Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Spiritual Lessons from the Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures our moving from faithlessness to believing, from joyless to being joy-filled, from spiritual shakiness to spiritual strength, solid confidence and security. The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to solidify and strengthen the spiritual CHANGES that YEHOVAH God is working in His people Israel -- putting on the New Man in the Messiah, and putting off the Old Man with the lusts and sins of the flesh!
by HOIM Staff
YEHOVAH's Word 'specifically links the Feast of Tabernacles, or "Booths," with the harvest ("Ingathering"), and with the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt, when they traveled in "temporary shelters" or "booths." These "booths" themselves are also linked with the harvest. In Celebrate the Feasts, Martha Zimmerman points out that "Sukkot" was the name of a city or town -- and was the first "stopping off" place for the Israelites as they left the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:37). Sukkot was also the name of a region to the east of Egypt -- see our article Where Was the "Land" of Succoth?
We also read of a place named "Sukkoth" in Canaan. This was the city where, we read, "And Jacob journeyed to Succoth; and built for himself a house, and made booths [sukkot] for his livestock, therefore the place is named Sukkoth" (Genesis 33:17).
The Lesson of FAITH
Why does YEHOVAH God command that we build make-shift, fragile, temporary "booths" or "huts" during the Feast? What is the lesson in this? There is a very special, deep, and profoundly meaningful lesson in the sukkah. Notice!
"While the Israelites were wandering the desert with nothing -- not even the ability to provide for their own basic needs -- they had to recognize and rely on God as the means of their survival. He provided manna for food (Exo. 16:4-16), clouds for shelter (Exodus 33:4-17; Numbers 9:15-23), water to drink (Exodus 15:22-25; 17:5-7; Num. 20:7-12), and conditions to prevent their clothing from deteriorating (Deut. 29:4). His sukkot -- protection -- inspired in them the faith that they would reach the designated Land, as promised.
"Once they arrived, they planted and harvested foodstuffs, built houses, dug wells, and wove and sewed garments. But they were not to then feel that they were self-sufficient. All they created and enjoyed, while developed through their own efforts, was no less provided by God than the desert sustenance had been. Though much more obvious in times of want, the booths they lived in for a week each year were reminders of how they began, and that regardless of their state, whatever they had came from the Supreme Provider and Protector. As Torah warned when this was readily recognized, 'When you later have prosperity, be careful that you do not say to yourself, "It was my own strength and personal power that brought me all this." You must remember that it is God your Lord Who gives you the power to become prosperous' (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)" (Celebrate the Feasts, p. 216).
The lesson of the "sukkah" is that YEHOVAH God is the true eternal shelter for His people Israel. His protection and providence is a daily need for each one of us. He is the canopy over our heads, and our true protection from the vicissitudes of life. True protection does not come from national barriers or four walls, whether they are concrete or wood, or steel-reinforced. The solid wall (Maginot Line) protecting the Israelite nation of France did not save them from the onslaught of the Nazi blitzkrieg in World War II. Neither did the isolation of Hawaii protect the U.S. naval fleet at Pearl Harbor from surprise Japanese attack. In one moment, enemy attack, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado can rip apart a solidly built construction, and deal death to its inhabitants. True security comes only from YEHOVAH God in heaven.
Therefore, the sukkah built during the Feast of Tabernacles is to remind those of us descendants of Israel of the true "sukkah" of YEHOVAH's protection, and our dependence and reliance upon Him for safety and survival. YEHOVAH God delivered His people from Egypt in fragile, flimsy, sukkahs, built of branches of trees and leafy boughs -- teaching us and reminding us today of the transitory fragility of human life, and how utterly dependent we truly are upon the living God.
Mitch and Zhava Glaser in The Fall Feasts of Israel declare:
"The impermanent, vulnerable, leafy shelters were to remind the Israelites of God's faithfulness during their forty years of wandering in the desert. The booths symbolized man's need to depend on God for His provision of food, water and shelter...
