My long-time friend and Hebrew Editor, Rimona Frank, has written yet another awesome article.
In it, she points out that we ourselves are contributing to the action of the continual “falling” of David’s Succah and that its restoration has much to do with us as individuals. The article is so interesting that I asked Rimona if we might reproduce it here. For those who may not know it, Rimona is married to Ephraim Frank, whose soul-stirring auto-biography was published, and is proudly offered by Key of David Publishing (see it here: Return to the Land).
I pray that you will read both Ephraim’s book and Rimona’s article, that you will be blessed, and that together, we might become a people who are actively rebuilding David’s Sukkah.
Shalom b’ Yeshua,
The Fallen Booth of David
by Rimona Frank
Shalom Fellow Israelite,
Without much ado, let us plunge into our subject, which has to do with this wonderful season of our celebration. Let us go to Leviticus 23:34-35, where it says: “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to YHVH. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation.” Further in the same chapter, we read the following in verse 43: “… that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am YHVH your Elohim.”
When reading these two scriptures side by side what is the inconsistency that glares at us? Well, in the first reference we are told about the Feast of Tabernacles while in the second, the reason given for celebrating it is to make known the fact that YHVH made the Israelites dwell in “booths” when He brought them/us out of the land of Egypt.
The word Tabernacle is associated with the tabernacle in the desert, just as we read, for example in Exodus 25:8-9: “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (emphasis added). In Hebrew that word for “tabernacle” is “Mishkan,” while the booth that we are to dwell in, as did our forefathers in the desert is “Succah” Sometime the “Mishkan” is also identical with the “Tent of Meeting” (Ohel Mo’ed) as is seen, for instance, in: “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished” (Exodus 39:32). Hence, when we read Revelation 21:3b: “Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. Elohim Himself will be with them and be their Elohim,” the reference is to the “Mishkan of Elohim,” where He will dwell (“yishkon” same root as “mishkan”) with His own. The Greek word for both is derived from “tent” and not a booth or a Succah. The latter has its root in the verb which does not refer to dwelling at all. It means covering or protecting. It can also mean to separate, such as that which divides or distinguishes the outside from the inside. It therefore speaks of a complete, though fragile and temporary, structure with walls or curtains (that which separates the outdoors from the indoors), as well as of the upper covering or roof.
As we saw, the command to dwell in the Succah is associated with remembering Israel’s wilderness homes. In so doing we re-enact that which took place then, much like we do when we participate in the Seder meal on the eve of Passover. Just as by the latter we declare that we too were in Egypt, in our ancestors’ loins, so too in dwelling or sitting in the Succah we proclaim that we are the offspring of that people that was delivered out of Egypt and dwelt in booths (Succahs). Furthermore, we know that our physical constitution is nothing but a temporary house in which we take refuge while living in the desert of this world. And so we read in Psalm 139:13: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me – tesu’keni, made a Succah out of me – in my mother’s womb.”
But this temporary and fragile dwelling is not only mentioned in relationship to the wilderness journey of our ancestors and our own, literal and proverbial, it is also a very significant symbol of a massive restoration which is in the offing: “For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.’ On that day I will raise up the Succah\booth of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they [Israel] may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by My name” (Amos 9:9-12). A different version of this last verse (12) is rendered in Acts 14:17 as: “‘So that the rest of mankind may seek YHVH, even all the nations who are called by My name,’ says YHVH who does all these things.” Whereas in Amos it is the house of Israel that is destined to possess (“yirshu”) the remnant of Edom and all the rest of mankind (Adam), in Acts it is the rest of mankind (Adam) and the nations who are called after YHVH who will seek (“yidreshu”) Him.
One reason for the deviation, is the similarity between the words Edom and Adam, “yirshu” (inherit, possess) and “yidreshu” (seek), being, by the way, a good case in point for proving that the text of Acts was originally composed in Hebrew. However, will it not be when the above takes place, that is when restored Israel inherits the remnant of Edom and all the nations which are called by YHVH’s name, that the latter will seek Him? Thus, these two versions portray what could well be a chronology, which is yet to take place. However, the focus of this study is the “Succha”, so let us return to the “fallen Succah of David.”
Once again the translation deviates from the original, which is not rendered “fallen” – past tense – but “falling” – present continuous. Why is David’s Succah in an on-going state of falling? Well, if it is portraying the essence of YHVH’s kingdom on earth it speaks of a booth, fragile by necessity, that houses the kingdom – that is human beings, a group of people, a nation of YHVH’s choice – Israel, the kingdom of kings and priests. It tells us that the kingdom is not just an idea, concept or theory. No, the kingdom can only consist of YHVH’s presence in a people. David’s Succah, therefore, is not in a static state (of “falleness”) waiting for the kingdom to happen. However, as long as this people – us – past, present and future, is not fully manifesting and exercising the kingdom, the structure of this Succah is “falling, falling, falling…” Such will be the case until the time when each part will take up its (his/hers) designated place; a time when there will be “over all the glory a covering – Chuppa such as in a wedding – and there will be a Succah for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:5b-6). Guess what materials will make up that Succah, after all honor and glory are swallowed up by YHVH’s cloud and flaming fire which He will create over the whole area of Mount Zion? (ref. Isaiah 4:5b).
Is it any wonder then that “the rest of Mankind and all the nations that remain and that are called by His name”… whom we read about above, “will go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Succot” (Zechariah 14:16)? For “in that day YHVH will be One and His name one” (v 9).
We are commanded in Deuteronomy 16:14: “Rejoice in your feast!” Let us delight in obedience!
Chag Same’ach and Shabbat Shalom,
Hebrew Insights into Parashat Ve’zot Habracha
Your thoughts and comments.
We would like to hear from you.