Posts Tagged With: Sukkot

The Vinedresser, the True Vine, and the Branches

The month of Elul is often called the month of repentance, as it is a time to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and the last great festival of Sukkot. This traditional period of return is an opportunity to examine one’s life and the fruit that is being produced. What needs to be uprooted? What needs to be pruned? What needs to be nourished? It’s the season to set things right with Adonai and our fellowman. While these things should be a daily exercise, the moedim (feast days) direct the path of the righteous to dedicate this season, the time of harvest, to give an honest account of one’s soul.

The moedim center around agriculture and harvest. During the month of Elul, Adonai our King is “in the field” and people are His planting. We are His vineyard, and He is looking for fruit that will be judged at the High Holy Days. While the King is in the field, He is particularly accessible, as near as a co-laborer and a friend. Yeshua says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” During Elul the vintage begins; may we submit to His tender affections, pruning, and cleansing before He returns to the Throne of Judgment on the High Holy Days. His desire is for us to enter Sukkot, the figurative end-time harvest and wedding feast, clean and sealed in Him with a heart that is altogether joyful.

 

John 15:1-15  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  3  “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  4  “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6  “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  7  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8  “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  9  “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  10  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  11  “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  12  “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  13  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  14  “You are My friends if you do what I command you.  15  “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

 

Deut. 16:11-15  and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.  12  “You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.  13  “You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat;  14  and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.  15  “Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

 

 

Categories: Moedim, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tu B’Shevat

tree15th of Shevat (eleventh month)

February 11th, 2017 (begins at sundown on the 10th)

Rosh HaShannah La’ilanot

As of late, I’ve been reading a very interesting book called, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. While this isn’t a spiritual book, I cannot help but notice once again how the natural things teach spiritual truths. In the book, Mr. Wohlleben explains the marvelous activities of trees in life, death, and regeneration. Trees (in forests) live, communicate, support, and tend to one another. They detect and warn others of parasites and insects that cause harm, and can even release toxins to kill such threats. Deep in the soil, their roots work with fungi, creating a biological internet to communicate and share vital nutrients with sick trees and even the stumps of fallen family members, keeping them alive. However, trees can also shun other trees, robbing them of nutrients and sunlight. They tend to share only with those that are direct family members.

Interestingly, humans could not survive on earth without trees. They produce most of the oxygen that people and animals breathe. There would be no rain without trees, since trees absorb water from the soil and release it through evapotranspiration back into the air in the form of clouds. Forests are earth’s air filters, without which, we’d all die from pollutants. Trees prevent topsoil erosion, break the force of wind and rain, and their decaying leaves enrich the soil for other trees and plants.

In the Bible, trees (etz) were created on the third day, linking them with the Spirit of Counsel (Etzah), the Feast of early Firstfruits, and resurrection. The Biblical imagery of trees and their direct comparison to people is astounding. In fact, the only person that required a second touch from Yeshua for healing exclaimed, I see men like trees, walking.” (Mark 8:24 NKJV) Yeshua actually spit in this blind man’s eyes. I am of the opinion that Yeshua’s saliva “over-healed” this man, if you will, and he saw too well (spiritual), requiring an additional touch (a tamping down) to see as a man.

People have trunks and limbs. They grow roots, have seeds, and produce fruit. Trees and people feel pain and bleed when wounded. Both breathe and sway (move) when the wind (ruach) blows upon them. The growth of trees and people are deeply affected by the type of soil, the volume of water, and the amount of sunlight that they receive. Even the House (Temple) of YHWH is built with both trees and people. (2 Chron. 2, 1 Cor. 6:19) Thus, it is no wonder that the Scriptures abound with analogies, metaphors, similes, and puns that compare mankind to the majestic trees of the field.

In this post, I hope to illuminate the surprising connections between the month of Shevat, trees (seed to fruit), Messiah, resurrection, water, and Torah. My hope is that you will be inspired to explore Judaism’s traditional New Year for Trees with fresh eyes, like the healed blind man. Tu B’Shevat or Shevat 15th is not mentioned in the Torah. However, it is mentioned in the Mishnah, where it is called the New Year for Trees.[1] Why in the world do trees need a new year and what benefit is this for a follower of Messiah?

First, it is helpful to understand the four different Rosh Hashanim[2] or New Years celebrated in Judaism. They are the following:

  • Nisan 1st is Rosh Hashanah for the festival or feast day calendar. (Ex. 12:2) It is also Rosh Hashanah for calculating the years of the reign of the Kings of Israel. No matter when a king was crowned, his first year ended and his second year began on that day. Thus, if a king was anointed in the month of Adar, the following month of Nissan would be the beginning of the second year of his reign.
  • Elul 1st is Rosh Hashanah for the tithing of animals. A farmer is obligated to tithe his livestock, consecrating every tenth animal. But all ten animals counted must be born in the same year. The 1st of Elul became the mark to separate the year for tithing cattle.
  • Tishrei 1st is Rosh Hashanah for years, for Sabbatical years and Jubilees, and for the judgment of mankind. It is also Rosh Hashanah for the calculation of orlah (the first three years of a fruit tree when its produce may not be eaten[3]), and for the tithes separated from grains and vegetables.
  • Shevat 15th or Tu b’Shevat is Rosh Hashanah for trees. The sages designated the fifteenth of Shevat as the boundary between one year and another regarding fruit trees for tithing fruit. All fruits which blossom before Shevat 15 are a product of the rains of the previous year, and are tithed together with the crops of the previous year. Fruits that grow after this date are produce of the new year. Like Elul 1st and the new year for cattle, this demarcation was instituted so one could tithe without confusion.