"In ancient Israel, booths were in common use throughout the land. The Hebrew word sukkah originally meant 'woven.' Temporary shelters were woven together from branches and leaves to protect livestock (Gen. 33:17), to provide resting places for warriors during battle (II Samuel 11:11), to shelter watchers in the vineyard (Isaiah 1:8), and to protect the people from the incessant heat of the merciless Middle-Eastern sun. During harvest time, Israelite fields were dotted with such booths, woven hastily together as temporary homes for the harvesters" (p. 157).
Rabbi Irving Greenberg declares in his fascinating book The Jewish Way:
"The sukkah, the booth, is the central symbol of the ancient Israelites' trust and hope for forty years in the desert. The Hebrews left the protection of man-made thick walls to place themselves under the protection of God. Exposed to dangerous natural conditions and hostile roving bands, they placed their confidence in the divine concern, which is the only true source of security....
"The halachic requirements for the construction of a sukkah attempt to capture the fragility and openness of the booths...By deliberately giving up solid construction, Jews admit their vulnerability and testify that the ultimate trust is in the DIVINE shelter [that is, in YEHOVAH God Himself]" (p. 99).
Avraham Vaakov Finkel in The Essence of the Holy Days: Insights from the Jewish Sages, tells us more about the sukkah experience. He relates --
"The sukkah is a reminder of the huts in which God made the children of Israel live during their forty-year journey through the wilderness and of the Clouds of Glory that protected them on their wanderings. As a Jew sits in the sukkah, under the shelter of the s'chach [roof], surrounded by family and friends, he cannot help but feel God's sheltering Hand enveloping him. His spirit soars as he realizes that true happiness is found only in the eternal values of Torah and mitzvot, that material possessions offer no security, and that THE SHIELD OF FAITH is the only protection he can rely on. He is aware that, like his stay in the sukkah, life on earth is unstable and transitory. Gazing at the stars shimmering through the greenery of the s'chach, he experiences a closeness to God that is almost palpable. This nearness to God is the source of his simchah, the exhilarating gladness that is the hallmark of Sukkot" (p. 80).
The sukkah is referred to as the "SHELTER OF FAITH" in the Ohel Torah. Finkel quotes the Kotzker rabbi:
"The sukkah is called tzila dimehemenuta, the shelter of faith. It teaches you to leave behind all your worldly concerns and to dedicate yourself to God with total self-effacing faith in His mercy and compassion. If you have attained this level of self-negating faith, you feel no pain or discomfort. That is why a person who feels discomfort is exempt from the mitzvah of eating in the sukkah. Feeling discomfort proves that he has not reached the point of total self-nullification.
"Because he has not grasped the meaning of the sukkah, any further stay there is of no benefit to him. Therefore, he is exempt from the obligation" (p. 83).
Rabbi Chanoch of Alexander, in the Zohar, points out that the sukkah is also looked upon as the "shade of faith. " This is because the walls and roof of the sukkah are so fragile and impermanent and unstable and precarious, that it expresses our complete and total dependence on YEHOVAH God, and our boundless trust in His protection.
Joel Ziff in Mirrors in Time, describes the "sukkah" in terms of "change" in our lives. He shows how the experience of the "sukkah" leads to our changing, and transformation, as human beings. He asserts:
"For the Israelites in the desert, the sukkah provided a new home after they left slavery in Egypt. The sukkah links us to that arche-typal experience of CHANGE. In this spirit, we begin to build the sukkah immediately after the end of Yom Kippur. We move out of the permanent shelter which we habitually regard as home. We move into a new home and establish it as a center for the activities of daily life...We set aside a full week for prayer, celebration, and community.
"In some respects, the image of the sukkah evokes the wandering in the desert associated with the counting of the omer. However, there are significant differences. After Pesach, we are thrust into an alien environment; we are confused and dependent...On Sukkot, we experience our competence, autonomy, and power as we build our own shelter. Our joy is built on a solid foundation as we celebrate our achievements. The image of the sukkah as a symbol of CHANGE helps us become aware of how we have been TRANSFORMED as a result of the process of self-reflection which has just been completed" (p. 236).
