It’s Tabernacles Season! Time to celebrate the harvest, fellowship with family and friends, Commemorate the time spent with the Almighty Creator in the wilderness in temporary dwellings when the children of Abraham were leaving slavery, and to look forward to the time when during the millennium, all the redeemed will again be with him, in temporary places, celebrating the antitypical harvest!
I know people keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, this winter on five
different date spans. And most people will not keep it at all. So you know I have
something to say later about the reasons to observe the appointed times, and the
principles of calendation on which to determine the Scriptural timing. But for this post I will speak to the purpose of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, or simply, Booths. Why was this time given, and how does it benefit us?
The American holiday called Thanksgiving is a dim counterfeit of the festival
celebration inaugurated for the people of Yahuwah by himself for their benefit. We no longer perform animal sacrifices, which were a notable part of the daily activities from Sinai till the Temple was destroyed in AD 70. But the other symbols and activities are still doable and beneficial. It is a great time to get together and spend time as a family. A great time to make new friends with other families. A great time to worship together with old friends and review the Scriptures together.
Dancing was a regular part of the yearly event in old times, and I am sure we will be doing a lot of that in the earth made new. Scriptural dancing is radically different than the modern sensual dancing of the world. Scriptural dancing is a form of worship which occupies the body in movements calculated to integrate the self into the pattern of others as a group and not detract from thoughts of the above or allow one to focus on a single dancer. It is designed to make you a part of something bigger and higher than yourself.
Building a booth to shelter the family was a key event in a family of pilgrims to old Jerusalem. And even if you have no place to gather with others, and no place to travel to, you can arrange something in your back yard or even in your living room that will create a break with routine, involve the family in creative colaboration, and furnish occasions to learn new skills and discuss important teachings.
Helping others is a theme of the feast of Tabernacles as well. The tithe was designated in part for the purpose of celebrating and ensuring that other observers were able to enjoy the festivities and afford more than the essentials during that time. Again, the size of your gathering need not limit your imagination in how to relieve suffering and lack in other worthy people and causes during your Sukkot time, even among those who do not understand the motives you celebrate by helping them.
Reading the law together is a matter of opinion, interpretation, and private
application among the groups I am familiar with, but most agree that Scriptue enjoins the reading of the books of Moshe during the Tabernacles time at least every few years by some scheme. Discussion is also encouraged if not commanded.
Beyond these, your imagination and conscience are the limit. Anything the family can do together to strengthen relationships with each other and the Creator, relatives, and friends should be prioritized. This may include study of astronomy if you can camp outdoors at night. It may include lots of hiking in nature, or watersports, field trips, or whatever activities are appropriate for the group’s interests and skills.
Make every effort to leave school, work, and routine behind for the duration. Make the most of looking forward, looking back, and appreciating the countless gifts of the year.