dsc_0687Below, we will briefly examine the following relationships:

  • The Early and Latter Rains (Water and Torah)
  • Pesach and Sukkot (Trees, People, and Torah)
  • Celebrating Tu B’Shevat (Seder: Wine, Seeds, & Fruit)

 

Early and Latter Rains

The roots for Tu B’Shevat are found four months prior when Sukkot is celebrated. One of the major themes for the Feast of Tabernacles is water, especially in the form of rain. Prayers are offered up for rains in their season, which is a direct reference to the early rains in Israel.

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain (matar) for your land in its season, the early (yoreh) and late rain (malqosh), that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. (Dt. 11:13-14)

Rain in season is essential for trees that will bloom in spring. Thus, the prayers and water ceremonies from Sukkot look forward to the future feast and harvest cycles of the coming festival New Year of Nisan. The timing of the early and latter rains in Israel can be confusing to a westerner. We tend to associate the early part of the year with January or spring, but in Hebraic thought the civil year begins in the fall with the 1st of Tishrei. Thus, when the Bible speaks of the early rains, it is implying the time just after Sukkot in the fall. The latter rains fall near Pesach (Passover).

So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. (Joel 2:23 NASB) 

In Hebrew, the word for “early rain” in the underlined phrase above is moreh (H4175). This is also the word for TEACHER. The actual word for early rain is yoreh as used in Deuteronomy above. However, Joel chose to use one of its cognates, moreh, to ensure that we didn’t miss his connection between rain and teaching. They both share the Hebrew root yarah, meaning to cast or throw (like an arrow). This is also the root word for Torah!

The Torah of Adonai is like an arrow being shot to its target. It delivers precise information from teacher to student. It is also like the gentle rains that fall from heaven to soften up the soil (hearts) to receive His Seed.

“Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb. (Dt. 32:2)

The NASB of Joel 2:23 states that YHWH gives the Teacher or early rains for our vindication, but the Hebrew texts actually says it is for our tzedakah or righteousness. Perhaps Young’s Literal Translation of this verse will put this into perspective:

And ye sons of Zion, joy and rejoice, In Jehovah your God, For He hath given to you the Teacher for righteousness, And causeth to come down to you a shower, Sprinkling and gathered—in the beginning. (Joel 2:23 YLT)

Very simply, the early rains are associated with the Teacher of Righteousness and His Word, the Torah. Why? Because the Word is a Seed and seeds require rain or water to sprout and grow and eventually produce fruit that has more of the same seed within it. The early rains (Torah) also soften the hard earth after a long, hot summer, allowing seeds to be planted in favorable soil.

Tu B’Shevat occurs between the early and latter rains. At this point, sap begins to rise through the veins of trees, pricking them to awaken from their winter sleep. This mirrors resurrection, new life, and renewal. Dormant seeds know that the time to spring from their earthly graves is near. Thus, the month of Shevat, the time between Sukkot and Pesach, is pregnant with the energy of new life. In fact, the sages teach that on the 15th of Shevat, a unique wave of Divine energy flows through all of creation as a forerunner to restoration and rebirth (in spring).

dsc_0773It was on the first day of the Hebrew month of Shevat that Moses recited the book of Deuteronomy to the people of Israel. Once again, this links Shevat with receiving the Seed and the Rain, YHWH’s divine instructions:

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them. (Dt. 1”1-3)

Sukkot and Pesach

The Teacher of Righteousness (Messiah) was given to Israel in the season of the early rains, as He was born during Sukkot. He was also the Living Waters and the Lamb needed at Passover in the spring when the latter rains saturate Israel. If this still seems a little backwards to you, consider that time is a cycle or circle in Hebraic thought and that Passover and Sukkot mirror one another.

For example, Pesach and Sukkot are exactly six months apart and like Tu B’Shevat they always occur on the 15th of their respective month. This means that all three dates occur on the full moon when there is the most physical and spiritual light in the darkness. Both Passover and Sukkot commemorate the exodus from Egypt, slavery, and bondage. Moreover, they are the only two festivals that the Torah specifically calls a chag rather than a moed in Leviticus 23. The Hebrew word chag means to make a cycle or circle with your feet.[4]

lulavOne of the most astounding links between Tu B’Shevat and Sukkot are the commanded four species that are waved during the festival.