Says Joel Ziff, "We not only change, but we also enjoy the change. The rituals [of Sukkot] emphasize sensual pleasure and enjoyment. They are performed with a focus on joy and celebration. We are encouraged to select a lulav and etrog which are especially beautiful so as to enhance our pleasure" (ibid.).
Ziff goes on, showing how the Feast of Sukkot relates to "change":
"The experience of joy and celebration on Sukkot helps us discover and express our own positive feelings. In the process of self-development, it is important not only that we change; we must also experience those changes as positive, pleasurable, and satisfying. As we change our coping responses, we also experience a change in the results. We are better able to resolve the problem that previously overwhelmed or frustrated us. Our self-confidence and self-esteem is enhanced because we feel more power and competence as well as the satisfaction of being able to make changes and take more control of our lives. The pleasure and satisfaction we feel reinforces our commitment to the process and enhances our motivation and our energy. This joy is more mature and dependable than the joy we experience at the time of liberation from slavery or the giving of the Torah because it is grounded in the reality of human failure and the capacity to learn from our mistakes" (p. 237)..
Thus, the Feast of Sukkot pictures YEHOVAH's people Israel moving from faithlessness to believing, from joyless to being joy-filled, from spiritual shakiness to spiritual strength, solid confidence and security. The Feast of Sukkot is a time to solidify and strengthen the spiritual CHANGES that YEHOVAH God is working in our nature -- putting on the New Man in the Messiah, and putting off the Old Man with the lusts and sins of the flesh!
The Lesson of Sheer JOY
Concerning the Feast of Sukkot, the Bible states, vehayita ach same'ach -- that is, "and you shall remain ONLY JOYFUL" (Deuteronomy 16:14, 15). In the King James Version, we read in verse 14, "thou shalt rejoice," and in verse 15, "thou shalt surely rejoice." The Jewish Tanakh has this passage, however, as follows:
"After the INGATHERING from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold the Feast of Booths for seven days. You shall REJOICE in your festival, with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your communities. You shall hold the festival for the LORD your God seven days, in the place that the LORD will choose: for the LORD your God will bless all your crops and all your undertakings, and you shall have NOTHING BUT JOY" (Tanakh).
The command "you shall rejoice" is literally "you shall remain joyful." This turns the attitude of rejoicing into the permanent trait of joyfulness in your personality. The words "nothing but joy" means that this joyfulness in your character and personality must persist, even under the most dire of circumstances or duress of trials and disappointments in life.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch expounds this passage in this way:
"The command 'you shall remain joyful' turns your rejoicing into a permanent trait of your personality, and the words 'only joyful' mean that this joyfulness in your character will persist even under circumstances that would otherwise tend to cast a cloud over it. You will remain joyful in spite of everything, 'only' joyful. Simchah, rejoicing, is the most sublime flower and fruit to open on the tree of life planted by the Law of God. In the same spirit, the joyfulness to which the present verse refers is not restricted to festivals and festive gatherings but extends beyond the festive seasons and accompanies us back into everyday life, from the exuberance of the festive assemblies into the quiet privacy of our homes, and remains with us through all the vicissitudes of life...to be joyful in spite of everything, whatever life may bring: vehayita ach same'ach" (The Essence of the Holy Days, p. 88).
This sublime and supreme joyousness was expressed at the Feast in a special way during the "Water-Drawing Ceremony," every evening and night of the Feast. Isaiah wrote, "JOYFULLY shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3). This was the theme behind the daily water-drawing ceremony at the Temple. As happy throngs filled the Temple, and the Levitical orchestra played on, with giant lamps lighting up Jerusalem, the priests drew water from the pool of Siloam, and carried it in a procession to the Temple, where it was poured upon the altar, with huge blazing candelabra casting their magnificent light over the proceedings.
Says the Mishnah, expressing the euphoria and rapture of the event, "If you have not seen the rejoicing of Bet Hasho'evah you have not witnessed joy in all your life" (Sukkah 53a).
