as celebrated in Jerusalem today. See the restoration of an ancient tradition of the Jewish People where thousands of people from all nations of the world voyage to Jerusalem to Celebrate this Biblical Festival.
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations (gôy gôy גּי גּוי H1471) that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (sûkkâh סכּה H5521)
Apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts: – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.
Feminine of H5520; a hut or lair: – booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent.
31a, though the reading may originally have extended only through verse 19 (as attested by theMachzor Romania which preserves old customs of Eretz Yisra’el [the land of Israel]).
Present custom is to conclude the haftarah with verse 21 (mentioning the sacred vessels and the end of foreign traffickers in the Temple)
Rashi comments that this reading was selected because “it is written in it ‘to celebrate the festival of Sukkot'” (verses 18-19)–Israelites and all the nations alike. The prophet thus envisages a universal pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It is a practical consequence of his prophecy of a universal monotheism. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one LORD with one name” (verse 9).
The haftarah shows an old connection between the festival of Sukkot and rituals for rain. The pronouncement “Any of the earth’s communities that does not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts shall receive no rain” (verse 17) is categorical–excluding only Egypt (a land not dependent upon rainfall), though promising it an appropriate scourge. Rain rituals associated with water libations and the four species taken on Sukkot (Leviticus 23:40) are mentioned separately in such early rabbinic sources as Tosefta Sukkot 3:18 and Talmud, Ta’anit 2b, respectively. Rashi combined them in his comment on Zech. 14:17.
Some of these rituals may derive from early biblical times, but it was only in the course of the Second Temple that they seem to have been integrated into a multilevel service of celebration and supplication. Hopes were intense, for until the rains came, the community’s livelihood and sustenance were held in the balance. “On the festival [of Sukkot the people] are judged in regard to water” (Mishnah, Rosh Hashanah 1:2). The anxiety of this time is poignantly expressed in a practice whereby the people hoped to divine in the last traces of the festival ritual some sign of their physical fate. In a tradition reported by R. Isaac b. Abdimi:
“On the night following the last day of the festival [of Sukkot] all [the people] were gazing upon the smoke arising from the pile of wood [on the altar]. If it inclined northward the poor rejoiced and the people of means were sad, because the rains of the coming year would be abundant and their fruits would rot [and they would be sold fast and cheaply]. If it inclined southward, the poor were depressed and the men of means rejoiced, for there would be litte rain that year and the fruit could be preserved. If it inclined eastward, all rejoiced [for there would be an average rain, beneficial for all]; [and] if westward, all were depressed [because the seeds would dry, causing famine]” (Talmud, Yoma 21b).
And so it is that those Gentiles who have reconnected to their Hebraic biblical roots join the Jews in viewing Sukkot as the season in which Moshiach will arrive and establish his kingdom from Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s Jewish connection dates back more than 3,000 years. Even after Jews lost control of the city in 70 CE, a Jewish spiritual and physical bond with Jerusalem remained unbroken, despite 2,000 years of dispersion.