On the first day you are to take choice fruit of trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before Adonai your God for seven days. (Lev. 23:40 TLV) 

Have you ever wondered why trees are used to commemorate the Israelite’s trek through the desert? We know that their diet consisted of manna from Heaven and water from a Rock. Could it be that the trees (Lulav and Etrog) that are waved at Sukkot represent the people? The Torah asks us a rather odd question in Deuteronomy 20:19, “Is the tree of the field a man?” While the context deals with war and is meant to define which trees can be cut down as tools to besiege a city, the association with men and trees are found elsewhere. Consider these verses:

But I—I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God. I trust in God’s lovingkindness forever and ever. (Ps. 52:10 TLV) 

 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green. (Ps. 92:12-14 NASB)

“They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. (Is. 65:22)

Does Sukkot’s mirror, Passover, have any associations with trees? Yes! The people were to take hyssop branches to apply the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts and lintels. (Ex.12:22) Many centuries later, on another Passover, Yeshua was crucified on a tree. When death was nearly upon him, he said, “I thirst.” They took a hyssop branch with a sponge on the end of it and soaked it in vinegar and myrrh. They lifted it up to his mouth, but Yeshua refused it. (Mt. 27:34, Mark 15:23, John 19:29) The hyssop tree is also mentioned along with the Torah, water, people and the blood of the covenant:

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” (Heb. 9:19-20)

Trees are intrinsic to both the beginning and the end. In Genesis, we see both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Revelation, Trees of Life line the banks of the River of Life. In Proverbs 3, the Spirit of Wisdom is a Tree of Life to those that cling to her. In Jewish tradition, the large spindles that carry Torah scrolls are called Trees of Life and the many sections of parchment are called its leaves.

The holy seven-branched menorah is also a Tree of Life, and is modeled after the almond tree. Interestingly, almond trees are the first trees to “wake-up” and bloom in Israel. The imagery of light, oil, buds, blossoms, and, eyes all add to the heavenly pattern of the menorah/tree being a symbol of resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Hebrew word for tree, etz, is the same word for counsel, etzah. Thus, we find wise counselors like Abraham and Deborah near trees.

dsc_0701Messiah compares our ability to understand and discern His truth with four different types of soil receiving Seed[5], which are amazingly similar to the four-species waved at Sukkot. According to Yeshua, it is entirely possible to hear and see and not understand. Understanding is another Spirit of G-d, Binah.

Our good works and outward treatment of others is likened to fruit. Since we cannot possibly know the heart of another person, Yeshua reminds us that a tree is known by its fruit, for it reveals the seed from which it sprouted. (Mt. 12:33-37) YHWH even gave specific instructions for fruit trees in the Torah:

‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the LORD. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the LORD your God. (Lev. 19:23-25 NKJV)

Thus, discernment is key. For even if the fruit we see and taste came from good seed, it can still be uncircumcised and unfit for consumption in its sour immaturity. People are inherently connected with seeds, trees, and fruit. Hopefully, the tree we choose to partake of is the Tree of Life and not the one that simply makes one wise with the knowledge of good and evil. We must choose life.

The counterfeit tree is deceitful and its fruit enticing. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of himself and his kingdom that YHWH equated to a mighty tree. (Dan. 4:10-16) Moreover, the wicked are planted in the earth like tree:

I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. (Ps. 37:35)

Israel is to be like the precious fruit trees that grow from the Seed of the Torah (Messiah) into a flourishing plant that gives sustenance and shade to others. Birds, like the sweet dove of the Holy Spirit, will nest in such branches. (Mt. 13:31-32) Notice the imagery and links between counsel, Torah, water, trees, leaves, and fruit that the psalmist uses in Psalm 1:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

In Romans 11, the Jewish people are called the holy, natural branches of an olive tree. Those of the nations are grafted into this tree and receive the same rich sap from its Root. Paul warns the grafted-in wild branches to not become arrogant against the natural branches, but rather to FEAR. Judah indeed holds a scepter of authority over the House of YHWH.[6] Not coincidently, the Hebrew word for scepter is shevet, the very name of this month (Shevat)![7] It also means a scion (graft), branch, rod, shepherd’s staff, and even a tribe.

In modern times, Jews have been planting trees in the land of Israel to honor righteous Gentiles such as Oscar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom, who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.[8] These trees are planted in Jerusalem at the Holocaust museum in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem.

As you can see, the connections with people and trees are many. I have only briefly explored this concept. If nothing else, I hope you are inspired to research trees in Scripture during this season of transition. I pray that you bloom in the rich soil in which Adonai has planted you and that you continue to draw life giving nutrients from our Root, Yeshua.

Trees

By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see 
 A poem lovely as a tree. 
 A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
 Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; 
 A tree that looks at God all day, 
 And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 
 A tree that may in summer wear 
 A nest of robins in her hair; 
 Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
 Who intimately lives with rain. 
 Poems are made by fools like me, 
 But only God can make a tree.

 

Celebrating Tu B’Shevat

4-speciesHow can we make Tu B’Shevat meaningful? Consider some of the following activities:

  • Plant a tree! Or start some seeds for the spring.
  • Give the gift of fruit (or money) to the needy. Or volunteer to help feed or nurture them.
  • Study trees, tithing and/or the seven species of Israel in the Bible (Dt. 8:8)
  • Prepare a meal that includes various seeds, leaves, and fruit. Discuss with your family.
  • Take a walk or hike through forested land and thank the Creator for the mighty trees.
  • Recite Psalm 104.[9] Or the Psalms of Accent (120-134).
  • Host a Tu B’Shevat Seder. (Explained below.)

