Sukkot and V’Zot HaBrachah(This is the blessing)D’Varim(Deut.) 33-34

Torah Portion: V’Zot HaBrachah(This is the blessing)D’Varim(Deut.) 33-34

Haftorah Reading: Joshua 1:1-18

Today I want to spend our time on both the Torah portion and Sukkot, beginning with the holiday of Sukkot. In Leviticus 23:34 we read, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the L-rd.”

This verse makes a significant point about this holiday. It is the only festival that is described as seven days to the L-rd. This holiday is to be set apart and celebrated before HaShem, to remember and thank Him for His actions during the Exodus from Egypt. It is to declare His on-going grace and provision during this journey. It also points toward the future when not only Jews and Gentiles will celebrate the festival together but also to the time when all nations will come up to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the feast before the L-rd. (Zechariah 14:16)

Judaism has three seven day or eight day festivals each year. Passover is in, Nisan, the first month of the Jewish year, Sukkot is in Tishri, the seventh month and Chanukah is in Kislev, the ninth month of the Jewish calendar.

Chanukkah celebrates the victory in the uprising of the Jewish people against the rule of the Greeks in the second century BCE and the restoration of the worship of the one true G-d.

So, according to the Jewish calendar Sukkot is the second long festival of the religious year. During Sukkot not only the male members of Jewish families were to appear before the L-rd in Jerusalem but also the entire family, They were to bring their tithe to Jerusalem and rejoice before the L-rd as a family.

In the Messianic Scriptures Shaul/Paul spoke of the Sabbath, New Moons and the festivals in this age saying, “These matters are a shadowed reflection of what is to be revealed. The Anointed One is the reality being foreshadowed.” (Colossians 2;17) Even more interesting we read in Psalms 86:9, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before You O L-rd and shall glorify Your Name."

Again as we have already read, Zechariah 14:16 says everyone who survives of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King and keep the Feast of Tabernacle. Ezekiel 39:7 is another important verse, “So I will make My Holy Name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My Holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the L-rd, the Holy One of Israel.”

So for us, His people, we have the privilege of keeping these festivals as a continual reminder of who G-d is and also to renew our faith in Him. He who keeps Israel neither slumbers or sleeps but is always there loving us and guiding us through our life.

Over and over, in the Messianic scriptures we can read where Yeshua was in Jerusalem keeping the festivals. 

MY QUESTION THIS WEEK, WHERE IN THE MESSIANIC SCRIPTURE DO WE READ OF THIS HOLIDAY?  In answer to my weekly question, John 7:10 shows that Yeshua was in Jerusalem for “the last days of the feast.” This was the festival of Sukkot. He challenged the people and the leaders in John 7:37-38, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me….out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The people understood His words (John 7:40-41)

I pray each of us will be able to see the depth of this holiday and how important it is to our faith. Take some time to look at these holidays. We as non-Jews have much to learn. This will give us a deeper spiritual knowledge of who we are in the Messiah.

Now, on to our Torah portion this Shabbat. In this last portion of Deut/D’Varim we read where Moshe is nearing the end of his life. He blesses each one of the tribes of Israel before they cross over into the land.  Let’s look at Deut. 33:7, “Hear O L-rd the voice of Judah and bring Him to His people.” I believe Moshe is asking the Father to bring quickly one of the sons of Judah, that Son being the Messiah, who was prophesied to be of the tribe of Judah. So here, as one of his last acts he asked G-d to send the Messiah to His people.

Remember in last week’s portion Moshe urged the people to choose life (Blessing) not the curses. Why would he even have to say such a thing? Maybe the answer lies in the book of Ecclesiastes. In this book what is a word that reoccurs throughout the book? Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. In the second verse we read it seven times. So what does it mean? It might help us to know the actual Hebrew word and its meaning. In Hebrew the word is hevel, or a short shallow breath. This hints to the fragile life we lead. All that separates the living from the dead is a breath.

Sometimes we do not grasp the finite life we live. We become lax in how we spend our time. We think we always have tomorrow. Moshe was trying to impress upon his people the importance of considering how we live each day, each moment.

You might be interested to know that the name of the son of Adam and Eve, Abel, is the same word Hevel. He was killed by his brother Cain. The name Cain in Hebrew is a word meaning to possess or own something. In the names of these two brothers we see something deeper in what Moshe was saying when he said choose life.

The rush to acquire, to own can lead us down a dark path that, before we know it, can take over our life causing us to waste the days G-d has given us.  Choose life and not things. Devote your life to what G-d has for you. Bless each of you these last days of Sukkot and each day choose life.