Sukkot is my *personal* favorite of the Chagim (Holy Days), in part because its architectural in nature, as families construct space for celebrations, but also due to its richness of meaning. Sometimes Sukkot is referred to as The Feast of Ingathering. The Lord gathered me into my calling to live in Israel during this particular feast, so it will always serve as an anniversary marker in my life.
Possibly the most important understanding of Sukkot is that it represents the birth and return of the Messiah. Some bible scholars believe that Yeshua was likely born during the feast of Sukkot. They determined this through records kept at the temple indicating when Zecharias (father of John the Baptist) would have been burning incense (see Luke 1:5-25).
In John 1:14, the word dwelling alludes to Sukkot.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
Jesus came to dwell with us temporarily so that we might dwell with him eternally.
Also, according to Zechariah 14:16, many bible scholars believe this feast will be celebrated by all nations during the Millennial Reign.
I didn't even begin to unpack the depth to this Feast. Hopefully some of you will be inspired to prayerfully study more on your own!
This year we opened Sukkot by having a Shabbat dinner with our Friends, the Cohens, in their lovely Sukkah. We went on several walks during the week, documenting Sukkah's for my thesis, and we attended the big parade in City Center.
Here's a few night images of some Sukkahs around our neighborhood:
Then next three are on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem's City Center. Restaurants and Cafe's build them on the sidewalks so customers can keep the tradition of eating in a Sukkah.
Later we ventured to an Ultra Orthodox neighborhood called Mea Shearim, where we recieved an extra special treat. Keep scrolling to see, but first, here are some examples of the orthodox versions of the Sukkah.
Ok... Here's the treat! We found this Sukkah made totally from bamboo and palm branches...
...then we ran into the owner, who invited us in! Its a Mitzvah, or good deed, to invite guests into your Sukkah.
The interior consists of a mattress so the family can sleep in their booth, a table for feasting, and they decorated the walls with images of Rabbis and Torah passages.
He was very pleased to note that their Sukkah was the
Here's the three of us. His wife brought us juice and cake. We spent some time learning about their family with twin girls, and some Jewish traditions surrounding childbirth (He happened to be a Mohel, who is someone trained to perform circumcisions) They wanted us to stay for dinner but we had to get home before the buses stopped for shabbat.
Just before leaving, Devin said traditional prayers and waved the Lulav. We had such a sweet time with this wonderful Orthodox family. Maybe we'll stop by next year!