Intriguingly, the rabbis have developed a seder, complete with haggadah, to lead the family through the new year for trees, further linking Tu B’Shevat to Passover. Like the Passover haggadah, there many versions to choose from. A basic outline is as follows:

The service often begins by singing Psalm 133 or the “Hinei Ma Tov”. This song recalls our familial connections to Israel’s family TREE. During the ceremony, each participant will drink 4 cups of wine (or juice), starting with white wine, mixing increasing amounts of red wine with white, ending with a glass of red wine. YHWH is blessed before each cup by reciting Kiddush. These four cups symbolize the cycle of life in four seasons:

  • Pure White —represents the winter and the (seeming) void of life. It also symbolizes Day One of creation when divine light is separated from darkness.
  • Pale Pink (white with a few drops of red) —represents the approach of spring, and the splash of red signifies the emergence of color. It also symbolizes Day Two of creation when the earthly (red) and heavenly (white/fire) waters are separated from one another.
  • Dark Pink (a mixture of white and red) —represents the progression of spring. The ground has warmed to allow the seeds to take root, and the plants have started to grow. It also symbolizes Day Three when the waters (white) are gathered and dry land (red) appears with the life of seeds, trees, and fruit.
  • Pure Red —represents the arrival of summer. The trees are in full bloom and filled with fruit, ready for harvest. It also symbolizes Day Four when the sun, moon, and stars were given to govern our clocks and calendars to worship the King in proper seasons (moedim).

In between the cups of wine, participants eat a total of fifteen (or seven) types of nuts and fruits from three categories: fruits/nuts with shells, fruits with pits, and fruits edible inside and out. (Recall the Lulav and Etrog and the Parable of the Sower.) Each type of fruit represents a type of person and is intended to stimulate discussion around the table. The fourth element or fruit is spiritual and is not eaten. To represent the spiritual fourth fruit (Holy Spirit), the fragrance from cloves, cinnamon, rosemary or any other pleasant spice is inhaled by the participants. The entire seder is meant to increase awareness of Tu B’Shevat through nature, prayer, song, story, and dialogue.

The following links may be helpful in creating a meaningful Tu B’Shevat Seder.[10]

My jewish Learning

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along. ‘For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!'” (SOS 2:10-13 NASB)


[1] Rosh HaShana 2a: Chapter I, Mishnah. “There are four new years. On the first of Nissan is new year for kings and for festivals. On the first of Elul is new year for the tithe of cattle. R. Eleazar and R. Simeon, however, place this on the first of Tishri. On the first of Tishri is new year for years, for release and Jubilee years, for plantation and for [tithe of] vegetables. On the first of Shevat is new year for trees, according to the ruling of Beth Shammai; Beth Hillel, however, place it on the fifteenth of that month.”

[2] Shanah, the Hebrew word for year, is a feminine noun. It is one of the “rule breakers” in Hebrew grammar. In the plural, shanah takes the masculine ‘im ending rather than the usual feminine ‘ot.

[3] Lev. 19:23-25

[4] We use our feet to make cyclical pilgrimages to the mountain of YHWH in Jerusalem, hence they are called “foot-festivals.” Chag is also related to the circle dancing or whirling of worship.

[5] And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? (Mark 4:13 NASB)

[6] Gen 49:10  “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

[7] H7626 שֵׁבֶט  shêveṭ  From an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan: –  X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

[8] Moody, Valerie. The Feasts of Adonai: Why Christians Should Look at the Biblical Feasts. Lubbock, TX: Gibbora Productions, 2009. Print. p.143

[9] Psalm 104 is traditionally read on Rosh Chodesh (the new moon), but it’s filled with all the rich imagery we just explored.

[10] Linking to these sites does not suggest that I agree with all their content.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Miriam’s Cup Part III

 

For the best context, read Part I and Part II of Miriam’s Cup. This little study on water, the heavens, the Holy Spirit, Miriam, Baptism, and Pesach can only take us to one place: the fountain of Living Waters found in our Messiah! Please join me in drinking deeply from this wonderful well of life.

© Dnally

© Dnally

Before we proceed to the Living Waters and the Messiah, I would like to revisit Baptism or immersing in a Mikvah. While many Christians (falsely) assume that this ritual began in the Brit Chadashah (N.T.), those that have been returning to their Hebraic Roots are fully aware that this custom is far more ancient.