Rabbi Irving Greenberg tells us of the joy of Sukkot, pointing out that it reflects a "mature joy." He writes:
"One fundamental criterion of a life well lived is love of life. It is terribly important, therefore, to enjoy life as it goes along. Joy cannot be postponed. Life as is is of infinite value.
"There is another dimension to the focus on joy on this holiday. Those who serve out of obligation, such as those who are in servitude, do not find joy in their work. The joy of sukkot reflects maturity. It is the happiness of the free person who chooses to live this way, who prefers this mission to all other alternatives. There is an inner joy even in the struggle against obstacles, the joy of choice and of anticipation of the goal" (The Jewish Way, p. 114).
"Constant renewal of joy makes life on the Exodus road worthwhile in itself. Thence comes the strength to persist. The suffering self is, at some level, at war with itself and its biological -- if not spiritual -- need for satisfaction. The joyous self, properly fulfilled, can be UNIFIED in body and soul, and love God and humanity with the whole heart" (p. 115).
The Talmud tells us, "The Shekinah (Divine Presence of YEHOVAH God) comes upon us neither out of sadness nor out of raucous laughter...but out of the joy of mitzvah."
This lesson of joyfulness teaches we Israelites that as Christians we ought to be joyful and filled with overflowing joy all the year around, because of the steadfast hope we have in the Messiah. As James wrote, "My brethren, count it all JOY when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3). Peter pointed out that we Israelites are "begotten to a living hope" (I Peter 1:3) through the Messiah "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away...In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials" (v. 4-6). Peter says that these trials test the genuineness of our faith, "though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with JOY INEXPRESSIBLE and full of glory" (I Peter 1:7-8).
The apostle Paul tells us that one of the chief fruits of YEHOVAH's holy spirit is real joy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, self control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Ezra told the Israelites assembled to observe YEHOVAH's Festivals, in his day, "For the JOY of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).
The Feast of Tabernacles teaches those of us of Israel to express and shower forth this exuberant joy!
LOVE and The Four Species
The four species of plants waved before the LORD, in celebrating the Festival of Sukkot, are called Arba Minim in Hebrew. Jewish rabbis have several explanations for the meaning of these fruits and boughs. Symbolically, the four species represent the four kinds of people that make up a congregation or community of Israel. The etrog or citron, a tasty fruit which also has a pleasant aroma, represents the righteous people who have both Torah (Bible) knowledge and good deeds (or works). The lulav, or branch of a date palm, produces a sweet fruit, but has no aroma or fragrance. This represents the person who has Torah knowledge (such as a scholar), but is lacking in good deeds. He is deficient in good works. Then the hassidim, or sweet-smelling myrtle, is the person who has good deeds, but may not have much technical knowledge -- this person does good works, but is deficient in knowledge or scholarship. The majority of people may fall into this category. Finally, there is the willow, or aravot. This species grows near the water, and needs water, but is odorless and tasteless -- representing the person lacking in both knowledge and good deeds.
All four types of people can be found in a typical community or congregation of Israelites. Says Finkel:
"Thus the lulav bundle symbolizes the totality of the Jewish people, all extending a helping hand to one another, all striving toward the same goals: Fulfillment of Torah to the best of their abilities and thereby proclamation to all humankind that God is the Creator and Maker of the universe" (p. 80).
In the book Celebrate! we read of the profound significance of the waving of the lulav to the six directions:
"The qualities of the four species are likened to those of four categories of Jews. The etrog, possessing both taste and aroma, stands for Jews who have knowledge of Torah and do good deeds. The palm's fruit (date) with taste but no aroma, represents people with Torah knowledge. The myrtle, with no taste but aroma, represents the opposite, and willow, with neither aroma or taste, stands for those self-concerned and ignorant of Torah.
"We serve God with all four elements held together, the spiritually lofty with the mundane, the scholar, aristocrat, merchant, and laborer. In society, all elements must likewise hold together, so that the wise and righteous can influence those less so, and because each contributes its part to society's functioning and progress when they UNITE for COMMON WELFARE. As our sages put it, 'As one does not fulfill his duty on Sukkot unless all four species are bound together, so some will not be redeemed unless all Jews hold together.' A strong message about the need for UNITY among our diverse segments" (p. 222).
