What is a Sukkah? – Sukkot 2

For the last 10 years my sukkah at Sukkot has been my pop-up camper or a cabin laid out like a bunk house. In my climate these feast days are regularly met with rain, cold and high winds (especially, if we are near the coast).

My one desire in life is to please Yehovah with my words and deeds; but I have many times felt that I was not measuring up because of what I thought the scriptures taught concerning the sukkah that Israel’s seed is to dwell in during Sukkot. Sukkot is the plural form of sukkah.

“Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.” Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of Elohim, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day Israel’s seed had not done so. And there was very great gladness. (Neh 8:14-17)

Sukkah – We Have Learned Lies

Where is it written in Torah, the law of Moses (the word that we can not add to or subtract from), that each of Israel’s seed, is to make a “booths,” a sukkah, out of these materials? Could this idea be a misunderstanding on the part of Yehovah’s people during Nehemiah’s time? Or possibly something that the Rabbis have established to make it difficult for Yehovah’s set-apart people to comply with?

We have tried to make a “booth,” a sukkah, like this to dwell in here in Washington and we got drenched, frozen and sick. How much worse would it be in the rain forest or in Antarctica or Alaska and Canada?

Yehovah’s set-apart people (men, with their families) have been scattered to all nations and are now being raised up all over the earth. This means we all reside in different climates in Yehovah’s kingdom.

Therefore say, ‘Thus says my Master, Yehovah: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ‘ Therefore say, ‘Thus says my Master, Yehovah: “I will gather you from the countries, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” (Eze 11:16-17)

The instructions given to Israel’s seed, those “Ezrach” who have become as one born in the land are minimal, but much work is still required to make sense of them. I have spent many days going through the Hebrew and many related scriptures.  Here are the English instructions (probably translated by men who have never even repented nor became “Ger” in Israel, much more “Ezrach”)  which are given to us in Leviticus 23.

39 ‘Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of Yehovah for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.
40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees; branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yehovah, your Elohim for seven days.
41 You shall keep it as a feast to Yehovah for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 You shall dwell in booths (sukkot, plural of sukkah or temporary dwellings) for seven days. All who are native [Ezrach] Israelites shall dwell in booths,
43 that your generations may know that I made Israel’s seed dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yehovah, your Elohim.’ ”
44 So Moses declared to Israel’s seed the feasts of Yehovah. (Lev 23:39-44)

How Do We “Dwell” In A Sukkah?

In order to understand these instructions which were given to the Israel’s seed, I am going to approach them from the bottom up. All of Yehovah’s instructions in Leviticus 23 were given to His seed only. His seed follows Him, and their Ger, sons, women (wives and daughters) and servants, follow them. Can the families of these men dwell with them? Once every 7 years the ladies get to come to one feast (the feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot).

“Three times in the year all your males shall appear before their master, Yehovah. (Exo 23:17)

So Moses declared to Israel’s seed the feasts of Yehovah. (Lev 23:44)

[Note: The Ezrach, the native-born seed, Israel, are to “dwell” in “booths” for seven days. We discussed who the Ezrach of Israel are and the possible significance of dwelling in booths for seven days during an 8 day feast in part 1.]

42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are home-born [Ezrach] in Israel shall dwell  in booths

The Hebrew word being used here for “dwell” is  תשׁבו [te·sha·vu] and סכה  [sukkah] is the root word. The prefix ת [tav] and the suffix ו [vav] have to do with the conjugation of this verb. It is an imperfect, 2nd person, masculine, plural verb; it is telling us that all you (native-born men) shall תשׁבו [be seated] in booths.

Jeff Benner in his Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible says this about the Hebrew root שׁב [shav].

Strongs #3427: AHLB#: 1462-L (V)

1462) שׁב  ShB ac: Turn, co: Seat, ab: ?: The pictographשׁ [shin] is a picture of the two front teeth representing pressing; the ב [bet] is a picture of tent. Combined these mean “Press to the tent“. A place of dwelling as the place returned to. A turning back or away from someone or something. A captive is one turned away from a place of dwelling. (eng: shove)
A) שׁב ShB ac: ? co: Seat ab: ?: A returning to ones place of residence where one sits.{Strongs #3427}

We, the Ezrach, Israel’s seed, are each to return and be seated in ” a booth, a sukkah” [temporary coverings].

So, What Is A Sukkah?

Michael in his SukkahThe Hebrew word being translated as “in booths” is בסכת  [bas·su·kot]. In this case the root word is סכ [suk]; The prefix ב [bet] says “in” and the suffix ת [tav] is a plural ending.

Jeff Benner has this to say about סכ.

Strongs #5521: AHLB#: 1333-J

1333) סכ  SK ac: Cover co: Booth ab: ?: The pictograph ס [sin] is a picture of a thorn representing protection, the כ [kaph] is a picture of the palm of the hand representing a covering. Combined these mean “protective covering“. The watcher [we will talk about the watcher, the good shepherd, the 144,000 in part 3 of this series] over the crops, flock or herd, would construct a covering (booth) as a shelter from the sun, wind or rain. These coverings were often constructed on an elevated position, and from materials readily available such as bushes, thorns and small trees. (eng: shack – with the exchange of the s and sh)
A) סכ SK ac: Cover co: Booth ab: ?: A covering, hedge or thicket of thorns or bushes for protection from the elements or predators. {Strongs #5521}

All that said, the first part of verse 42 might be understood like this.

42 All you men shall return and be seated in temporary coverings for seven days. All who are native [Ezrach] Israelites shall be seated in temporary coverings.

Verse 43 then says.

43 that all your generation [your seed, your son’s, son’s sons] may know that I made Israel’s seed be seated in  temporary coverings when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yehovah, your Elohim. “

How did Israel’s seed, who served no other government except the government of Yehovah after they came out of Egypt, dwell in the wilderness? It appears to me that Israel’s seed dwelt in tents in the wilderness. We are talking about men dwelling in tents!

Israel’s seed shall pitch their tents, every man (iysh) by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies. (Num 1:52)

Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that Israel’s seed would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there Israel’s seed would pitch their tents [3rd person, masculine, plural]. (Num 9:17)

And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” (Num 16:26)

“How lovely are [all] your tents, O Jacob [not, O Rachel or O Leah]! Your dwellings, O Israel! (Num 24:5)

But tents, while it kept Israel’s seed and their families out of the elements for forty years, may not be adequate as a sukkah,” a temporary dwelling” for some of us in less temperate climates and a small cabin with a heat source may be needed.

As I see the scriptures, the sukkah that each of Israel’s seed is to “be seated in” are not so much about the construction, but rather how we are seated in them. We dwell in them, whatever they may be,  like we are soon leaving! We only dwell in them for seven days, just like Abraham did after he came out of Babylon. He dwelt in the land as if in a strange country, always ready to move. In the 40 years in the wilderness Israel’s seed moved their tents and their families many times as they followed the pillar of fire and smoke. All Yehovah’s seed who have left their country and learned to live under only His authority have done so for 6000 years already. We have only a thousand years left before we have a permanent residence with Yehovah.

Is it possible that all this is a shadow picture of the last days just after Yehovah turns the whole world into a wilderness and raises coverings for His men, those who already have learned to follow only Him? And why does Yehovah have His men gather branches in verse 40 if not to build a sukkah, a temporary covering? Oh – so much to discover and so little time. I just passed 1600 words so we will answer some of those questions next time.

Go to part 3