Genesis begins with water and Revelation ends with a river. The Spirit broods over the Creation waters and the angel shows John (Rev. 22: 1-2) a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Notice that it is the Spirit AND the Bride that say, “Come!” They call to the thirsty and freely allow them to partake of the waters of life (Rev. 22:17). This calling action echoes the woman of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. Later Solomon compares this woman to a precious fountain.[1]

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (Pr. 18:4)

From the beginning, water has been associated with YHWH’s Spirit. What better imagery is there for the Spirit of God than that which causes all plant life to grow, nourishes all livestock, cleanses our bodies and garments, and sustains our overall well-being? Aryeh Kaplan, in his book Waters of Eden, states that, “Water is the primary connection that we have with the Garden of Eden.”[2] We seem to have been given a mystical link to this truth in the Genesis narrative. (Gen. 2) This story is strangely interrupted by an account of a river that is sourced in Eden. It breaks off into 4 tributaries that surround and water the entire garden. There may be a scarlet thread that runs throughout the Bible, but there is also a river of life — for those that look for it.

There is an old Midrash that has fallen Adam repenting by sitting in a river. Whether or not this is true is not the point. The emphasis is on the cleansing power of water, literally and figuratively. The waters of Eden are the waters that flow from the throne of God. Therefore, physical water is both literally and figuratively a cleanser. This is the same imagery used with Baptism’s washing away sins.[3] We repent because we desire to return to a clean state. Ultimately, our hope is resurrection unto eternal life and a permanent residence in the Kingdom from which crystal waters flow.

Water, Water, Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink

Have you ever been on a ship in the ocean so far from shore that you can no longer see land? It’s quite an eerie feeling the first time you experience this wonder. There is an overwhelming sense of smallness and vulnerability. The fear of what would happen if you became stranded is daunting. Perhaps you’ve watched movies or read books where this happened to someone. Not long ago, I watched the Life of Pi where an Indian boy is trapped for weeks on a small life boat with a tiger (he had been travelling with zoo animals on a ship that sank). Though he was surrounded by water, there was not a drop to drink. Dependence on condensation and rain water became a very real source of life for the boy and the tiger.

I think we often feel as (spiritually) thirsty as this unlikely pair. We perceive that the waters of salvation are everywhere, yet here we are dying from dehydration. We scramble to suck up the little bit of condensation we find and pray for rain. What we wouldn’t give to have a river of fresh water to quench our insatiable thirst!

Now, you may believe I’ve described an unbeliever or a lost person, but if you’re like me (human), then you too know this “dry soul” feeling even after coming to Messiah. Whether you find yourself in this place because of sin or because of testing, it is a very real campsite for the people of YHWH.[4] But the good news is that it is a temporary stop along the journey. Once we repent or learn the lesson, He refreshes us with the only thing that can really satisfy our souls, which is the Springs of Salvation, the Living Waters.

Is. 12:1-6  Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.  (2)  “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”  (3)  Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.  (4)  And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”  (5)  Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.  (6)  Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Women and Wells

We live in a world of chaos. The waters offered by the world and false religion leaves us dry and thirsty. But the Father knew this from the very beginning. His Spirit brings order and Living Waters to our chaos if only we will drink. In Genesis, these waters are brooded over by the “woman” of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we would expect a significant amount of prophetic testimonies to occur at wells (especially with women). Consider the most famous Biblical woman at a well, the Samaritan. Speaking to her, Yeshua says:

John 4:10-14  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  (11)  She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?  (12)  “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  (13)  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  (14)  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

The Samaritan woman gets all the press as being the “woman at the well” because Yeshua spoke very plainly to her about not only who she was, but who He is! However, that doesn’t mean that her story is the only story of a woman at a well that we should appreciate. In fact, I don’t believe we can fully grasp the Samaritan’s encounter unless we first understand her predecessors. The first century people that heard the testimony of this woman or even those that had just heard a retelling of these events would have had a very specific paradigm in which they would filter this story. That paradigm was the Torah of Moses.

Yeshua’s encounter with this woman is meant to remind you of other stories of women at wells. Have you ever considered that Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all found their WIVES at a WELL of WATER? We’ve already looked at Miriam’s connection to water and wells. I don’t think this repetitive theme is arbitrary. If you are the Bride of Yeshua, He will meet you at a well also. Perhaps this is why so many have a hard time separating Baptism and Salvation.

Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman that He can give her “living water”. What makes water “living”? And why and how does this water become a “well that springs up eternal life” once it is ingested? In order for waters to be considered “living”, they must be moving or flowing. Stagnant or still pools do not have “life” in Hebraic thought. Mayim Chayim (living waters) are characterized by MOVEMENT. Does this remind you of the Spirit of Elohim in Genesis?

We looked at the Song of Songs in the Biblical Role of Women Part III. As we discovered in that post, the imagery in this book is of both a complete and restored MAN and WOMAN. Both are functioning in their purpose and living righteously in the Garden (of Eden). Notice in the verse below that there is yet another association of a woman and life giving water. This is one of the godly functions of the female. A holy and restored woman will reflect the Holy Spirit by giving “water” and nurture to the seed that promotes growth and maturity.[5] Speaking of the woman, the man calls her:

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. (SOS 4:15)

Since the Song of Songs portrays a redeemed man and woman, we could say that both men and women as Yeshua’s Bride are a well of Living Waters. This is, in fact, exactly what Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman. We are often so focused on receiving Living Waters, that we forget that we are to be Living Waters! We water YHWH’s people just as the matriarchs gave drink to the patriarchs and watered the livestock. You are a Spring of Salvation and a fountain of Living Waters, because you belong to Messiah. We already have everything we need, but we still have a choice to make. Will we live it out, today? The choice is ours.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39) 

This truth is why both blood and water gushed from the “side” of Messiah as He hung on the tree. Like the first Adam, Messiah’s Bride comes forth from His side.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:34) 

John later describes three things that testify who Messiah is.

