Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Glimpse into Brooklyn: The Feast of Tabernacles

This post is for my friends outside of NYC.  If you’re like me, you are a little ignorant of some of the Jewish holidays that are celebrated.  Living in Brooklyn has opened my understanding to a lot of things regarding the Jewish people.  Though I knew the Old Testament was given to the Jewish people, I am learning more and more about just how Jewish my faith as a Christian really is!

I wanted to share an example with you.  We have a large Orthodox Jewish neighborhood not far from us.  In fact, I gave birth to Nolan at the hospital in that neighborhood!  I am always amazed to see how fastidious they are in their traditions – keeping the Sabbath, wearing the prayer shawl, and the modesty of their dress to name a few.  It is amazing to drive through Boro Park and just watch the people.  It is also sad, because they are so lost and so blind, though they claim to serve the same God as do I.

Last week the Feast of Tabernacles began.  My pastor has written a series of handouts on the Jewish Feasts and Festivals and he gives them to us at the appropriate time of year.  This is from his handout on Sukkot:

It is the harvest festival to remember God’s visible presence and abundant provision during Israel’s forty years in the wilderness. God commands seven days to be set aside to dwell in a sukkah (booth) to recall with rejoicing their temporary homes.

Today, the building of the sukkah begins at the close of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It must have a view of the stars through a palm and willow roof decorated with harvest fruit. It is the custom to carry myrtle, palm and willow branches (lulav) which are bound together and held in the right hand, while the etrog (citrus fruit) is held in the left hand and waved together by individuals at the appropriate time during the synagogue services.

John described Him [Jesus] as the Word that was made flesh and “dwelt” (God in a sukkah/booth) among us (John 1:14). The resurrected Messiah ascended to Heaven and the Spirit descended to dwell not just among us, but in us. The Church, every believer, is God’s sukkah (Ephesians 2:22).

The Orthodox Jewish people actually build a sukkah on their house to celebrate this feast.  I coerced Ben into driving through Boro Park so I could take a picture and show you what they look like!

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
Some are bought, and look very “professional” and nice.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
Some are just plywood panels.  Most sukkahs that I have seen are on the terrace or in the front yard.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
This one is more like a tent.  Some are just tarps over a frame.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
I really wanted a picture of a blue sukkah, because they are prettier.  Ben was nice enough to drive around until we found this one.

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