Another analogy of the "lulav" is to compare the palm branch to the backbone in the human body -- which gives strength and uprightness -- righteousness. The myrtle then is compared to the eyes, with which we see. The etrog is comparable to the heart, with which we understand, have compassion, and empathize with others. And the willow is comparable to the mouth, which speaks words and communicates (or fails to do so). In this picture, then, we must use ALL FOUR SPECIES -- backbone, heart, eyes, and mouth -- to serve YEHOVAH God and our fellow Israelites, to do the Work of YEHOVAH God, and to fulfill the purpose for which YEHOVAH placed us on this earth -- to be His Partners in Creation!
A Spanish Rabbi, Aaron Halevi, at the end of the thirteenth century, in a book called Sefer HaHinukh ("The Book of Education") illustrated this basic, underlying principle in these words:
". . . Since the rejoicing [of the holiday of Sukkot] might cause us to forget the fear of God, He, praised be He, has commanded us to hold in our hands at that time certain objects which should remind us that all the joy of our hearts is for Him and His glory. It was His will that the reminder be the four species...for they are all a delight to behold. In addition, the four species can be compared to four valuable parts of the body. The etrog [citron] is like the heart, which is the temple of the intellect, thus alluding that man should serve his Creator with his intellect. The lulav is like the spinal cord [or backbone], which is essential for the body, alluding that one should direct one's entire body to His service, praised be He. The myrtle is like the eyes, alluding that one should not be led astray after his eyes on a day when his heart rejoices. The willow branch is like the lips. We complete our actions through speech, and thus the willow branch alludes to the fact that we should control our mouth and the words that issue from it, fearing God, praised be He, even at a time of rejoicing."
Learning to use all our resources and senses to serve YEHOVAH God is no easy task. Worshiping YEHOVAH with all our being requires diligent effort and focus. Solomon wrote, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil" (Proverbs 4:23-27).
As the apostle Paul writes: "For ye [Israelites] are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:20). Also, Paul wrote: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31). Paul adds, "And whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17). This is a full-time commission -- a full-time job!!!
Out-going and Extended Love
During the Feast of Sukkot, the people of the congregation of Israel take the Four Species -- the lulav, etrog, hassidim, and aravot -- and hold the etrog or citron in their left hand, with the pitam facing down, and the bundle of the palm branch, myrtle, and willow in the right hand. After reciting the blessing, the etrog is turned over, with the pitam pointed upward, and the bundle of the lulav in the right hand is waved in front of the person, then in back, to the right side, then to the left, upward and then downward -- the six directions -- as they parade or march around the room, as our forefathers marched around the altar at the Temple, singing praises and shouting hoshanahs to YEHOVAH God, "Save us," "Help us," "Deliver us," "Blessed by Thy Name," "Blessed be the Name of the LORD," and so forth.
What does this picture for we Israelites today? Marching around the room, or altar in Temple times, pictures our faith in YEHOVAH God, calling to Him to save us. On the final day of Hoshana Rabbah, as we march around the room seven times, this reminds us of the Israelites, who marched around the city of Jericho seven times -- and then they shouted, Hoshana Rabbah, "Save us!" and YEHOVAH God smote the walls of Jericho and caused them to fall flat in a mighty earthquake! Performing this together, as one body, pictures SPIRITUAL UNITY!
The fact that we do this together, as a congregation of Israel, even as Israel marched around Jericho as a congregation, reminds us that we are in this spiritual struggle and fight together -- we need each other -- and we must help one another! When ancient Israel marched into the Promised Land, so long as they were united, as one, and obedient, YEHOVAH God gave them miraculous victories over powerful nations. But when disunity occurred, and some disobeyed, then even the smallest city, like tiny Ai, could overwhelm and defeat the Israelite armies!