It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  (7)  For there are three that testify:  (8)  the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1Jn 5:6b-8) 

Since Messiah is returning for a Bride of like kind, we also will have these three witnesses: spirit, water, and blood. He meets us at well. We drink from the fountain. Like the Samaritan woman, we drop our water pots and run and witness to as many as we can about Messiah; thus, we become the springs leading others to Salvation. This theme is repeated again and again. We can see it in the Creation Days. We can see it in the Moedim (Feast Days). We can see it in the movement of the 7 Spirits of Elohim (Is. 11:2). The ancient matriarchs teach us how to be His Majesty’s Bride. We first give water to the patriarchs (minister to YHWH), and then we water the livestock (YHWH’s people). This is the essence of the Cup of Miriam.

Applying the Cup

Miriam’s Cup is filled with WATER, not wine. Wine can represent joy, judgment, or even the blood of Messiah. But there are three that testify. Water symbolizes both mayim and the Holy Spirit. By incorporating the Cup of Miriam into our Seder or even our weekly kiddush, we partake of all three symbols. Since the Cup of Elijah comes near the end of the Seder, we include the Cup of Miriam just after the candle lighting. This way, our four cups of wine will be flanked by the prophetess Miriam and the prophet Elijah. Miriam will represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we are continually watered and washed by the Word as we journey throughout this life, and Elijah will remind us of our coming complete redemption at the Messianic Age.

Hopefully, Miriam’s Cup will be a spring board for you to do more study. I would love to hear your thoughts on this tradition and any “connections” you may find. What does Miriam mean to you? How will can Miriam contribute to your families’ understanding of the Exodus?

Haggadah Ideas

  • After the women (or a woman) lights the Shabbat Candles, Have everyone partake of the WATER of Miriam’s Cup. Explain all the wonderful imagery in the patriarchs meeting their brides at wells.
  • Correlate this with the Holy Spirit, Baptism, the Springs of Salvation, Yeshua’s pierced side, the 3 that testify, and the Living Waters.
  • Relate all of this imagery with Pesach and Sukkot (The beginning and the end).
  • Praise YHWH for the women at your Seder and their contribution in rebelling at Pharaoh’s evil decrees.
  • Praise Yeshua for choosing you to be a spotless Bride.

 

 

 


[1] Proverbs 9:1-6

[2] Kaplan, Aryeh, Waters of Eden, New York (2003) p. 35

[3] ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:16)

[4] Remember the bitter waters at Marah? They were to test the people.

[5] Dr. Skip Moen teaches that the “living waters” provided by the woman are also a picture of her role as the ezer kenegdo: http://skipmoen.com/2009/11/28/connections/

 

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Under the Covers

Taking Refuge in the Fall Feast Days

sukkah

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”. Psalm 18:2

All quotes taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

One thing that all people have in common is the desire to feel safe, secure, protected, and sheltered. As a matter of fact, one of our strongest survival instincts is to find or build a shelter. We desire a covering to protect us from the wind, rain, cold, wild beasts, and other elements of nature. Our Creator placed these instincts within each one of us. These desires prolong our lives and ensure the survival of mankind. If the natural world, including our innate instincts, is to teach us spiritual truths[1], then what do these most basic drives teach us about our relationship to God?

When do we desire to be “covered”? Is it not when we are cold, sick, tired, frightened, distressed, or even depressed? Conversely, we may desire to be “covered” when we are praying and worshipping, and when we are nursing a child or being intimate with our spouse. Ironically, all of these instances are related when we look into the Word of God. Certain aspects of our emotional, spiritual, and physical lives require a shield of protection. Whether the “covering” protects us from danger, comforts our ailments, or covers our nakedness, it is a type of shield, hedge, and defense. In other words, it is the protection that we all need and desire. Abraham, our father in faith, was assured that this “shield” he desired would be provided.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great. (Gen. 15:1)

The Hebrew word for shield in this verse is magen (mem, gimel, nun) and it does indeed mean a shield of protection. What is fascinating is that it comes from the same root as garden or gan (gimel, nun). The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible describes this word pictographically as “a gathering of seeds”. This is easy to relate to a garden, but how does it relate to a shield and other cognates like protection and a basin? A garden, such as the Garden of Eden, is a protected place; it is surrounded on all sides. Likewise, a basin has a ledge or hedge about it. These concrete images give us a vivid picture of what it means for YHWH to “shield” or protect us.

You see, it is not that there is no danger, predators, or enemies; rather, it is that there is a covering of protection that surrounds us. This shield is clearly depicted when HaSatan observes the life of Job.

Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:9-10)

The Hebrew word for hedge in this verse is suk, the root for sukkah (booth, shelter, covering). Our gracious Father had placed a “spiritual” sukkah around Job and all that was his. Since we are in the Season of our Joy, the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, I find that it is most appropriate that we understand how the moedim (particularly the fall feasts) portray this heavenly covering that YHWH provides for us.

Tight Places

Before we explore the heavenly hedge of YHWH, it is imperative that we understand what is outside the protected place. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised a life without trials, tribulations, and hardships. While some naïvely teach the contrary, the truth is that without the proverbial “thorn in our side” we would never learn to rely on God’s grace and mercy. Sadly, our trust would be nothing more than self-reliance which would result in an empty, anxious, and lifeless walk.

The Hebrew word tsar is usually translated as enemy(-ies), adversaries, trouble, distress, affliction, and tribulation. But what it really implies is a “tight place”. It is literally something that presses or weighs upon you. In fact, it is the root word for Mitzrayim (Egypt). Egypt was certainly a place where the Israelites had heavy burdens laid upon them. YHWH redeemed them from this bondage with a mighty hand and brought them into the wilderness with a promise: a land flowing with milk and honey.

This is what happens to us when YHWH redeems us from the bondage of sin and death. We, like our ancient Israelite counterparts, have the promise of the “Land” that flows with milk and honey. What we tend to skip over in our theology and in our thinking is the wilderness. Once we are “saved”, we assume all is well — heaven awaits our arrival. But this isn’t the end of the story; it is the beginning! We must first endure the wild and dangerous wilderness. It is harsh, hot, and dry. It is treacherous. It is uncultivated and infertile. It will require us to relinquish everything over to a holy God just to survive. And the testimony of our ancient brethren proves that not everyone endures the trials of the desert.

The seemingly broadness of the wilderness becomes a tight place of pressing. But this “pressing” isn’t like the bondage of Egypt, sin, or death (though sometimes it may feel that way). Instead, we find ourselves being squeezed and molded by the Potter’s Hands into the image of the Son. While we may have left Egypt, we discover that Egypt is still in us. And so we have similar adages even in English to express this all too painful truth: “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”. But our Great Elohim sets out to do what we consider impossible. He not only removes us physically from the bondage of Egypt, He also removes Egypt from within us.

If we pay close attention, it becomes evident that while it is amazingly miraculous how He redeems a whole nation from the bondage of slavery, it is even more amazing how He removes Egypt from us! This is the lesson of the wilderness. And this is the reason we celebrate Sukkot, the last pilgrimage festival on YHWH’s holy calendar.

‘You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. ‘You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'” (Lev. 23:41-43)

By yearly walking out YHWH’s cycle of divine appointment times (feast days), we are reminded not only of our past and present, but of our future hope. These guideposts encourage and strengthen us; thus, providing the coverings and shelters that protect us from the scorching heat of the desert. They press us to be sure, but they also shield us as we are molded into the image of Yeshua.

Those of you that have committed to follow our Holy Elohim and walk in His “ancient paths” have most likely discovered that while there is great joy and fulfillment in meeting the Creator at His appointed times, there is also great testing, pressing, and often distress. It is hard! Our immaturity may cause us to assume that perhaps the difficulty is a sign that we are on the “wrong” path. But Yeshua reminds us that the true path is “narrow”; it is a tight place! We must expect to be pressed. We learn that the easy way is in reality the “broad” path.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat. 7:13-14)

I am always baffled by the multitudes that teach the opposite of what Yeshua and Scripture clearly reveals. Therefore, if you find yourself being pressed in on all sides when YHWH’s appointments come around, rejoice! You are indeed on the narrow and tight path! Consider that the Father is pruning and shaping you into the image of Yeshua and at the same time He is expelling the Egypt that remains in your members. This brings new meaning to the phrase, “It hurts so good!”

The Hedge

Our tight places cause us to cry out to the Most High and He becomes the Strong Tower of Refuge that satisfies our distressed souls.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress (tzar); have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. (Ps. 4:1 KJV)

The above verse depicts David crying out to God when he finds himself in a tzar (a tight place of pressing). Many translations simply say God brings “relief” to his distress, but the King James Version actually captures the Hebrew much better. Notice it says that God enlarges or broadens David. This is exactly what YHWH does for you and me. Just when we think we can take no more, He broadens us just enough that we sigh with relief. The Refiner’s Fire is hot, but it is fueled by the cool spiritual heat of heaven. Unlike the pressing of sin and death, the hot coals of heaven’s altar only burns our impurities. There is a promise of Life, not death.

The hedges found in the fall moedim (feast days) teach us all about the cool heat of the shamayim (heavens in Hebrew, but literally “fire-waters”). These fires burn wickedness and flesh in righteous judgment. When we are covered by the blood of the Lamb, we can withstand these fiery trials.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Cor. 3:12-16)

Thus, we must learn to rejoice when we find ourselves in the heavenly fire. If you have heard the great blast from the heavenly shofar and eternity burns in your heart, you are already aware that the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) has awakened you to the approaching bridegroom. But, in order to have enough oil, you will be pressed and crushed like the olives that fuel our lamps. Therefore, rejoice Bat Tzion (Daughter of Zion)!

