Here we are at Sukkot, again, which this year happens exactly on the first day of Fall.
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Sukkot is, traditionally, believed to be the time when Messiah Yeshua was born, and this is verified by the timeline in the Gospel of Luke, with regards to when Zachariah (Yochanon the Immerser’s father) served in the temple, saw the angel, Miryam visited Elizabeth, etc.
The Torah commands us to live in Sukkot, which are tabernacles, or tents, with an open-top. The Sukkot are decorated with fruits and branches, which would be consistent with what materials would have been available to the Jews living in the desert. The commandment is also to live in the Sukkah (singular form) for 7 days, as a memorial to how the Israelites lived for 40 years.
In modern days, we build a Sukkah but for most people, it is in the backyard (if they have the space) and maybe the kids sleep in it, but for the most part, they will have dinner in it but sleep in the house.
When I was attending a Messianic synagogue back in Northeast Philadelphia, I built a Sukkah using PVC pipes so that it could be used, then reused, over and over again. It lasted for many years. We performed the shaking of the Lulav with the 4 Species in it, and it was fun to erect, decorate and then tear it all down when the week of Sukkot was over.
The message I have for us today is this tabernacle represents how God cared for his people, and whether or not you build a physical Sukkah, the tabernacle I believe God desires to share with us, more than anything else, is the tabernacle of our hearts.
When we read about God and his relationship with his people, we are told that he knows the mind. We read in the Gospels that Yeshua (through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit) knew men’s minds. But we do not read about God seeking our mind: what we do read is that God seeks our heart.
When I like to check traditional Jewish thoughts, I go to one of two sources, neither of which has ever let me down: one is the book called “The Jewish Book of Why” (there are two volumes) and the other is the Chabad website. In this case, to share with you the Judaic belief about the relationship between the mind and the heart, I am paraphrasing what I saw on the Chabad website.
According to Chabad, there are two hearts and one mind. There is an outer and an inner heart; the outer heart reacts to the world, what we would call the “flesh” and the inner heart is purer and what we would call our spiritual side. The mind is the pathway to the inner heart, being able to overcome the fleshly desires of the outer heart and direct us to what is good and holy.
When I read this I thought immediately of Freudian analysis, the Id, Ego, and Super-ego.
Monsters from the Id! Monsters from the Id! Morbius didn’t think about the monsters from the Id!
(If you don’t recognize this reference, watch “Forbidden Planet”)
Freudian psychoanalysis identifies the Id as the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. I am sure you can now see the clear relationship of the Id (outer heart), the Super-ego (the inner heart), and the Ego (the mind). I wouldn’t be surprised if Freud, being Jewish, knew about the two hearts and the mind and used that as the basis for his system.
In any event, God seeks the heart, which is clearly the inner heart, and through prayer, we can have a sort of Sukkot every day of the year.
And unlike this week, the weather has no influence on our ability to tabernacle with God through prayer.
So enjoy this most festive Holy Day, which is really a Holy Week, and look forward to Shemini Atzeret, also called Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah) which starts next Monday night The traditional thought is that even though the Torah says Sukkot is 7 days, God so enjoyed being with us in the tabernacles that he extended it for an extra day. On Simchat Torah, we turn the Torah back to the very beginning to start the annual reading cycle all over again, which is the joyful part.
(If I may, I will take this time to plug my book, "Parashot Drashim" which is a commentary/Bible study of each of the 54 Torah readings (called Parashah). I believe you will find it very useful to see Yeshua in the Torah, as well as better understanding the Jewish mindset. It is available in paperback and Kindle; there are links to it on my website and it is available directly on Amazon.)
Sukkot is a time of celebration that, unlike most Holy Days, allows us to get closer to God not just spiritually, but physically, and I will finish today’s message with this one thought: God is never any further away than the length of our arms, yet no matter how close we get to him we can always get closer.
Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and I always welcome your comments.
That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Chag Sameach!