When we Israelites are united in truth, then we are powerful by the spirit of YEHOVAH God flowing through us and out from us. Therefore, Paul wrote, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no DIVISIONS among you, but that you be PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER IN THE SAME MIND and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10).
As David wrote, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren [of Israel] to dwell together in UNITY! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion: For there the LORD commanded the blessing -- Life forevermore" (Psalm 133:1-3).
Joel Ziff, in Mirrors in Time, tells us how the experience of the Feast of Sukkot teaches us the lesson of community, sharing, and loving one another. He writes:
"We do not limit ourselves to the symbols of support and nurturance; the sukkah ritual encourages us to the actual experience as we feed one another. We invite guests into our sukkah and accept invitations [or we dine out together, and enjoy the fellowship of one another] from our neighbors. Difficulty in coping successfully with our stresses is often exacerbated by isolation and alienation. When we regard our problems as too overwhelming or difficult, we tend to expect others to be disinterested or unable to help. As a result of the changes we have made during the Days of Awe, we are more open, honest, and responsive. Others who have similarly worked to change themselves are also more open, honest, and responsive. On this Holy-Day, we strengthen the BONDS WITH OTHERS, feeling the ability to GIVE TO OTHERS and to receive from them" (p. 239).
Ziff continues this theme, showing how the Feast of Sukkot focuses our attention away from selves and outward to others, teaching us the lessons of giving and sharing. He writes:
"In contrast to the inward turning quality of the Days of Awe, on Sukkot, our energies EXTEND OUT. In the ritual of the four species, we make the blessing and then point the lulav to each of the SIX DIRECTIONS -- south, west, north, east, upward, and downward. In the Hoshanot and in the Hakafot, we circumnabulate the synagogue in a PARADE. We emphasize prayers for peace and prosperity, for water for our crops, not only for ourselves as a people but for ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. We extend OUTWARD towards others as well. We SHARE our meals in the sukkah, and we join hands and voices as we celebrate with singing, dancing, and merry-making. The ritual thereby helps us turn our energies outward as well. As we experience changes in ourselves, we begin to translate those changes into our activity in the world. We are energized by our experience and move naturally outward" (p. 239).
Joel Ziff concludes this theme, saying, "Sukkot serves as a BRIDGE by helping us translate our experience of Essence on Yom Kippur so that we can apply and integrate what we have learned into everyday life activity" (ibid.).
In other words, Sukkot teaches we Israelites to express love, which is out-going, and which is the very nature and fundamental character of YEHOVAH God Himself.
As the apostle John wrote: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born [begotten] of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us [Israelites], that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
"Beloved, if God so loved us [Israelites], we also ought to love one another....
"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (I John 4:7-16).
As Yeshua said so plainly, we must learn to really "love one another" (John 13:34). He added, "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have LOVE for one another" (v. 35). He added, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).
Yeshua prayed to the Father that his Church would truly be unified, even as he and the Father are in total unified agreement (John 17:11). He prayed that true Israelite Christians "all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me. And the glory which You gave me I have given them, that they may be ONE just as We are one: I in them, and You in me; that they may be made perfect in one..." (John 17:21-23).
Peter put it plainly: "And above all things, have FERVENT CHARITY [LOVE] among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" (I Peter 4:8). And as Paul wrote: "And above all these things put on CHARITY [LOVE], which is the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:14).
True brotherly love creates perfect unity. The strong help to uphold the weak, the rich help to support the poor, and everybody adds his particular strength and gift and talent to the pool, so that all Israelite Christians may be nourished and strengthened in faith, hope, and love.
The apostle Paul sums it up nicely. He wrote: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely; does not seek its own; is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails....
"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love" (I Corinthians 13:4-13).
The "booths" of the Feast remind those of us of Israel of our need for FAITH. The command to "rejoice" reminds us of our eternal HOPE, our calling and destiny in life, by the grace of YEHOVAH God and His goodness. The "lulav" reminds us of our need to develop LOVE for others in our heart and soul -- true godly compassion and chesed -- which is translated "loving-kindness."
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