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Monday, October 1, 2012

40 Years of Wandering with Moses Remembered: Sukkot

Nadene Goldfoot
Sukkot, a holiday of remembering our wandering for 40 years in the deserts with Moses started today.  It goes on  for a week of holiday from school in Israel,and will also be observed tomorrow here in the states.  That's why we remember such history.  We have a joyous holiday of eating and sleeping outside in tiny booths like the first Israelites did after leaving Egypt and walking for 40 years until they finally got to Canaan.

It's a season for rejoicing.  In Israel, a family makes their booth outside with 3 sides.  Rugs or blankets are hung on the poles to make the 3 sides. I remember that the city of Safed had a prize for the best Sukkahs.   Inside they put a table and chairs.  Men will sleep out there as well.  Luckily in Israel the weather at this time of year is dry and warm, just right for doing so.  The Sukkah is decorated with fruits and veggies hung all around it as it is also known as an agricultural festival being that in Israel also, it was a time of the final gathering of fruit and produce of the year..  Being this goes back to a time 3,000 years ago, I was surprised that the Israelites didn't put up tepees, but used a more rectangle shaped mobile home that was easily put up and taken down.  Being they were on the move every day, the booths were more of an impermanent nature. The roofs are simply newly cut limbs off of trees laid on top, but with areas open so as to be able to see the sky.  They didn't have to worry about rain in the desert.

Moses commanded that "In Sukkahs (booths) you shall dwell, 7 days."  It's in Leviticus 23:42.  It's fun, like going camping in the autumn.  Women will bake all sorts of good breads and honey cakes and invite neighbors over for tea and cakes and wine.  You might even get in on a complete dinner.  It's a time you look forward to each year.

In the days of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, with Kings David and Solomon, the Sukkot Festival offerings included 70 oxen, because of there being 70 nations then, in prayer for their well-being, and for peace and harmony among the nations of the world.  After hearing Netanyahu's very serious speech at the UN, we certainly do need more prayers for a future of peace and harmony for this world.

It is said that "He who sows in tears reaps in joy" is fullfilled and that the period of introspection and penitence is finally completed with this holiday.

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