Though it may seem odd that part of our covering is in fact heavenly fire, and that it sometimes hurts, we know that it cleanses us so we may eventually enter the bridal chamber. This brings us to the most solemn and holy day on YHWH’s calendar, the Day of Atonements. This is judgment day. If you are burning in a holy fire right now, rejoice, for your judgment day will also be your wedding day. Like the High Priest, you are covered and clothed in the red blood of the slain Lamb that appears as pure white light. Anointed with precious oil, enveloped with rich, sweet clouds of incense, eyes illuminated with only the holy seven tongues of fire of the golden menorah of YHWH’s Spirit, the bride is brought under the heavenly chuppah[2] and is forever bound in matrimony to her King. This hope is why we endure. And there is more to this promise; Sukkot awaits us.

The Sukkah

The fragile and flimsy appearance of the sukkah is the epitome of weakness to the natural man. See through walls and a leaky roof do not scream comfort or security — the thing we most long for. But, this is the structure that God beckons us to enter. Outside there are real threats, real enemies, and real elements. When we look at the sukkah, we cannot possibly see how this rickety thing is going to protect us from so many dangers. Surely the more permanent house we’ve built with our own hands offers more protection.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Mat. 7:21-27)

Only the House that YHWH builds is founded upon the Rock. All other structures are built on sand. When testing, trials, and storms arise (and they always do), only YHWH’s sukkah will remain standing. Thus, we are faced with a seeming paradox. What appears strong to us is in fact weak, and what appears weak is strong!

We must be willing to leave the “appearance” of security and embark on a treacherous journey through the wild with our bridegroom. He is mysterious and magnificent. He isn’t safe or tame. The real question is, “Do you trust Him anyway?” His promise isn’t a life sheltered from life itself. No, the promise is abundant life. An abundant life is abundantly full. But full of what?

It’s not full of worldly riches and things that will pass away. It’s full of experiences, challenges, and well… life. The Hebrew letter nun means life and its pictograph is a fish in movement. The journey is wild and rushing like a river. It tosses you here and there. Up and down. Side to side. Are you afraid? Don’t be. YHWH’s love is relentless and constantly moving. It is exciting, but it is not comfortable. Comfort is complacent and lifeless.

Our natural man and instincts hates this “uncontrolled” God that we serve. It is foolishness to them. Yet, this reckless abandon is exactly what YHWH desires from us. He calls us into the wilderness, the great unknown wild. It is there He speaks tenderly to us — in the midst of our vulnerability.

“Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, The love of your betrothals, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown. (Jer. 2:2)

This is our covering at Sukkot. Following YHWH in the wilderness, through a land not sown. If we love Him, we will follow. Though we are vulnerable to the wildness, our little movable shelter sustains us with the promise that One day, we will have a permanent home with our Beloved.

Is this not what real faith (trust) is all about? Are we not called to be strong and courageous in the face of life’s many uncertainties? Do you trust Him…anyway? In light of all this, the sukkah becomes a beacon, a landmark for what faith actually is! When you sit in your sukkah this year, look at its flimsy walls, partially thatched roof, and open door. It may look like it offers little protection and is anything but secure, yet we know YHWH’s sukkah is the perfect shelter for the wild world He created. Experience it with Him. The promise isn’t a life without danger; the promise is that He will walk through it with you. Follow wherever He goes, for there is a special prize for those that serve and follow Him with reckless abandonment.

And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. (Rev. 14:2-4)

Oh dear one, don’t you want to learn this song and serenade the King of Kings? It will cost you everything, but you will be given all. The sukkah will be replaced with the New Jerusalem. Enjoy it while you can. Experience the wild and untamed King that we serve. Do hard things. Be stubborn in only one thing: in your reckless abandon to the Most High. Run into the flapping tents walls and snuggle up under the canopy of the stars and palm branches. Smell the sweet incense and look for the golden glow of the menorah. It’s all here—right now. Just open your eyes and ears. When the bottom drops out from under you, know that you are simply moving onto a new and exciting adventure with YHWH. Our duty is to remain steadfast, period. We don’t have to understand all the “whys” of life; we must simply trust Him like a child.

There is good news. Jerusalem of Gold awaits the pitter-pat of your precious little feet! Every tear will be wiped away! Then those things that are hidden will be revealed; we will realize that YHWH had every second, every circumstance, and every nuance under His direction and control. And we will know that all along we were indeed covered in perfect security with His heavenly pinions.

Fear not son or daughter of Abraham, for I, YHWH, am a shield and a covering sukkah to you. Your reward for walking through the tight places and trusting me even when your circumstances appeared bleak will be great. For you will see my sukkah with new spiritual eyes and know that no other earthly structure could have ever sustained you. my paraphrase of Gen. 15:1


[1] 1 Cor. 15:46

[2] The wedding canopy or covering. The chuppah is meant to symbolize the sukkah: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/30529/think-of-sukkot-as-a-joyous-wedding-under-the-chuppah/

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